Trads on Bikes

In my opinion there is nothing better than travelling by bicycle. While I have mastered the casual ride with social stops I have yet to get a handle on commuting to work. Luckily for me, my internet friend and fellow trad, Dallas has been posting fantastic pictures of his commute to work in Cambridge. These pictures have reassured me that it is possible to travel to work in trad. He was also kind enough to sit down with me to share some trad tips on cycling to work.

Before we get started I want to thank Dallas for his contributions (Thanks!). You can find more from this stylish young Trad at his Tumblr ( and Instagram (getticketsforthedance). Trad Cycling 2What are the best clothing for cycling?
I think this really depends on where you’re going, what your route is to get there, and how you’re most comfortable. I’m on my bike basically everyday, and I see a real range of cycling clothes on other riders, everything from full spandex body suits to dressed up work attire. I tend to find myself more on the regular clothes end of the spectrum, as my current commute is relatively flat and only a few miles long. I’m on the road for around 20 minutes each way, at a fairly casual pace. In the past, when I had longer commutes, I experimented with wearing more technical underlayers, but I don’t do anything like that today. Is this a perfect system? Of course not. Do I still show up a little sweaty sometimes? Especially in summer heat, or when layered up in the winter? Of course I do, but you just learn to live with these things. This time of year I’ll roll my shirt sleeves, unbutton an extra collar button and soak up the sun.Trad Cycling 7Best shoes for cycling?
Maybe this is the wrong thing to say, but I just wear my normal shoes. As I said, I’m not traveling far, nor in difficult conditions. In the fall and winter I wear a lot of boots and chukka boots, in the spring and summer I wear a lot of moccasins and loafers, with a few lace-ups thrown in there (year round) for good measure. A nice thing about cycling is that it saves wear on the bottoms of your nicer shoes. Also in bad weather I have a few different options, from wellingtons, to Bean boots, to my trusty pair of Red Wings.Trad Cycling

Any tips you can share on getting to work via bike and still looking good?
Most days finds me in khakis and an oxford cloth button down, which is a fairly ideal combination in terms of knock-around-ability and breath-ability. If you’re really worried about sweating in work clothes, there are two things I would suggest, the first is to pack some deodorant and re-apply at your destination, and the second is to give yourself enough time so that you don’t have to rush. If you’re going a few miles at a casual pace you should have nothing to worry about. In colder weather it’s best to favor lighter layers, a lightweight packable rain jacket is a must (mine was a few bucks at a thrift store), and in the spring and summer I either don’t wear a blazer/jacket, or I stash it for my ride and put it back on once I get to work. All that being said, I tend to favor everything a little bit rumpled, and don’t really specialize in sartorial perfection. I like my clothes to look lived in, but not disheveled (there’s a fine line.) Basically, I’m the kind of guy that doesn’t press my trousers, but I steam my own button down shirts. I think biking plays into that, my ideal state of casual formality. I could wear these clothes to work at the office, but I could also bike 5 miles in them or play a pickup game of something.Trad Cycling 3Any biking tips?
It’s important to follow the laws of the road as much as possible. Am I perfect at this? Of course not, but I do my best. It’s simple things really, don’t ride against traffic, ever. You’re not only putting yourself in danger, but you’re putting everyone else on the road in danger. Stop at stop signs and lights, always look both ways when crossing, yield to pedestrians (especially in crosswalks). Nearly everyday I see cyclists doing something wrong, any of the things I just listed, and every single time I think how poorly that those actions reflect on all other cyclists. Oh and one more thing, wear a helmet. I always have one on, and you probably should too.
Trad bikes moreAny other thoughts?
Have fun out there. Enjoy the weather, the heat, the cold, the sun, the rain, the snow. I bike year round because I love the freedom, I can pick my route, come and go as I please, and really get a feel for the area along the way. I’ve met new people, talked with strangers on street corners while stopped at lights that I never would have otherwise met, I’ve even rode my bike past celebrities. It’s good for your health, it’s good for the environment, more bikes on the road means less car traffic, the list of benefits goes on and on. Thanks so much Jerrod for including me in your blog.

oxford cloth button down
Jerrod Swanton is a simple man interested in simple, classic, and traditional style.

5 Comments on "Trads on Bikes"

  1. Lennart says:

    Hi Jerrod,

    I find this post interesting and inspiring. I have about 20 minutes by bike to work with no major hills or similar. Not the most fun way to go since work is in an industrial area south of the mid sized town in Sweden where I live. As for me, I started to think that my normal clothes could do when riding my bike to work last summer. However I gave in when the darkness, cold and rain came in October. Since then the car has been my warm, dry and comfortable commuter. However I do feel inspired by reading this post and I plan to give the bike a new chance. I do need to invest in accessories like a basket and/or bag for raincoat, gloves, lunchbox and computer. Hopefully I will be able to keep a classy and trad look even in the winter, let’s see what happens here. Thanks for sharing this, I think the bike is good, good for the environment, good for less accidents, good for the wallet and good for the health. All given that you have a reasonable travel distance. //Lennart

  2. GLH says:

    Nice post. I’ve enjoyed getticketsforthedance on tumblr for some time. Dallas you steam, but do not iron your shirts? I iron my OCBDs because I do not trust the cleaners, but I have been considering purchasing a steamer. Any recommendations?

  3. Roger Russell says:

    I think it looks stylish and environmentally friendly from a far. However, it also looks like a way to jack up some nice clothes.
    I was riding my bike one day in Memphis and some teenagers drove past me going pretty fast in a jeep. They hit me in the face with a water balloon. My teeth almost cut all the way through my lips. I was also spayed with either vinegar or urine one day from an old fire extinguisher. There are things to consider with riding a bike.

  4. Great post, Jerrod! I wholly agree riding a bike to work is a fantastic way to start the day: The fresh air and breeze always leave me feeling optimistic and like I can take on anything. I live less than a mile from work and bike days when I do not have meetings outside the office or evening activities or errands. My style is traditional and I typically wear dresses and flats at the office. As my bike has a chain-guard and I ride through a flat, sleepy tree-lined neighborhood, I usually arrive in fine shape. While keeping a comb and deodorant in one’s desk is always a good plan, I would also suggest having a towel in the event of an unexpected downpour. My travel blow dryer has come in handy a time or two as well. Plus, if you have women in your office, you’ll instantly be a hero.

  5. Morris says:

    I agree

    JFKjr used to ride his bike all over NYC.

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