Goodbye Lycra… hello leopardskin

Goodbye Lycra… hello leopardskin: How to look good cycling

Cycling is enjoying a fashionable moment, with everyone from Vivienne Westwood and Helena Christensen to Kate Middleton getting into the saddle.

But how to look good while pedalling Katie Dailey, a journalist and bicycle enthusiast, has come up with the answers.

In her new book, Heels On Wheels, she offers sage advice on how to dress for a smooth ride.

On your bike: Vivienne Westwood, left, and Kelly Brook get on the saddle

On your bike: Vivienne Westwood, left, and Kelly Brook get on the saddle

On your bike: Vivienne Westwood, left, and Kelly Brook get on the saddle

According to Katie, an unlaced plimsoll is by far the best riding shoe with its bendy, thick sole.

Or, if you prefer to pedal in heels, wear stacks or wedges for a more stable tread.

She advocates avoiding pencil skirts, which leave little room for movement. Long floaty numbers are also a no-no as you’re likely to get your skirt caught in the spokes.

A good investment is a pair of cropped trousers, which are big news this season, and are a practical but stylish alternative to Lycra leggings.

The book also recommends: ‘Whether cruising on the weekend or flooring it to work, it’s essential to wear lots of lip-salve and a good moisturiser to protect you from the elements,’ and sun cream is necessary all year round.

Chic head gear is on the up, with Marc Jacobs launching his first range of peaked, tweed helmets last season.

When choosing a helmet, ventilation is key — and a small, shiny design will win you cool points. International brands such as Bern, Schwinn and Sawako Furuno (who do leopardskin print) are worth looking up.

Thankfully, cycling is no longer the preserve of sweat encrusted, Lycra-clad enthusiasts.

And, as cycling pioneer Ann Strong said in 1895: ‘The bicycle is just as good company as most husbands and, when it gets old and shabby, a woman can dispose of it and get a new one without shocking the community.’