Summary: Whatever you want!
Ok, I can’t really leave it at that. This post is going to be a short summary of my biking attire evolution.
Back in the days when I still owned Elvira, I rode pretty much everywhere to get around. Work, uni, various sporting events, the shops, whatever. My main attire during these uni bum days was the default t-shirt and shorts. I took spare clothes in a bag when I needed to wear something that was not a t-shirt and shorts – ie work or sporting events. This was hardly high fashion but was functional and certainly not a scrap of lycra to be found. I don’t think it even occurred to me that riding your bike required special clothes or that fancy bike specific clothes even existed.
Fast forward 3 years, I moved to Capital City to continue university study. City had integrated public transport to most places I wanted to go and I took a 3 year break from the bike. Yes, I know, I committed the unthinkable and gave up the bike but at least I didn’t stoop down to car driving. :-p
But all is not lost! When I started First Job after uni, it was located fairly close to where I lived. It was a first job so wasn’t rolling in the big bucks, I decided to save myself a few and walk to work. After doing that for a few weeks, it was talking too long and I was too lazy to keep that up. So I borrowed a bike for a few trips and the love affair was restarted. For this period, I went back to the old t-shirt and shorts with a bag of work wear. This whole process made easier by bike racks and a showers at work.
I had to have my own bike! After visiting a few bike shops, it was decided to order in the Green one, from a local bike shop. Local bike shop nor my peers were particularly commuter focused so they obviously recommended that I must have lycra! So, I began collecting some lycra. I rode to and from work in lycra. I rode to the shops in lycra. I rode to my various events and participated in various events in lycra. Admittedly, I bought some nice looking jerseys and some shy shorts but I mostly looked like the lyrca menace. I always had a pannier bag of by destination clothes to change in to when I got there.
After a while, I got a bit sick of all this taking extra clothes to do active things. So, I cut back to wearing work out wear on the bike if I was going to something active related and just wore the lycra for my work commute and for recreational cycling. Then, I got slack again. All this lycra, it is really required? I went back to the trusty t-shirt and shorts for most trips.
Several years and jobs later, finally, an epiphany! I started to read some cycling style blogs and commuter blogs. Riding doesn’t really take much effort and riding doesn’t always have to be done in race style or get there as fast as you can! So, why treat it like a sport? You don’t wear special clothes in your car, on the bus, on the train or when you walk around the shops. Why would you need to on your bike? If I didn’t race to work and just took a leisurely pace, I didn’t generate large amounts of sweat that would require a shower. Plus, really, it didn’t add much time to my commute, probably took time off if you include shower time. So, I started wearing my work clothes (long pants and a business shirt) on the bike riding to work. Fortunately, I started this in tropical winter so we will see if it lasts when we get to summer in the tropics. I’ve also gotten in to wearing nice fashionable clothes on the bike.
So, I’ve worn lycra, gym wear, casual clothing, business wear on the bike. It all works fine. Choose whatever you are most comfortable in and is most efficient for your situation.