Why, yes, capes are practical

by bonjourbicycle

Now that the weather has turned cooler, I’ve started thinking about appropriate outerwear for cycling. And by “appropriate” I mean suitable for someone riding to work or to meet friends, that is dressed in ordinary street clothes. Loose-ish cardigans that are not too long fit the bill, as well as blazers that have some wiggle room in the shoulders for maneuvering on your bike. But one item that just oozes panache is a cape.

cape and raleigh

image via Copenhagen Cycle Chic

Seriously, how cool does she look on that vintage Raleigh? Plus, the nice thing about capes is that they keep your arms completely free while riding, allowing for full range of movement. You can also get one with a hood, or that is waterproof, thus allowing you to ride in the rain (though maybe not a downpour). Capes can also be quite light – so that you can layer underneath, perhaps wearing a sweater for warmth and the cape for rain – or reflective, to increase your visibility to drivers. Capes are unique enough, however, that simply wearing one of any style will make you stand out.

The one potential downside to capes is for gals that like fuller dresses and skirts, like myself. Capes generally look best with slim skirts, which (to me) are not great for riding, and with pants. If you typically wear pants, then you’re good to go. In or out of the saddle, you will look proportioned and stylish. But if you wear fit-and-flare type dresses you may look a bit out of proportion when walking around as you’ll be full on top (with the cape) and full on the bottom (with the skirt). This is generally a no-no. One way around this, though, is to simply belt your cape, like so. You can also try a less voluminous cape. This is the one I have, purchased last winter on sale from Steven Alan.

steven alan plaid cape

The right cape will help make riding easier in cool weather and keep you looking good on and off your bicycle. (And gives you one more reason to ride!)