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You can wear whatever you want when you ride a bicycle.
You can kit yourself out in Lycra. You can wear your “normal” clothes. You can even pedal about in your birthday suit so long as you’re joined by others and call it a “protest”.
But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.
Not, at least, if you want to cycle in comfort AND style.
Commuting in performance gear like Lycra is great for comfort, but it certainly isn’t stylish and you’ll need to carry a change of clothes with you.
Commuting in “normal clothes”, meanwhile, is great as you don’t – in theory – need a change of clothes. The trouble is most clothes aren’t built for cycling and so will often feel uncomfortable as you ride and could well leave you sweatier than usual if your attire isn’t breathable.
While the above conundrum was the inspiration for Discerning Cyclist to start a blog back in 2012, it was also the motivation that caused Gihan Amarasiriwardena to take real action and start a brand called Ministry of Supply – with the aim of creating exceptionally stylish and comfortable gear through a science-based approach.
This post is in collaboration with Ministry of Supply, the masters of creating beautiful clothing that feels great a bicycle and looks smart in the office.
Can You Cycle in a Suit?
Traditional wool and cotton suits aren’t ideal for cycling in as the movement and body position required puts a strain on the suit’s material and seams. However, workleisure companies like Ministry of Supply have attempted to solve this problem by creating office-friendly suits for bike commuters.
Such suits are made from lightweight, stretchy and breathable materials, while the cut of the clothes has also been adapted so that it fits comfortably during your active commute (i.e. when you cycle, run or walk).
Indeed, in order to show how dynamic Ministry of Supply’s suits are, co-founder Amarasiriwardena even ran a half-marathon in one in 2015… and set a World Record in the process!
Amarasiriwardena ran the Half Merrython in Gloucester, Massechusetts in 1:24:41, while wearing the Ministry of Supply suit (complete with shirt and tie, of course).
If you can run a sub-90 minute half-marathon in this suit, it’s fair to say you can definitely cycle to work in it comfortably too.
Ministry of Supply Kinetic Suit
The key thing to note from the Kinetic range from Ministry of Supply is just how light thire clothes are. They’re also super stretchy, as I discovered when I reviewed the fantastic Kinetic Pants earlier in 2021.
The trousers and blazer are made from warp-knit Japanese Primeflex polyester which offers 4-way stretch – essentially meaning that neither the pants or jacket offer any noticeable resistance even when you when squat or bend over. Such flexibility is an obvious benefit when cycling, as you can pedal freely and even hunch over the handles if you wish without any concern about the seams of the suit bursting around you.
This type of polyester material is also naturally wrinkle resistant, meaning you can throw your blazer in a bag if you need to, with any wrinkles relaxing within 15 minutes thanks to your own body heat.
This suit even does a decent job on rainy days thanks to its durable water-repellent coating which will keep you dry unless it really does start bucketing down.
Oh, and you don’t need to take the Ministry of Supply suits to the dry cleaners every week. Just set your washing machine to a cold wash.
Office-Friendly Bike Clothing [Men’s Style Guide]
- Men’s Doppler Mac Raincoat (
- Men’s Kinetic Blazer ($328)
- Men’s Kinetic Tapered Pant ($148)
- Men’s Aero Zero Carbon Neutral Dress Shirt ($128)
Office-Friendly Bike Clothing [Women’s Style Guide]
- Women’s Doppler Mac (
- Women’s Velocity Blazer ($378)
- Women’s Velocity Pant ($178)
- Women’s Composite Merino Active Tank ($48)