The crusade to get more women cycling takes a big step forward next month with the introduction of a women-friendly cycling accessory range at Topshop.
Prompted by the lack of fashionable cycling accessories for women, fashion student Amy Fleuriot and textile graduate Sarah Buck came up with the Cyclodelic range and approached Topshop, which agreed to stock the brand from April 9, in its flagship London store.
The girls and a team of dedicated work placement students have been busily manufacturing the brand's bags, hats, capes and cuffs ever since, in order to get enough ready for the imminent launch.
Journalist Dawn Porter is already a fan and says: “When you do something like buy a baby pink Brompton bicycle, you can’t just leave it there – the accessories have to be as special as the bike. And that is why I asked Amy at Cyclodelic to design me a stylish and exclusive bag. I love it and people always compliment me on it”.
Other Cyclodelic products are already stocked in cycle shop Velorution, in Great Titchfield Street, London. If the Topshop concession boosts the brand to the next level as hoped, new manufacturing facilities will have to be sought.
Both fashion student Fleuriot and textiles graduate Buck are experienced cyclists. Fleuriot has been a bike commuter in London for three years as well as taking part in road races like the Dunwich Dynamo. Buck, meanwhile, survived five winters as a cycling courier in Toronto, before moving to London and graduating from her textiles degree with a First.
Fleuriot says: "There's absolutely nothing for women cyclists at the moment. It's dire. To find a nice bag you could also fit on your bike to take stuff for uni or meetings, there was just nothing out there.
"Sarah and I got together last summer and did the Cycle Chic Fashion Show together, in Ireland. Then we managed to get in touch with Topshop and they offered us a concession in their store. Now it's serious. It's all systems go!"
Like the girls, the products are tough yet fashionable and eminently practical. The line includes everything from trendy bags you can wear on your belt to caps with reflective piping and the intriguingly titled "bra bag", which Fleuriot says was designed to "eliminate swing when riding,"!!
She says: "The bra bag has an ergonomic shape that hugs the body when worn across the back and stops the bag annoyingly swinging into your lap without the need for a second strap. It's named the bra bag because, well, you can probably guess!
"The bag is made from bright yet tough and water resistant cordura, has reflective stripes and water resistant ripstop lining and after a long ride you can stuff your jumper in it and use it as a pillow on the train ride home!"
Fleuriot and Buck are aware of research saying looking good is a key concern influencing women's decisions about cycling and hope their brand will help tip the balance.
"Sarah and I are both also qualified cycling instructors," says Fleuriot, "and one of the reasons we're doing this is not only to fill a huge gap in the market but also to encourage women who don't cycle to do it. You can go on your bike and look great and go to work and get there looking smart. It's a comletely viable thing to do."
See more Cyclodelic products here
Pictures courtesy of Creative Exposures