Everyone knows we ought to cycle to work instead of drive. Some people even manage to look good while they're doing it.
Dior would definitely not approve. Lynne Berry, head of the Charity Commission, dons her designer suit and touches up her make-up, before dashing off to work in the morning - on her bike.

True, she looks immaculate in one of his black wool suits, a silk shirt underneath. But once out of the house, the wide, flared Dior trousers are tucked into her socks, the tailored lines of the mandarin-collared jacket are covered in a blaze of fluorescent bibs and stripes, and the ensemble topped with a cycle helmet.

With so many initiatives designed to encourage us to leave our cars at home, people like Lynne Berry are a growing breed. "I cycle because it is the easiest and quickest way to get around," she explains, with the conviction that comes from cracking London's transport nightmare. "And when I am on my bike, I forget about work - you have no choice, as you need to concentrate."

For some cyclists, looking good means a quick change in the toilets on arrival at work but, as any of them will testify, bumping into the managing director while still clutching your cycle pump, panniers and wearing an unflattering helmet rarely does much for your promotion prospects. Perhaps Lynne has found the answer to the problem. She has built up a cycle-friendly wardrobe which gets her from home to the office without needing to change.

"All my work suits are standard professional women's things - Jaeger, Austin Reed - but nearly all have both trousers and skirts," she explains. The Dior suit, she hastily points out, was bought at a discount warehouse - just in case any hard-up charity bosses were wondering.

She not only cycles the three miles from her Islington home to the commission's West End office, but pedals in style to meetings with anyone from government ministers to accountants. Along with her briefcase, she carries an unobtrusive black kit-bag for all her cycle accessories - helmet, waterproofs, lights and fluorescent vest. It may seem a palaver, but she thinks it is worth it. "I just don't want to arrive flashing yellow at them," she says.

If she cycles in trousers, which she will wear for many meetings, she always has the matching skirt in her bag just in case. Trousers, she feels, are still taboo for many events, such as meeting ministers or charity evenings: "What I don't want is for people to look at the fact I'm wearing trousers rather than listening to what I'm saying. It means also having skirts I can cycle in, with pleats or which wrap round. Riding skirts with buttons down the front are good - only I get on a bike, not a horse."

Not everyone is keen to cycle in designer suits. Having somewhere to change from sports gear in comfort, rather than hopping around on one leg in a toilet cubicle, can encourage more people to cycle to work.

The facilities at Channel 4's new head office in Pimlico, designed by the architect and keen cyclist Richard Rogers, certainly encouraged Jackie Grove, company accountant, to cycle. On every floor there are two showers, each fully tiled in white, with a glass cubicle, power shower, seat, hair drier, mirror and hooks.

Jackie cycles from Finsbury Park in north London. "It is about eight miles, which takes about 45 minutes. If there wasn't a shower I wouldn't be able to cycle. I would be too hot and uncomfortable by the time I got to work."

But getting to the showers in her cycle gear - via the futuristic glass lifts which run up and down the outside of the building - can be a bit embarrassing. "It just depends on who is in the lift. You feel a bit self- conscious, but quite often people just ask where I live and what it is like cycling."

Grease-stained panniers can ruin your image, but Andrew Smith, Labour MP for Oxford East and an education minister, has cracked the problem with a convertible briefcase-cum-cycle pannier. Its fluorescent cover slips over the bag when it is on the bike, but discreetly tucks away into a pocket in the office, leaving a black canvas bag. "It's really handy to carry around when you get to where you are going," he enthuses.

Cycling may be easier for men in trousers, but how does someone as dapper as Jon Snow, Channel 4's news presenter, cycle from ITN to Downing Street and arrive in style? Doesn't he at least remove his famous ties?

"I set a limit of 15 minutes on the journey," he admits. "Any more than that would add up to some degree of..." he searches for the least offensive word, "...odour".

From ITN to Downing Street is just nine minutes, but he got caught out recently after underestimating the distance from ITN to Canary Wharf, in east London. "Then it's a quick dash to the gents to sort matters out," he confides. "In summer, I have been known to carry a Sainsbury's bag with my jacket rolled up inside"

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