Lose the Lycra and cycle to work in style

Not everyone wants to cycle to work dressed from head to toe in Lycra and pedalling a six-kilogram carbon fibre racing bike, tracking their heart rate and trying to beat their personal best on Strava.

Some like to get to the office in the easiest, least conspicuous fashion possible - perhaps even looking a tad elegant. They sacrifice speed and handling for a supremely comfortable 'urban cycle' –hopefully one with a cool bell, and more than a bit of street cred.

The difference is about more than just comfort and/or style. It's about attitude.

When I ride to work on my race bike in Lycra, motorists and pedestrians are more aggressive towards me than when I do the same trip wearing a suit and riding my Tokyobike with a wicker basket on the handlebars.

In fact, when I ride my Tokyobike I get heaps of compliments like "cool bike"; I only ever cop abuse on my carbon jobbie.

Urban spin

Which might explain why one of New York's most visible and vocal advocates of urban bicycling, David Byrne from the '80s pop group Talking Heads, hired a Tokyobike to get around Sydney during a visit earlier this year.

Another New Yorker, George Hahn, is similarly enamoured with urban cycling. The writer of a popular men's style blog, he's often seen out and about in Manhattan, dressed in a suit and pedalling his custom 'Chief' from Heritage Bicycles in Chicago.

"I don't think I necessarily approach bicycling with style," Hahn told Executive Style. "I approach life with my own personal style and basically choose a model of slow, civilised, upright urban bicycling that doesn't require me to compromise that style.

"Bicycling is not a sport for me; it's a practical way of getting around the city. For that task, I use a classic bike with a steel frame, fenders and a chain guard. No specialised clothes required."

If you'd rather dial up the style on your commute to work, check out our suggestions in the gallery above.