Both of these positions have their merits. I just can't decide which one to choose, and I sort of hope I don't have too. At the moment i
I sit uncomfortably between the two, torn by their equal and opposite priorities.
I really do enjoy the aesthetics of things. I don't give a fig about fashion, but I deeply appreciate colours and textures and shapes. There is something so jarring, so unsensual about man-made materials in highlighter colours. Surely, surely, there are ways of making bike kit look lovelier. We cyclists are the moving installations of this city, we have become visual punctuation and it would be nice to be adding something to the glorious landscape rather than blighting it with fluorescent chartreuse and badly fitting leggings.
The trouble is that I also really enjoy speed- there are few things as quick to make you feel like a giddily joyful five year old than that sensation of flying. With my basket, mac, huge scarf and flowing skirt all causing drag, not to mention my flexy-bottomed shoes apparently wasting half my effort, I'm unlikely to get up to those kind of speeds very often without the help of a big hill.
It is not just the sensation either- the quicker I am the more time I have in bed. This factors in a troubling number of my major life decisions- I really, really hate mornings. An extra round of the snooze alarm looks like a good reason to sacrifice style, most days.
And obviously I'd rather not get killed on the road and therefore need to be visible. I'm no Oscar Wilde, I do understand there are many more important things than beauty.
So what to do? Most mornings I look at my basket, contemplate swapping my lovely handbag for a rucksack in order to increase my aerodynamicity (is that a word?) but decide I don't want to look like a snail. Or get a clammy back.
Places like Bobbin Bicycles and the London Cycle Chic shop are probably the way forward- so I'll just have to ask for vouchers for Christmas, and keep treading my uneasy middle (cycle) path between speed and style.