23 November 2009

"Get outta here, ya ugly normals!"

I'm wasting an awful lot of time lately being obsessed with clothes. As though I didn't have anything else to worry about.

The annual member meeting of what used to be the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation was some weeks ago, and for the first time I paid active attention to what people were wearing. I noticed no small number of people dressed for a board meeting, and still others dressed for an evening at the symphony. But there were also a fair number of people dressed about as casual as you can get, short of flopping out of bed and showing up somewhere. Most of the attendees looked as though they'd just gotten off of work, and in all likelihood they had. Some of us probably looked as though we'd just gotten of work and then frantically ridden 5-10 miles to get to the meeting on time, but nobody else really seemed to care. A few were dressed in full cycling regalia or other undoubtedly athletic apparel, but nobody was sneering or laughing at them. People came in, casually hung up waterproof jackets, gracefully set panniers or messenger bags down in the corner, nonchalantly draped helmets and safety vests over their arms, proceeded to mingle with each other as though it were all just the most completely normal thing in the world.

Later that night it occurred to me that at these kinds of gatherings, we don't really give the slightest damn what each other is wearing.

The next night occurred to me that in the Real World of Normal People wearing Regular Clothes in Mainstream Society, we still don't give a damn, or at least we don't waste a whole lot of time pondering how ridiculous a complete stranger's outfit looks.

But on the Internet, apparently---and ironically, if you think about it---the Bike Fashion vs. Bike Regular vs. Bike Specific debate goes on and on and on, and people write novel-length commentaries about what they and their fellow cyclists should be wearing in order to attract more newbies, secure more acceptance, and gain more visibility.

(Ah, but is that literal or figurative visibility? Earth tones are in this year, after all.)

Seriously, why do we care? Aren't there more important things to worry about than what to wear?


At 24 November, 2009 11:46, Blogger Yokota Fritz said...

I won't call them out (just yet), but one of the local bike coalitions had their big annual get together / fund raiser / fancy dinner.

Only two people rode their bikes there. All the rest drove. *sigh*

At 24 November, 2009 20:56, Blogger Eric Peterson said...

I went to the Downers Grove edition of the recent ATA sessions where they were seeking input on their next map. Not a huge turnout, 10-15 people, I was the only one that showed up on a bike. But I had a nice ride home to Naperville on the dark deserted suburban streets.

At 10 December, 2009 11:12, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do appreciate stylish outfits, but I think that the best thing anyone can wear has two wheels and fits beneathe their butt. Val


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