Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bike Chic, I hate it


No matter how hard women try to become equal in the workforce and life in general, I stumble on stupid Bike Chic websites showing women looking sexy on their bikes. Gimme a break!

Not only does this lady look ridiculous, it is just plain unsafe to bike in high heels. What, you put on a sturdy shoe and suddenly you are unchic (not a real word).

What is the difference between these two ladies and the one above. NOTHING! both look stupid and both are at the same place, trying to look good for someone. Only thing separating these ladies is time cuz nothing else does.



Now this is a cyclist. Riding for her pleasure and no one else's.

Oprah spent a full hour yesterday making women get out of their comfortable shoes and clothes and put on high heels. Why, so men will think they look good? Have we made no progress??

I am sick of it and cannot understand why Shoe Chic, Bike Chic and Purse chic is in some way helping women.

Today I was at Johns Hopkins Hospital. I noticed all the ladies, all had sturdy shoes, many carried the purses Oprah made fun of. One lady had a big red tote bag, she pulled kid's toys out of it. hey why not?? she had her daughter with her, she also had on striped knee socks, peasant skirt, and big floppy hat.

But all those Bike Chic websites, do us all a favor and show some real women exercising.

64 comments:

Andy B from Jersey said...

Just stumbled upon your blog from another cycling blog.

I guess you just don't get the whole movement of putting away the special "gear" and riding a regular bike in cloths that make you the envy (too strong of a word?) of all that you pass. As a man I ride in nice fashionable cloths, including expensive men's shoes on an old 3-speed to my job. Then on weekends I like to go out a rip it for speed on my road or mountain bike with all the gear, so I understand both sides.

There is nothing wrong with riding for speed on a $5,000 machine but if you want to get a good portion of the population to ride a bike, very few are going to relate to the woman in the time trial gear you picture.

And while I don't wear heels (not my style), when was the last time walking in Sidi Genius shoes with Cleo cleats was easy or comfortable?

Libby, in reality all your doing is trading one form of sadism for another (and trust me as a cyclist I can relate). Pick one or both!

Finally, Most women who I've talked to say it much easier to ride in high heels then it is to walk in them.

Libby Maxim said...

sorry andy, if these chicks had on pants and a flat heel shoe, i would be happy, but a tight skirt and spike heels, it just looks stupid

I would be in favor of MORE businesses having locker rooms and places for folks to change clothes,

if someone was going to go out running after work or during lunch, this person would not run in heels and a tight skirt

men's clothes are suitable for bike riding, the high fashion industry for women could do us chicks a favor and make some fashionable clothes that could go to work and ride a bike

remember culottes, pedal pusher pants, all a better choice, fashionable sneakers would be a better choice too

and why shouldn't ladies be able to relate to the time trial chick??

April Streeter, Gothenburg, Sweden said...

The reason I can't relate to the time trial chick is that I don't want to see biking as a competitive sport -- for me. If other women get into it, that's great. I gave up my car three years ago, so for me biking is my main form of transport, I use my bike extensively every day, rain or shine, and I don't want to have to wear lycra to do it. If I don't want to. Also, though I rarely wear heels because I can't walk the cobblestoned streets of Gothenburg with the things, riding in heels is easier than walking in heels, and kind of fun.

melanie said...

What is wrong with a woman being sexy on a bike? I ride my bike in plain clothes exclusively 40 miles a week. It's my only form of transport. I've lost 10 pounds and I feel great- why can't I own it on my bike?

I ride for my own pleasure. I dress for myself. I have never been this fit in my life and it's due to the fact that I spend at least 40 minutes on my bike everyday. I feel plenty safe riding in sensible shoes and heels alike.

Women fail to make progress when they judge others. Limiting who gets to sit at the table of bicycle worthiness- based on gear and attire!- is a step back. Your polemics are disappointing.

Libby Maxim said...

melanie

I still dont get it, and you are way smarter than me cuz i got no idea what "polemics" is??

if you argument holds true, where are all the website showing women wearing sensible bike clothes,

why the proliferation of Bike Chic sites and pages and pages of hot chicks wearing hot clothes

if this floats your boat, go for it, but i want to see some websites with women in regular clothes biking, not necessarily spandex

i dont see men in short shorts and tanks tops biking and I dont see websites flaunting men chic

I am surprised as well, i am an old lady, i grew up when we HAD to wear skirts and dresses ALL the time, my sister got sent home from school one day cuz she wore culottes

I actually biked to school or walked my whole child hood, we had to do it in dresses and skirts

now i see you young chicks today taking me right back to the 50s

and tell me melanie, if you had the choice of clothing when biking, would you really choose a skirt and high heels??

Anna Letitia Mumford said...

Thank you Libby for this long-overdue critique of the glorification of women biking in heels.

