Monday, October 24, 2011

Advanced Cycle Chic

Speaking of a diversity of images...

 All images from Advanced Style 

"...Dressing up is really a form of creativity. It's healing. Creativity is healing...when you become more yourself with a capital 's.' And it's not about possessing or obtaining objects, it's more about, as Tziporah said, becoming an art form and self expression"
                                                                                                                                       Debra Rapoport 

I love Advanced Style. The women profiled are so amazing. You really must watch the videos featuring Tziporah Salamon (second and third pictures) and Debra Rapoport (not pictured). Really the whole site is just inspiring. I hope that I can become more and more myself everyday without looking for anyone else's approval. That's the key to real style.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Making An Important Distinction About 'Cycle Chic'

Too many people are conflating this

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.

...with this
"Style & Substance" is looking like an ironic tagline on this Esquire cover.
The first image says to me, "Chic people ride bikes." It doesn't say to me that you have to look chic in order to ride a bike. Upon further investigation, those curious will find that chic people ride bikes slowly in order to arrive at their destination still looking chic and actually enjoy the ride. The language of personal bests, cycling computers, carbon frames, and whatnot has been excised from the cycling conversation to emphasize looking and feeling good. Everybody can understand that. I think that's what cycle chic is all about--anybody can ride whatever bike they like in whatever clothing they think is cool. Style is personal. You don't have to ride with the peloton like the peloton to be cycle chic. Of course, this concept could be executed better with more diverse subjects--shorter people, heavier people, darker people, older people--but I think greater diversity is on the horizon as the movement grows. The images we'll see won't be predominantly from fashion houses selling the bike as the "it" accessory for their latest collection, but from women taking in their streets on their bikes.

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.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Minimal Bicycle Purse [Rack]

Image from Free People where there is only one bag left.

I don't think I'd be comfortable hanging my $200-on-sale (!) bag from the saddle.

Two straps for securing the purse to your bike. No rack required.

I saw this bag a while ago on the Urban Outfitter's site, noted the cool pleated flap, and forgot about it as I'm pretty sure it was priced at $350. It was never depicted as a bag made specifically for a bicycle (totally undermining the clever title of "Moto Bag"). Somehow I came across pictures of it strapped to a bike which only increased my admiration. Collina Strada designer, Hillary Taymour describes her company as eco-conscious and making a bag suited for a woman's bike is certainly a creative way to be green. (This post on for the love of bikes prompted me to highlight this bit of cycle chic).

Adeline Adeline appears to have the leather bag above on sale for $198.00 and a canvas/leather version for $153.00. Kaight has the vegan leather version for $270. If  any of you ladies out there pony up the money for this bag, I'd love to get some pictures of you living with it. The price says "precious," but the design says "practical."

Monday, October 17, 2011

Cycling Gents Are Chic Too

You just can't get enough from Dominic Latham-Koenig on Vimeo.

Of course by now we've all heard about the rather rude GM ad aimed at college students (especially male ones). And you've seen the parody ads too. Perhaps GM execs and others don't realize that it's not just the ladies who look chic on bikes, but gentleman as well. Esquire magazine's blog recently featured two female bloggers expounding upon mens' fashion and one of them said this:
Trainers worn with formalwear make me think of city cyclists. In my book, there's nothing hotter than the fashion of a guy on his bike whizzing through the city. They're the male equivalent of off-duty supermodel style that many men love.

See there, fellas. With the addition of two wheels you're practically a male model--no crunches or powdery protein drinks required.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Topshop Cycle Chic

Topshop Unique Spring/Summer 20102 - Photos via Fashion Odor

I'm probably most surprised that the fashion-forward Topshop is still showing jumpers for their Cleopatra-inspired 2012  SS collection. Not that I dislike jumpers--I'm glad I'll still be able to get use out of mine next summer. Of course, the cut-out bike shorts caught my eye. They're quite daring. What's covering your bum exactly? Plus, the sheer nude ones look like they'd give you some serious tan lines so let's not imagine the permanent zebra effect the black ones might create. On a more practical note, the last two ensembles look breezy and waterproof. I certainly hope so as a girl could use a bit of high street style during the soggy spring.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Gone But Not Forgotten

From Lucky Magazine on Tumblr
There have been a lot of changes in the Globe Bikes lineup since Brown Betty and I got together. For one thing, they no longer make the Live Mixte 1. At least not for the American market? While watching this video about the Bobbin Bicycles x Globe shop in London, I spotted the discontinued Haul gussied up with a Brooks saddle. Bobbin Bicycles has certainly given their American additions the full monty, getting The Duke Spirit in on the act. So I guess this means the slow cycling lifestyle doesn't necessarily require a Dutch bike, even when one's in Europe.

Bike Book: The Outspokin' Cyclist

My first book review. Thanks to Mr. Phillip Barron.

The first thing that struck me about this book was its origin. From 2004 to 2008, Phillip Barron wrote a cyclist column for the Durham Herald Sun. This book is a collection of those columns. I was pleasantly surprised to find that a Southern city paper thought so much of its cycling readership or considered cycling relevant enough for its own column. I'm also jealous. The Atlanta Journal Constitution does not have a cycling column. Even Creative Loafing--the "alternative" paper--lacks a bike column.

Jealousy aside, I appreciate the Zen nature of the book's first part "Why I Ride." The essays here convey the sentiment of taking time out for oneself and slowing down to smell the roses. Barron speaks to both the sports cyclist enjoying those rare moments of being in the zone and the commuter experiencing their city to a degree that only bicycles allow.

Now that Barron has wooed readers onto their bikes, he offers some support and advice in the next section, "Building A Bike Community." He passes along winter riding tips from Ottawa's bike messengers and provides a quick comparison of bike trailers for carrying kids. There are also cool-headed words for motorists and cyclists seeking to share the road.

Lastly, Barron celebrates cycling in many of its varieties and locales. He even rhapsodizes about falling. Taken as a life lesson and not just an accident, I find his parting words have staying power. "Where we fall and bounce back, where we risk and succeed, where we work through fear, that’s where we find meaning in life."
© courtnee cycles chic
Maira Gall