Cycling In A Post Everything Era Of Cool

A short essay on the changing landscape of cycling fashion and our approach to riding bikes. 

 

Style comes in many forms. The traditional idea of having style, being ‘cool,’ has become even more of a cloudy landscape over the last decade or so. We now find ourselves in a post-everything world of cool where style history is being constantly repeated and re-appraised. In this search for new points of reference we find ourselves looking back to characters of the past that were once deemed to be the antithesis of cool. In the light of Post-everything cool those characters now appear to have style…with bells on.

 
 
 
 

Cycling is no exception to this. Style is at the heart of the sport and when it comes to the lycra clad heroes, riding the tour through the Pyrenees, there is one thing that makes the most exceptional cyclist even more special, style. If you were to ask a group of cyclists who they deemed to be the best representative of cycling style from the pro peloton, past or present, I am sure 90% of them would say Eddy Merckx. King Eddy not only ate up all the competition in practically every major race that he entered, but he also looked great doing it. Effortless at times and without a hair out of place, Merckx set the bar high and showed what riders could achieve with a lot of hard work and a little bit of hair styling. His Molteni kit of the time is now a cultural flag of honour within the cycling world and is a hallmark of the perfect combination of rider, clothing and swagger all rolled into one.

 
 

However in the post Merckx era of cycling, new lycra clad icons have come to the forefront of our imagination, that fit less into the traditional mould of ‘cool’ and provide something slightly different. Two people stick in mind. Firstly there was Laurent Fignon, know as 'The Professor,' as the nickname suggests, on the surface Fignon does not scream ‘style icon’ and more mad scientist. But today he is now seen as something of a cult icon. His distinctive glasses, his wavey, slightly non existent hair and his questionable clothing choices (granted this was somewhat out of his hands and the decision of his sponsors), are traits that together have made him into one of the most individual riders to ever grace the pro scene. We have certainly used Fignon as a source of inspiration for some of our style choices here at Curbar Cycling. We like to think that he has played a key role in developing the now commonplace term ‘geek chic’.

 
 

Finally a lesser known figure that embodies style in a distinctive new way, in many cases he does away with the full lycra look altogether. World tour rider Lachlan Morton. Morton, along with his brother Gus (with a little help from some friends) are pro riders and the creators of Thereabouts.  Thereabouts is a series of adventures and films that document long distance cycling trips, taken by Morton and his brother,  and the many characters they meet along the way. The most striking thing about these films is the apparel that everyone chooses to ride in. The riders don denim jackets, tie dye t shirts and a whole range of head gear, twinned with classic cycling shorts. This new sports-meet-street style is a refreshing take on the way that some people are preferring to ride, at least for shorter distances. We love the way that guys like this are continuing to push the envelope and trying to maintain the simplest notions of why we ride our bikes, whilst looking the part too.

Image credit: Scott Mitchell & Gus Morton

Image credit: Scott Mitchell & Gus Morton

 
 

There are many other icons of fashion within the cycling world, many of which, as mentioned previously, at the time may not have been recognised for their pioneering approach to rider vogue. But it would be too long a list to have them all on here.

Here is to the trendsetters, the connoisseurs of ‘cool’ and the people who take their style as seriously as their speed.

Chapeau!