I'm not against cycle chic itself. I think people should wear whatever makes them feel happy on a bike. Personally, I find wearing stilettos heals, a short skirt & an expensive blouse to be a bit impractical on a bicycle, but hey--I've done it. I'm certainly not the paragon of practicality! And I love to look at photos of vintage bikes with people wearing pretty clothes riding them. Cycle chic is pretty, its just not practical (and that's ok). When it's pouring rain, or snowing, or 120 degrees out, or 2 degrees out, or you need to ride more than 25 miles, wearing designer clothes & shoes isn't going to work. However, if you somehow need to grab a bunch of mint (for mojitos?), why not do it in style:
"For the designer Lela Rose, wedge-heeled platforms and a khaki shirtdress of her own design are ideal for racing on her custom tricycle from the Union Square Greenmarket, where she picked up a bundle of mint, to her Seventh Avenue atelier."
I don't even know what an atelier is.
What bothers me is the attitude that there is no middle ground. You are either a maniac spandex-clad Tour de France wanna-be (uncool) or you have to be like Lee Dares, a
"model newly arrived from Toronto, wore a girlishly bibbed sweater, a navy blazer, Ann Demeulemeester roughrider boots and vintage Gucci sunglasses, her look accessorized with a borrowed Schwinn Le Tour."
(cool). What about the rest of us schlubs who don't want to spend a fortune on accessories, but aren't looking to break any time trial records either? What about those of us that just want to be able to get from point A to point B and not have to have an entire separate wardrobe just to do it?
One of the problems I've experienced as a cyclist is that I never really felt that I fitted in the cycling world. A few of my friends are racers. They get up at ridiculous hours of the morning to ride around in circles in an attempt to go faster then they have before. Their world is made up of power meters, cycling "nutrition" and team kits. I just can't relate to that. My other friends are mountain bikers. As much fun as that is, I don't get to do it that often so I don't relate to that either. I'm not hipster and I don't have much of a desire to ride a "fixie". My bike rides are mostly made up of commuting, whether it is to to work or to some other place. My attire is usually jeans and a t-shirt/hoodie, and my "accessories" consist of my phone, wallet and keys. I just like to ride. I'm not looking to break records or PR's, and I'm not looking to break the bank on the latest and greatest in cycling technology either. Betty is probably the most vain, "fashionable" cycling item I own, and she's a bit more on the 'punk' side, rather than 'chic'. Where do I fit in? Where's the group ride for me?
The other thing about these types of articles that irks me is that they "solve" the problem of getting more women on bicycles by boiling it all down to fashion. Apparently, more women don't ride bicycles because they fear not looking "chic" enough to do it.
Although ridership among women is increasing, it's still isn't quite on par with men yet. Why? I don't know. I have yet to read any kind of study/article that actually asks real women why they don't cycle more often. Is it fear of riding in traffic? Riding in inclement weather? Practicality? What do you do when you are a mother of two and have dentist appointments, doctor appointments, soccer games & recitals to get to? Or you work 12 hours a day on your feet and the idea of additional physical activity isn't appealing? Or you work a late shift and the idea of riding alone at 2am doesn't seem safe? None of these questions are answered with gucci sunglasses & a borrowed Schwinn roadster.
"Cycle chic" in of itself is an interesting concept. But I wish it wasn't so automatically tied to female cyclists, or that at least more variety was explored when it comes to female cyclists. And yes, I realize the New York Times is hardly the expert on cycling issues, and this was in the Fashion & Style section (duh). Like I said, I have no problem with cycle chic itself. Ride in style! But there's a huge segment of the cycling population that seems to be consistently overlooked (the everyday rider).
In other news, I'm going to have to drop Betty off at the local bike shop. She's groaning something awful. I guess that the 66 mile ride we did last week, plus this week's commuting miles have put a bit of a strain on her. It might even be time to put her up for the season. This weekend's weather is a huge difference from last weekend! Whereas last weekend I thought I might die of heat exhaustion, this weekend I've had to break out the hoodie, coat & umbrella. Brrrr! Fall is truly here, and I am definitely unprepared for it. I need to do some clothes shopping, soon! Fall means that winter is not far away, and Betty doesn't need to deal with the mud & slush that comes with it. Time to get Jamie prepared!
Also, do any of you have any recommendations for wet weather gear? I got absolutely soaked from head to toe earlier this week during a downpour. What do you use to stay dry?