Sure, it may be easier to bike in heels than to walk, and it makes sense if that you should be able to bike to work or around town in what your street clothes. But the proliferation of blogs and photos of women looking "sexy" on bikes is just further objectification of the female body. You're right - you don't see a myriad of blogs with photos of men looking seductively fuckable riding around in non-athletic wear. The vast majority of biking blogs are blogs written by men and focus on more substantial issues that cyclists face, aside from whether their stilettos match the flowers in their hand basket.

Thanks for highlighting this discrepancy.

-Anna Letitia Mumford
Fifty Car Pileup
http://fiftycarpileup.blogspot.com/

Emma Gordon said...

"and tell me melanie, if you had the choice of clothing when biking, would you really choose a skirt and high heels??"

Cycling is also my main form of transportation. I bike to work, I bike to play, I bike for errands, I bike to parties. I wear sensible clothes to work (at a hospital) but when I go out on the weekends I often wear a hot dress or a cute skirt or something of the sort. If I were taking the train (car is a non-issue as I live in NYC) I would wear the same things. Should cycling stop me from wearing my hot weekend duds?

I understand the frustration with the bike chic websites. I am an ardent feminist myself. However, I believe that the struggles of feminism were fought so that we could have a choice in how we live our lives. I choose to be both demure AND sexy on my bike whenever I want. (AND I wear a helmet with my heels!)

Stuart said...

"you don't see a myriad of blogs with photos of men looking seductively fuckable riding around in non-athletic wear. "

******

Define what this style means to women and I'm sure men cyclists everywhere will adopt it.

Random Menace said...

Libby: I agree with you to the extent that people should wear whatever they feel comfortable in. In support of your argument against heels, I found this Flickr group of women on bikes in sensible shoes: Girls on Bicycles!

Personally, I ride all kitted up in lycra because I'm on a racing team and spend $300-400/year on uniforms.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I have a bookmark to that Copenhagen site of women on bikes in heels)

Meredith said...

"Cycle chic" is a "movement" that frustrates me too, but for a different reason. It turns cycling into fashion, into a trend. The problem with that is that all trends will go out of fashion, and as soon as the ritzy ladies get tired of their ritzy bikes that match their ritzy purses, cycling as sustainable transit loses ground.

However, the saucy spandexy lady is indeed on the other end of spectrum, and that frustrates me as well. As a result of the cycling-specific gear, individuals who wish to ride regularly may be deterred because they think they have to have a bunch of fancy cycling specific gear. They'll throw up their hands at the whole thing. And, I might add, a sports bra and stretchy shorts is highly impractical in the winter.

I take a firm middle ground. I've ridden in skirts, pants, and sweats, depending on the situation. I believe you should wear whatever you want while riding, as long as you are comfortable and nothing gets caught in the chain. Cycling is about enjoyment, and can easily be a part of everyday life, not something for which you must dress up OR down.

~NY Bicycle Transportation Examiner

Libby Maxim said...

to prove that i have a sense of humor this comment is just plain funny from Stuart
Stuart said...

"you don't see a myriad of blogs with photos of men looking seductively fuckable riding around in non-athletic wear. "

******

Define what this style means to women and I'm sure men cyclists everywhere will adopt it.

Libby Maxim said...

and I say amen to the ladies posting in support of anti bike chic, bike chic SHOULD be a lady in bike appropriate clothing, i get your points that if the bike is all you got and you go on weekends, then you are forced to ride a bike looking sexy,

I still would prefer to see you on the subway on weekends, sexy skirts are for your boyfriend, not the general public, IMHO

Libby Maxim said...

and for us old ladies from the 60s, seeing you young chicks promoting heels and tight skirts and looking sexy on a bike, all i can ask is WHY??

a bike is transportation, buying those chic bikes that match your outfits, holy cow, feel like I am back in junior high school putting make up on in the girls room so we can look sexy for the guys, again i repeat, Gimme a break, it is a bike not a runway for models

April Streeter, Gothenburg, Sweden said...

Libby -- but did you work or fight for womens' rights back in the '60s so that girls could NOT wear whatever they want on a bike, on the street, in a car, or in their bedrooms?

I don't think the human race is any time soon going to get away from our attraction to beauty and our desire to create it via fashion, however stupid some fashion may be. Since that's gonna happen, I think we should be allowed to wear whatever we effing want on a bike - heels, latex, leather, or absolutely nothing at all.

April Streeter, Gothenburg, Sweden said...

but, also, isn't it wonderful that there are all of us out here riding our bikes, enough of us to consider it worthwhile to debate the issue on your blog. I think that's cool.

Libby Maxim said...

my first year at Penn State Univ, we HAD to wear skirts, and the mini skirt had just come into fashion, there we were in sub zero weather walking across huge barren parking lots in the dead of winter, arriving at class with knees and thighs close to frostbite

I ain't NEVER biking in a skirt, and I have no sympathy for ladies who proclaim it is choice to bike in a skirt and heels, choice for WHOM

Norman said...

