Good lord, these bike fashion articles are so inanely formulaic that I'm starting to wonder if there's actually a style guide for them somewhere. They always, always, always start out exactly the same way. First, the "traditional cyclist" is introduced: a male athlete who wears spandex (Lance Armstrong will probably be mentioned). Lately the the male "outlaw" with the messenger bag and the fixie is paired with the male athlete, but for the purpose of the article they both represent the same thing: a high-testosterone adrenaline junkie in a silly hat. Contrast with today's typical cyclist: a beautiful woman in a skirt and heels. Fashionable! Fun! Just like in places like Copenhagen and the Netherlands, where [some huge number] percent of people ride bikes. Take lots of eye candy photos and interview at least one female person in the fashion industry (designer, model, fashion editor, etc.) who bike commutes. List the brands of designer bikes/accessories and quote at least one designer on the increasing consumer demand for their products. More eye candy. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Enough already. We get it.
This isn't news anymore. The false dichotomy between male athlete/outlaw and female fahionista (Choose one! But only one!) was useful when Cycle Chic was still a novel idea in this country, but I think it's just about outlived its usefulness and could potentially backfire if it continues for too long. The "average" American, who is neither athletic nor fashionable, is going to continue to dismiss bicycling as just another thing that isn't suitable for most people in normal situations.
Where, in these articles, is the suburban housewife who rides to the park with her kids? Where is the middle-aged bachelor who rides to the convenience store to buy milk? Where is the athlete who is also a commuter? Where is the eccentric professor who has been riding around in tweed on an old Schwinn for decades and is amused by the fact that all the hip young students are suddenly doing the same thing? Where is the elderly person with arthritis, the cancer survivor who's found a new source of strength, the harried intern coping with stress, the DUI convict, the working poor---where are all of these people in these articles, really the same article every time, about the new "typical" American bicyclist?
I really do think that these regular, boring, normal, actually average people are the ones who actually comprise most of the people who ride bikes in this country---and yet they're never mentioned. (Okay, they mostly ride for the dreaded R-word---recreation---but wouldn't that be a better hook? "So-and-so used to only go for an occasional ride on the bike trail, but then one day she started biking to work..." Yeah, didn't I read that one once? Wasn't I even interviewed for that one once? In the CBF newsletter or something, once upon a time?)
Anyway, the constructed contrast between sports and fashion, once established, creates this giant, gaping chasm into which everyone else just disappears. "Oh look, riding a bike without looking like Lance Armstrong, that's nice. Not for me, though." And then what?