First is the "back to Amsterdam" school, who want us all to cycle like those in Denmark or Holland. Wearing business suits and overcoats, with briefcases, travelling at a stately 10-15 km/hr. Not very likely, except for short trips in flat towns.
A related movement, Frocks on Bikes, aims to convince women that you don't have to be lycra-gym-goddesses to bike, and it's quite possible to bike in work clothes.
Then there's me. I wear bike shorts under my work pants, and an old t-shirt for my ride to work. Once I've cooled down at work, I have a quick body wash, change into regular underwear, and change my shirt. Nobody's complained so far, after 8 years or so.
For my ride home, I sometimes change back into the bike shorts, but now my bum has adjusted to regular riding, most days I ride home in ordinary clothes. I have steel clips for trouser cuffs, the bike has mudguards, and panniers for wet weather gear, shopping, and other stuff. I go at 18-25km/hr depending on the wind direction, and I work up a light sweat. But I do appreciate the bike shorts on the morning ride, they help the day off to a comfortable start.
I've developed a sort of mild-guerilla style of biking in traffic. I don't go out to assert my rights, but in heavy stop-go traffic I stay in the lane and behave like a car. I'm as fast as a car through a roundabout, and it means I'm seen as part of the flow. I don't hide behind vans any more, they can accelerate and leave you dodging some jerk with a moustache driving a panzer 4WD.
I also give hand signals - why don't other cyclists do this? It's in your interest to keep the other guy alert to you, if nothing else; "I just didn't see him" is the sadly true statement from many a cyclist-killer. So I eyeball motorists at intersections, indicate turns or going straight through, and give a friendly wave to people who've been polite. And returning to clothes; hi-vis jackets or vests, plus lights on bike and helmet.
|My Blade loaded up for a trip through the Haast Pass in 2010|
|Explorer 2, with disk brakes|