Why did it seem beyond the imagination of designers to come up with garments suited to the demands of the cyclist that didn't risk the wearer being mistaken for a member of the team mending the water mains?
For the past few years, a growing number of designers have quietly been doing just that. And very soon, their work is going mainstream. From Thursday, Topshop, that barometer of the nation's style, will be stocking cycling accessories in its flagship Oxford Street store. It will be selling panniers, saddlebags, retro cycling caps and much more. All are designed by Cyclodelic (cyclodelic.wordpress.com), an all-female design company based in east London, which "believes that girls who cycle don't have to forfeit fashion over function".