Corduroy, the Gentleman’s Lycra

I’ve recently been in an exchange with my good friend John Mills about an article in Cycling Weekly  – “The 25 Most Stylish Cyclists of All Time”. Mainly because I sold him a road bike a while back made by the man at No.19, the incomparable Jan Janssen.


“The first Dutch winner of the Tour de France was the epitome of 1960s Euro-chic. With his swept back blond hair and gold-rimmed spectacles, Janssen looked businesslike and efficient even before he even got on his bike. He wore tailored suits when travelling to races, not jeans and a jacket. He carried his kit in a leather suitcase, not in a kit bag. And he wore Italian leather shoes, not loafers. Super-smart, super-smooth, and a winner; that’s style.” Cycling Weekly

However, I’d like to make a late bid for the top flight today. I finally found some time for a real bike ride, not indoors on the turbo trainer, but out in the sunshine of West Dorset. Of course I couldn’t find my cycle shorts ANYWHERE, so the only thing for it was to improvise.


I put together an utterly convincing Plus-Four look using my decorating corduroys, which proved to be both comfortable and capacious when the going got tough. After only a few miles I had endured the withering looks of several Saturday bike-club riders, but held my head high, stuck both my knees out and gave them their money’s worth. I resisted the temptation to add a nice little front-wheel-wobble in case they thought I was taking the mickey.

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