It's probably fair to say that Bradley Wiggins can't really experience all the elements of Mod culture. If he were to regularly stay up until 3am at the Twisted Wheel, dancing to Northern soul and necking amphetamines, it's fair to say that the Chorley-based cyclist wouldn't be leading this year's Tour de France.
But when it comes to everything else, Wiggins is quintessentially Mod. While the helmets, sunglasses and uniforms of road cycling can make it difficult for casual fans to tell cyclists apart when they're flying past in the peloton, Wiggo's signature Paul Weller-style sideburns immediately mark him out. His recently acquired yellow jersey makes things a lot easier, too...
Combine that with a professed love of classic guitars, a scooter collection that began with a silver 1979 Vespa PX125, a love of sharp tailoring and a "fetish" for brogues and Adidas Originals trainers, and Wiggins may well be the "moddest" man in sport. For the 2012 tour, he was even presented with a custom-made seat from Italian firm Prologo, with a graphic of himself on a Union Jack-painted scooter. All Mod cons, you might say.
And Fred Perry, the British fashion label beloved by Mods since the early Sixties, has launched a range of Wiggins cycling shirts, complete with the famous coloured stripes of the Union Cycliste Internationale on the sleeves.
The Mod stylings also come through in the book On Tour With Bradley Wiggins by Scott Mitchell, Team Sky's official photographer and a fellow mod. In one shot the triple Olympic Gold medal winner is perched on a scratched Vespa wearing a vintage England football shirt.
"Very few modern-day Mods appear in the public eye, so those that do tend to be over-scrutinised from those within the Mod scene," says David Walker of the website Modculture. "Wiggins has been under the spotlight for some years now, but there has rarely been a bad word heard about him."
A lack of grandstanding has helped Wiggo's appeal. "You do get the idea that Wiggins simply loves many of the things associated with Mod. He's never walked around in a parka shouting 'I'm a Mod' to all and sundry and never used 'Mod' as a means to any credibility. That's certainly endeared him to the Mod scene."
Mod or not, cycling fan or not, there seems to be an agreement that having a Brit headed towards the Champs-Élysées in yellow is a wonderful thing. "It's great seeing a Brit tearing up the Tour de France," says Walker. "It's even better if he has a decent haircut.Reuse content