I periodically see fellow bloggers denigrating the “lycra crowd” with the basic idea that recreational cycling (at least if it involves wearing special clothes) is the antithesis of utilitarian cycling and just plain old bad. But why? Cycling is just plain wonderful, whether riding the bakfiets across town to bring the kids to school, or riding up a mountain with friends. All work and no play makes a dull boy! There has to be a place in the world for objects and activities without productive function. Otherwise there would be no art, sports, play, hobbies or fun… and that world would suck.
And many activities (productive or otherwise) are enhanced by donning specific gear. The doctor pulls on scrubs for surgery, the construction worker wears tough trousers with gear loops, knee pads and steel toed boots, and the fireman stays warm but not crispy in his Nomex coat and helmet. If you’re going to spend the day in the saddle you’ll probably be most comfortable in cycling clothes. Whether you’ll look good in them or not is another story.
I’m also perplexed by why people believe it’s impossible to be both a cyclist for transportation AND and cyclist for fun. I ride a no-nonsense utility bike every day to get around the city, and then (weather, work and family permitting) I get on one of my lovely sporty bikes and ride for a few hours. For much of my life that meant riding fast: training and competing in races. With the addition of Pascal our recreational cycling has generally become a family activity. Today we took maximal advantage of a Sunday with perfect cycling weather: We were out for 6 hours, though one doesn’t ride very fast while holding a sleeping baby in one arm, nor cover much distance with multiple cafe stops.
Anyhow, just ride your bike. Certainly do it for transportation, but don’t let the hair-shirt idealists stop you from going nowhere useful on your bike… in the tightest lycra sausage suit if you wish.