Perhaps you should read about Lan Yin Tsai, http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/10/28/eiko.irpt/index.html. Who has ridden the MS 150 in New Jersey for 26 years on single speed bike in heels a skirt, a jacket, and is 84 years old. Lan rides the full 150 miles, is she a sex object or just someone who likes to dress nice when they cycle.

“and I say amen to the ladies posting in support of anti bike chic, bike chic SHOULD be a lady in bike appropriate clothing, i get your points that if the bike is all you got and you go on weekends, then you are forced to ride a bike looking sexy,

I still would prefer to see you on the subway on weekends, sexy skirts are for your boyfriend, not the general public, IMHO”

Bike Chic should be determined by the cyclist, not by a self appointed pundit. No one is forced to bike in what you think is a sexy outfit, that’s a personal choice. As to your comment about sexy skirts are for boyfriends and not the general public; I don’t see any difference between you and the Saudi Arabian government who requires all women to wear a burkha.

Libby Maxim said...

well Norm, good for you, me compared to the burka loving countries, funny, men are all in favor of the sexy cyclist, only a man would think women who can choose whatever they want to wear are somehow more free than the burka ladies, we women are all in this together, our clothing is usually dictated by what men like and not what women like

Norman said...

“I ain't NEVER biking in a skirt, and I have no sympathy for ladies who proclaim it is choice to bike in a skirt and heels, choice for WHOM”

Then by all means don’t ride in a skirt that is your choice. If someone chooses to ride in a skirt that is there personal choice.

I agree with Melanie’s statement; “Women fail to make progress when they judge others. Limiting who gets to sit at the table of bicycle worthiness- based on gear and attire!- is a step back.” Just because someone does not measure up to your standard of cycle worthiness does not make them any less of a cyclist. Based on your blog I would not meet this standard either; I ride less than 10 miles per ride, for the last 15 years the bike I rode was from Kmart(I just got a new bike), and I don’t dress in Lycra. I ride a bike as a source of transportation, instead of trying to impress people with how far and fast I can go and worst of all…I’m a man. Does this make any less of cyclist?

Paul Peterson said...

Well the girl here is in Copenhagen and you'd have to argue with half a million other women in Copenhagen, as they are all dressed similarly and have nearly identical bikes. Those women aren't cyclists - they're just women going to where they are going, no matter what they're wearing because the bicycle is the best way to get around. Ask a girl in Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Germany...etc. why they are wearing high heels on a bike and the answer will be rather boring, if you get one at all.

Norman said...

“well Norm, good for you, me compared to the burka loving countries, funny, men are all in favor of the sexy cyclist, only a man would think women who can choose whatever they want to wear are somehow more free than the burka ladies, we women are all in this together, our clothing is usually dictated by what men like and not what women like”

First off Lib, it’s Norman, not Norm. I could care less what a woman wears when she cycles, the choice is hers, not mine. Your clothing is dictated by what you like; there are a lot of women fashion designers who make women’s clothing.

Yes your statement about how sexy dresses are for boyfriends and not the general public is no different from countries who require women to dress in burkas so they don’t tempt men. In your case it’s so you are not offended by something you consider to sexy.

Libby Maxim said...

norm

give it up, i do not care what women wear on bikes but i do care that biking in a skirt and heels is chic and biking in pants and sneakers is not, that is the argument

Norman said...

Lib,

I think you should give it a rest. So what if someone is dressed in bike chic, oh that’s right you the self appointed bike fashion police do. In your post you stated the woman on the $5000 bike, with an aerodynamic helmet, wearing Lycra shorts and sports bra is the true image of a female cyclists. That’s just another extreme end of the fashion spectrum, most cyclists male or female don’t dress like that or ride bikes that cost so much. Come take a ride in Philadelphia some time and you’ll find that most of us have no interest in riding or dressing like Lance Armstrong.

Moderator said...

Although I'm sure there are examples to the contrary, I always saw the "cycle chic" blogs as equal opportunity, i.e., featuring both men and women who were dressed for work, rather than for "cycling", and usually dressed pretty well/"Chic".

The point was to promote the "slow bike" movement and the fact that anyone could bike and still look as good as they might if they were to step out of a stretch Hummer limo instead.

Norman said...

It seems that Lib found the picture of the woman in heels at this site, http://www.copenhagencyclechic.com/ scroll down you’ll find the picture.

After careful review I can see why Lib is so worked up about bicycle chic. The women are not wearing appropriate cycling gear and are not riding appropriate road bikes. Instead they are riding inappropriate bikes that allow them to sit upright, have fenders to keep water and dirt off their clothes and they have racks and baskets so they can carry things with them. I need to move to Copenhagen so I can meet women who understand a bicycle can be used for transportation and not participating in a century ride makes you any less of a cyclist.

