|From morning bike porn. This is image #475. The images directly preceding and following this are more like regular porn, in my opinion, but you can decide for yourself.|
|"Style & Substance" is looking like an ironic tagline on this Esquire cover.|
Additionally, the first image is a realistic portrayal of using a bike. That couple could've been waiting at a red light that wouldn't change so they decided to walk their bikes through the crosswalk. (A totally advisable course of action). Moreover, they can cycle in these clothes. She's not wearing super-wedgie producing booty shorts and he's not naked. They don't look tired, dirty, or disheveled. They look like they could jump right back on those bikes and have a grand time. They appear to be dressed for a grand time. In fact, I want to be the woman who can convince her boyfriend to dress like that (and I wouldn't mind having a man who looked like that either). This is cycle chic bike porn. All of my happy buttons are being tweaked. I'm digging the clothes, the city streets, the bikes--the lifestyle. Yes, please. Gimme some of that cycle chic.
The second image is porn-porn. The woman on the bike is an object like the bike which you can't even see. The headline below her cleavage reassures readers that there are more pictures of her accompanying the feature about her because ogling her body is way more important than learning the slightest thing about her as a person. The only positive thing I can say about this picture is that at least it's not an image of just her butt or just her crotch. Let's just say that if a photo looks like it was taken by a creep hiding in some bushes waiting for women on bikes to have wardrobe malfunctions, it's not cycle chic. I would also propose that an image with a naked or half-naked woman and a bike that elicits the question, "What bike," is just porn; it's not bike porn. Another question to consider: does the woman look like she could enjoy the bike? If the composition of the photo doesn't lend itself to the possibility that the woman could enjoy the bike then it's definitely porn because that's the hallmark of regular porn--no female subjectivity.
I try not to get deep on this blog, but citygirlrides pointed out that the whole "girls on bikes" thing is being co-opted by folks who don't give a damn about girls or bikes. Then I saw the debate on Momentum Mag and I had to add my two cents. I think that cycle chic is about the way women want to live--it encompasses the way they want to dress and the fact that they want to ride in a seperated bike lane. At the bottom of it, cycle chic is also about normalizing cycling. It seems to have escaped the attention of Elly Blue and others that chic cycling is slow cycling. One doesn't have to be super fit or young or have the best bike to toodle into their city center for coffee. That sounds inclusive.What doesn't sound inclusive is this debate. We all want to ride our bikes, I don't see the point in dismissing anybody because they want to look a certain way while doing it.