How to be a Gentleman on a Bicycle in 9 Steps
Post compiled in tandem with pro cyclist, Liam Stones, on behalf of Montague Burton who are celebrating the modern gent by providing dapper tips and style knowledge as part of their #justtheticket campaign.
There’s nothing more quintessentially British than being a true gent. But what can you do to continue to be a refined man of the world when you board two wheels?
Check out our nine key tips to be the ultimate gentleman on a bicycle below.
It’s all nice and well investing in a good pair of pants, so the last thing you want to do is stain them with oil from your chain as soon as you hop on your bike.
This has long been a problem for cyclists though and is easily rectified, with two easy techniques ridding you of this oily problem: 1) took your chain-side trouser leg into your socks, or 2) fold up your trouser leg up to your mid-calf. Keep those pants clean, chaps.
And on the subject of trousers, make sure you have plenty of rear coverage, because nobody wants a peak of your underwear or worse.
Posture – Raise your seat and handlebars
You wouldn’t see Michael Caine slouching, so why should you – even if you’re on two wheels? Look after your back – you’ll need it for a while yet.
But what can you do to help you’re posture on your bike? Well picking the right bike helps. If you’re going to be commuting over shorter distances, a city bike will look after you. While a road bike will be better for longer commuters.
But whatever bike you’re on, make sure your seat is nice and high (for you) so that you don’t put unnecessary strain on your lower back and knees, and raise your handlebars to a comfortable level that doesn’t require you to lean down too much. Getting the handlebar height right will also help improve your cornering and can prevent unnecessary neck pain.
Luggage – Let the bike do the work
Sometimes you might need to ferry some stuff on your commute, but there’s no need for you to take the strain when your bike can do the work for you.
Carrying a backpack will inevitably lead to a sweaty back. Not a great look upon arriving at your destination.
Instead, why not invested in a sturdy pannier rack or a good frame bag? Make your ride seem effortless.
Be prepared – Know how to fix a puncture
It’s a gut-wrenching moment when you realise your tyre is quickly losing air. But it’s not half as bad if you know how to quickly fix it. One of the great male satisfactions is fixing stuff, so make sure you have the knowhow on your bike.
Also make sure you carry a little puncture repair kit with you, which cost very little but it could save you a great deal of hassle in the long term.
What’s more, if you do get caught out with your tyre looking bare, simply slip in a sweet wrapper on the affected area between your inner tube and tyre for a quick fix, give it a quick pump and that should help you to get home to repair it properly.
You can also use your spare bottle cage to store any tools, or even an emergency waterproof. You can even use a spare bottle to carry your stuff.
REMEMBER: always carry a pump and ideally a puncture repair kit. Not only will you be looking after yourself, but you can also help out any poor fellow cyclists who get caught out.
What’s the point of looking good if your bike sounds dreadful? Make sure you look after your chain by keeping it well-oiled to stop unnecessary squeaking and tougher riding.
In the winter months, it is best to lubricate your chain weekly, but only about once-a-month in the drier seasons.
Chain oil is cheap and will massively extend the lifespan of your bicycle and keep it in fine working order.
Look after your bike with regular services at your local bike shop, or if you’re partial to DIY, check out this handy guide from BikeRadar.
When you’re graciously gliding through your journey, a set of sunglasses (or just normal glasses for that matter) will help protect you from any unwelcome flies making a new home in your eye ball.
Also, if you’re susceptible to leaky eyes from the wind, glasses will also help you out on this front.
Make sure a puddle doesn’t ruin your outfit. Front and back mud guards will look after you. And you certainly don’t want to dampen those following in your track, so make sure you get the full cover.
Bell at the Ready
“Oiiii” isn’t the most charming of way of trying to catch someone’s attention if they’ve walked onto a bike path just ahead of you. However, a couple of chirpy rings of your bell should make them aware of their misdemeanour.
A couple of chimes and a wave when you cycle past a group of friends oozes class too.
Look the Part
You don’t have to sacrifice on style when you’re riding a bike. Just because you’re on two wheels, doesn’t mean you have to wear lycra (although you go for it if that’s what you’re most comfortable in).
You can wear cycling-specific clothes or just your everyday gear with no problem. Sit back and enjoy the ride and then arrive at your destination feeling vitalised.
If there’s one item of clothing that cycling does expose more than other though, it is your socks. So do make sure they at least match.