A true leader rarely asks someone to do something for them; the best leaders inspire through their own example those around them to follow suit and join them in their cause. The leader is fueled by something that is not externally driven, it is born from within and appears in this world as passion and conviction. These qualities, in their genuine state, are irresistible.
Style is a special kind of art, it is not the kind of art that is hung on the wall and gazed upon by passers by; like leadership, it is not externally focussed but instead is something one uses to shape how we feel. We become a piece of living, breathing art. And then, hypothetically, after you spill some mustard down the front of your lovely, crisp shirt, the art might also take on an olfactory quality as well.
A foundational principle of La Vie Velominatus is the power of Looking Fantastic: of dressing up in impeccable, matching kit and climbing aboard a perfectly curated, cleaned, and tuned machine before setting out onto the road brimming with confidence and oozing morale. As Paul Fournel said, “To look good is already to go fast.”
There might actually be some science behind it, which I’ve never needed but always assumed there would be.
Research suggests that our own body language can alter our hormonal levels to the effect that they significantly change the way we perceive ourselves. (If you haven’t watched Amy Cuddy‘s TED Talk on Body Language, you should.) In her studies, she found that something as simple as adopting a high power stance for two minutes can increase testosterone levels by 80% (making one more confident and assertive) and reduce cortisol levels by 25% (making one less reactive to stress).
Both of these sound a lot like how kitting up for a cold, rainy ride in my Flandrian Best makes me feel; I will set out into the deluge brimming with confidence and ready to face the cold and risks that come as a part of not only riding a bike, but riding one in wet, poor-visibility conditions. At high speed. If standing in a bathroom with your arms in the air for two minutes can measurably change your hormone levels for the better, then I have every reason to believe that knowing that you Look Fantastic at All Times would have the same, if not stronger, effect.
Vive la Vie Velominatus.