01 October 2009

Cycle chic, or not

Maybe I'm tired of being told I need to look pretty.

Maybe I'm tired of being told I need to ditch the sporty accessories, dress up in a skirt and heels, break the bank on an enormous Dutch bike, ride really slow, and smile and say hello to absolutely everyone.

Maybe I'm tired of the implicit accusation, in these laments on the dearth of women on bikes, that I'm the wrong kind of woman to be seen riding a bike everywhere, given that I ride in motor traffic with the big boys and generally don't give a tweet about what I'm wearing or how sweaty I get.

(Maybe I left my boyfriend in the dust last weekend, but I'd probably get a finger-wagging for that, too.)

6 Comments:

At 01 October, 2009 17:28, Anonymous Amsterdamize said...

Cycle Chic is taken the wrong way all over the place :). Mikael coined it that way, because his Danish 'objects' dress so stylishly by nature. His words.

It's really about 'normal cycling', conveying to people that you can ride without all the 'gear', like 10s of millions of other people do every day. Where I'm from, people of all ages just dress for the day (you know, just what you'd wear on a regular basis) and then get on a bike, they don't give it a second thought. Because it's the fastest, most practical and enjoyable means of transportation. That's it. Not because it's 'green', not because they want to make a statement, nothing like it. That, and our types of bikes accommodate that need. Hassle free, utility-ready, reliable, practically maintenance free. Why get your hands or clothes dirty, right?

Then again, of course you don't HAVE to do anything you don't like. Just ride :).

Cheers,
Marc

 
At 03 October, 2009 01:16, Blogger Steven Vance said...

If you refer to what I think influenced this entry, I think you miss the point.

Cycle chic is about NOT adjusting your lifestyle to fit your bike, but owning a bike that fits your lifestyle.

This year I decided I was sick of buying bicycling accessories that changed how I dressed and I abandoned a lot of them.

Now the clothes I wear while commuting are the clothes I wear at work. That's what I really want. I don't want to carry clothes in a bag and then change. I don't want to come to class wearing expensive layers.

And hey, if the Dutch bike now powers the lights, say goodbye to managing a rechargeable battery collection or buying new ones when the lights go out on your way home from work.

You don't have to have a Dutch bike to do all this. And if your lifestyle has changed because of your bike to include new clothing choices and attitudes about sweatiness, and you feel good about that, then so be it. I don't accept that for myself any longer.

 
At 05 October, 2009 02:40, Blogger Jennifer said...

But eventually you do end up adjusting your lifestyle to fit your bike. It's simply not possible to get into seriously into cycling as transportation (or even recreation) without doing such a thing. It requires a completely different approach to transporting yourself, oftimes a lot more planning, and increased amount of attention paid to things like weather and daylight and maybe even local crime. I'm sick of seeing so many people try so hard to deny that bicycling doesn't have to change your lifestyle. If it's not changing your lifestyle, then you're simply not riding often enough to be able to claim that it's part of your lifestyle in the first place.

Or maybe I'm just tired of being told over and over and over and over again that myself and the dozens of other women I know who wear pants and sneakers, own helmets and other gear, and are capable of making our own minor repairs because we don't mind getting dirty are actually just the tiny minority of crazy "abnormal" female cyclists in the world. Please pardon us all for being so damned ugly and unfeminine that we're holding back the whole Bicycle Movement.

 
At 05 October, 2009 02:52, Blogger Jennifer said...

I suppose an example is in order: Does the auto industry bend over backwards to convince women that there are plenty of cars out there that aren't too "sporty" or "rugged" but are perfect for driving downtown for coffee, that they don't need all those extra features like power locks or side curtain airbags, and that they shouldn't let themselves feel intimidated by women who know how to change a tire and keep jumper cables in the trunk?

 
At 05 October, 2009 07:57, Blogger Steven Vance said...

"It's simply not possible to get into seriously into cycling as transportation (or even recreation) without doing such a thing. It requires a completely different approach to transporting yourself, oftimes a lot more planning, and increased amount of attention paid to things like weather and daylight and maybe even local crime."

I completely agree.

But the bike you own won't affect your planning or attention to these elements.

 
At 12 October, 2009 16:51, Blogger Yokota Fritz said...

Don't worry about it, Jennifer; You're beautiful no matter how you ride.

The point of the whole "cycle chic" stuff (which I admittedly dig) is to fool^Wencourage those who want to be 'chic' into thinking bike riding can also be fashionable.

 

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