Allez! The Tour de France starts on Saturday, which can only mean two things – a vicarious trip through the French (and, this year, Yorkshire) countryside, and even more people inspired to ride to work. But looking good on a bike isn't so easy. Sure, colour-blocking works when you're part of the peloton in the Alps, but not so much when you're pulling up alongside a double-decker bus on the way to work. We're not going to discuss safety here – helmets are always a good look – but we've identified four fashion-approved solutions for men to look good on a bike during 2014's Tour.
The retro Tour nerd
You know your Tour stats and the categories of each climb. You want to express that through your cycling wardrobe. Prendas Ciclismo is for you. Its range of classic replica jerseys are often made by the people who produced the originals, plus it does limited runs, so they are both authentic and exclusive(ish) – a win-win in fashion terms. We like the Molteni 1960/70s stuff made famous by Eddy Merckx. If you don't adhere to what the Rapha bods call the "explosion in a paint factory" look then the more garish 80s stuff is for you. Special mention goes to the Piet Mondrian-inspired La Vie Claire kit worn by Bernard Hinault and Greg LeMond. It's a classic.
If you don't adhere to what the Rapha bods call the 'explosion in a paint factory' look then the more garish 1980s stuff could be for you. Special mention goes to the Piet Mondrian-inspired La Vie Claire kit worn by Bernard Hinault and Greg Lemond. It's a classic
The hipster urban cyclist
You have a beard and a fixed-gear bike. What do you wear? Denim, in all probability. Fashion brands have started to cater for this category in a cold, hard, get-the-cycling-spend kinda way. And why not? We like the Levi's 511 slim-fit jeans from their commuter range. They have reflective tape on the seams for when you turn up to reveal the requisite amount of mankle, and a loop at the belt to hang your New York mini Krytonite lock. To complete the look, you need to investigate the gold leather reflective handlebar tape by Michaux.
The haute cyclist
What is a gentleman rider to wear? You spend a lot on clothes; you have an Acne suit and a pair of Prada lace-ups. What you now need is Paul Smith's new 531 range for MrPorter.com. It is sartorial meets technical – and it costs a lot. The range is named after the Reynolds lightweight bike tubing used by TDF champions and the number refers to the ratio of manganese (5), molybdenum (3) and carbon (1) in the steel alloy. That's the sort of intell the haute cyclist approves of. The orange lightweight breathable jacket is our standout piece, but at £400, it's not cheap.
The team colours are a little darker and more tasteful for 2014, perhaps as a result of teams Sky and Rapha going for mostly black jerseys in recent years. Rapha gets the fashion nod because it is the Celine of the cycling world: unfussy, sleek, well made, just so, expensive. Channel your inner Chris Froome with a black pro team jersey with a pop of pink on the sleeve.
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