This Saturday’s Tweed Run is approaching, so I popped into Ralph Lauren’s Rugby store in Covent Garden to collect my “riders pack”.
I was surprised how unfriendly Covent Garden is to cyclists. There’s acres of pedestrian space, but not a bike rack in sight. With no other options, I locked my bike outside the Rugby store’s railing next to a “cycles left here will be removed” sign. I was surprised that the greeter at the door reminded me I couldn’t leave my bike outside – he’s in for a shock on Saturday.
Inside the Rugby store is all wood panelling, wooden ornaments and a few token bikes. According to the A/W2011 catalogue, the clothes have a “preppy look with heritage overtones”. Translation: blazers with embroidered logos, cricket sweaters, pleat-front chinos and brogues. The whole thing reminds me of River Island’s range circa 1988/9, what goes around comes around in fashion.
I was dealt with efficiently by a Gok Wan look-alike who gave me a garish blue and yellow striped musette. Someone in the Ralph Lauren’s marketing team either has an interesting take on style or they’re creating a heritage twist on high-visibility day-glow cycling accessories. I’ll be leaving mine at home: my stubborn side doesn’t like being told what to do, much less what to wear.
And there in lies the dilemma for me. I love the idea of a classic bike ride throughLondon. I love the fact that folks will see that riding bikes isn’t just about wearing lycra. But something grates about a global fashion brand getting in on the act. That said, I’m sure the ride will be a blast.
As wandered past the other Covent Garden stores: Penguin, Fred Perry and Liam Gallager’s latest (retail) fling “Pretty Green”, I began to wonder, what would a bike event sponsored by them look like?