How To: Ride a Bike in a Suit

The legendary Newsday journalist Murray Kempton, who, for all his erudition, somehow never learned to drive, was often seen pedaling the streets of New York City on his bicycle while wearing a full three-piece suit. This tradition of suited-up cyclists continues today, as evidenced by Mike Ross, protagonist of the hit USA Network drama SUITS, who habitually rides his bike to work dressed in his dapper best. Here are several tactics you can deploy to keep your suit clean while behind the handlebars.

Keep it Clean

1. Wash your bike frequently to avoid any dirt buildup that can rub off on you. When lubing the chain, use a transparent formula.

2. When you arrive at your destination, take a minute to catch your breath and clean up. Odds are your office doesn’t have employee showers, so you’ll need the next best thing: a one-off face wipe that cleanses, exfoliates, and moisturize from Ursa Major. It’ll take care of any sweat or road grit on your brow and fits neatly into your jacket’s inside pocket.

3. The best way to counteract helmet hair is with a lightweight cream or paste styler that allows for restyling when you doff your safety cap. GO247’s Styling Cream is easily reactivated by splashing a little water on your hands and running them through your hair.

4. For the post-work ride to a friendly or romantic get-together, apply a subtle fragrance to pulse points before you get pedaling. It’ll warm up by the time you arrive. With juniper berries, citrus, and lavender, Acca Kappa’s White Moss makes sense for summertime.

Customize your Hog

1. Install guards over your rear tire and your chain to avoid getting a mud racing stripe on your back.

2. For a more upright riding posture—and less tension on the seams of your coat’s back and arm holes—raise the handle bars a few inches above your bike seat.

3. Cover your saddle in a thin plastic shower cap. This prevents wear-and-tear on the seat of your pants and keeps the saddle color from bleeding.

Suit up Properly

1. Wear clothes that minimize perspiration. Ministry of Supply’s line of Apollo dress shirts is made of a fabric that regulates heat and draws moisture away from the skin, allowing it to evaporate. And their Atmos line of base-layer shirts is designed to maximize airflow to your body, keeping you cool.

2. Ask your tailor to triple-stitch stress points on your suit to avoid rips.

3. Bind the bottom of your pant leg with a rubber band or a velcro strap to keep it from catching in your gears.

4. Tuck your tie into your shirt—but keep it over your undershirt so it doesn’t get sweaty. (See the “military tuck” technique here.

5. If it’s raining, protect yourself with a shell. Brooklyn-based Outlier manufactures a Storm King Parka incorporating Supermarine® Cotton that’s both water-resistant and extremely breathable.

Photo: USA

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