I want cycle gear designed for practicality, not speed

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Now that summer feels like it’s almost here, it’s time for us all to park our cars and get on our bikes.

The excuse of cold weather as a reason not to cycle to work is no longer valid.

I use my bike for work, but it took buying a new bike for me to do so. I had to put away my mountain bike – with its high crossbar – and buy a more lady-like modesty-preserving pushbike.

One on to which I could clamber without having to raise my rear leg to the world, like an ungainly male great Dane about to leave its mark.

But even though I can now mount with dignity I, like many others, suffer from ‘what to wear on wheels’ syndrome. It has to be something to cover the ample spread of my buttocks and also to hide the thighs.

Lycra is not for me. That would make me look too sporty and then I would have to put some real effort in to fit with the image.

Similarly, donning a cape-like garment does hide all the offending areas, but also makes me look like a cannonball on wheels, with my head the bright red fuse lit with the energy and excessive heat.

So I was intrigued to see that Halfords has announced it’s to widen its range of cycle gear for women and commuters.

But I think cycle shops are missing a trick – as are our high street retailers. It seems to me that all cycle gear looks as if it’s built for speed, not for practicality when you get off the bike at the other end.

Because that’s the thing, isn’t it? If you’ve got a short commute and cycling is a viable option, you may not want all the palaver of showering at the other end.

Suddenly cycling becomes carrying clothes, and a shower cap, and making decisions about which make-up to take, and where to store a wet towel in the office, and what to do with your stinky trainers.

Then, post-shower, you realise you’ve forgotten your work bra and you have to wear the sports one in which er, your nipples show through.

What would be the ideal solution? Velcro and cotton trousers for the summer, to be whipped off Superwoman-style, and waterproof ones for the winter.

Maybe not stylish, but very practical.