It started slowly... just an embarrassing set of grips with wrist rests here and there... a pannier or two. But now, the movement has truly begun. Yes ladies and gents – looking like an uber-practical, slightly nerdy cycle tourist is actually cool. And we love it.
It all started a few years ago, when the idea of outdoor living suddenly got a new lease of life thanks to bearded men who felt their jobs in the media didn't give them enough time to craft things, take deep breaths of clean air and look rugged. Thus, as is well documented in this Guardian article, the Lumbersexual was born.
The celebration and fetishisation of outdoor life is not to be baulked at: sure, many people buy this Stag Antler Firestriker Steel (a real thing) to sit on the mantlepiece. But there is also an earnest fascination with outdoor living that has sprung up. People who I've seen do nothing but watch XFactor for three years are now asking me about whether we could perhaps go on an Easter ride to Denmark? And that is awesome. People want to get on their bikes and go places. To see nature, to get healthy, to be away from the city.
This obsession with the pastoral is, however, in danger of getting out of hand. 'Hike couture' is happening. Here is an entire article in Vogue about how anoraks are useful (whodathunkit?).
You can purchase this Chanel rucksack with a carabiner and climbing rope for $3,400. TEVA SANDALS – yes, the ones you bought for sitting at the camp fire when touring through Italy ten years ago – ARE ACTUALLY A THING. Lena Dunham namechecks them 'ironically' (entirely seriously) in her recent book. What has the world come to?!
We therefore advise that all actual cycle tourists enjoy this boom in popularity, but that you continue to be defiantly geeky about it.
Proudly proclaim that your Patagonia fleece is twenty years old! Talk loudly about the optimum PSI for riding across the Netherlands! Muse on the efficiency of multi-tools! And, perhaps, buy yourself some super trendy panniers. But remember that when Vogue has long forgotten about outdoor living, we'll still be here to help you with how to pack your bags and general, cycle-touring encouragement.