Frey Maxim said...

Why do all the comments assume that the woman in the skirt is the sexy image, and the woman in the bike gear is the unattractive one? I find the fit female cyclist much hotter than any skirt clad, bike chic bimbo.

Paul Peterson said...

Nearly all women in Denmark wear skirts AND ride a bike. Doesn't make them a bimbo.

Jack Duluoz said...

Libby,

In regard to your Victorian ladies with their bicycles, you might care to know that the first "bike fad" of the 1880s-1890s played a large part in womens liberation and womens sufferage. Average womens clothes of the period (which aren't that far from a burkka really) were imposible on early saftey-bikes and led to the invent of bloomers and loosening of Victorian dress norms. But don't take my word for it:

"Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel...the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood."
- Susan B. Anthony

Fuck chic; ride free.

Libby Maxim said...

agree about the bike and women's emancipation and have read the history, another very interesting thing about bikes, poor women in India are in need of them, they cannot get to a school without them
http://www.ibike.org/economics/india-women.htm

and this is one reason i hate to see the bike now as a fashion statement, it is transportation, and it can change lives

Mikael said...

What we're seeing here is another example of sub-culture rebelling against mainstream.

Now that the bicycle is being re-instated as a normal, accepted and respected transport form in cities all over the world, we're seeing the sports fetishists up in arms. They feel their identity being threatened, much like I'm sure stamp collectors felt when an effective communication form like email showed up and marginalised them.

The bicycle, since it's invention, has served as a grand, democratizing tool for liberating women and the working classes. All that is happening is a repeat of this democratization.

That a tiny sub-cultural fraction is grumpy about it is hardly cause for concern.

These are regular people in their regular clothes experiencing liberating urban mobility. 100 million of them each day in Europe alone and growing number in Emerging Bicycle Cultures like America.

Sports cycling won't suffer. On the contrary. But placing the bicycle firmly back in the hands of the people - for whom it was meant for - is a good thing.

Get used to it.

Mikael said...

and if you're going to take copyrighted photos off of other websites, please adhere to the basics of internet etiquette and link, at the very least, to the source.

Moriarty said...

Oh, the passion in this post and the comments! Marvelous!

Mikael, Lars, clearly there is a need for more photos of delicious Scandinavian men on bikes. Please oblige us forthwith.

For myself, I will take the challenge to further expand the definition of "bike-appropriate clothing". The Naked Riders with their bodypaint (http://www.worldnakedbikeride.org/ - NSFW) do not go far enough. I shall do my part by organising a Critter-cal Mass with my local Furry chapter.

Here's to the bicycle! And world domination!

Moriarty

Nazry said...

nothing wrong with skirts, i think. thats the reason why bicycles with low head tubes were created.

The heels i am slightly cautious about. Stop incorrectly, and the heels would break. Not to mention you could end up with a swollen ankle.

Theres nothing wrong with flat pumps, i hope?

stellarcider said...

You clearly do not know what you are upset about.

Too many people have posted comments pointing out your hypocritical nonsense.

Chic is about fashion. You are probably upset that celebrities don't wear yoga pants to photo shoots.

Nuff said

Spatial Stitches said...

I had no idea that you can buy bikes to match your outfit. How fun!

Ryan said...

IMO the last cyclist looks ridiculous.

Telling women to wear that crap lycra will just push more women into cars.

Libby Maxim said...

read my latest blog post to see the most EXCITING bike pic of all time!!!!!

Klaus Mohn said...

For the edification of the masses, here are a couple of links in response to Libby's i dont see men in short shorts and tanks tops biking and I dont see websites flaunting men chic
- don't tell me those dudes are not trying their hardest to look sexy. Fixie fashion doesn't do much for me but I'll admit there's something there, and it's not all about athletics gear and spandex.
- NYC Cycle Chic. Granted, they look a bit ridiculous, but that's some all-American testosterone-laced eye candy right there.
- A dignified older gentleman dressed for work. Eye candy for the blue-hairs maybe.
- Average Joes on bikes.

Libby Maxim said...

fantastic comments, wish there was this much enthusiasm when bike lanes and bike infrastructure comes up for a vote, unfortunately here in the US of A, biking and bike infrastructure becomes a hot potato political issue, conservative home boys see biking as a wimpy liberal issue, too bad it ends up this stupid

Christa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christa said...

"Not only does this lady look ridiculous, it is just plain unsafe to bike in high heels."

It seems safer to cycle in high heels than to WALK in them. Really, it's a relief.

BicyclesOnly said...

I'm not too keen on the "cycle chic" concept either; the suggestion is that you have to look like a model to ride a bike. What's interesting to me is what ordinary people look like when they are cycling--just an extension of good old New York City people watching. And by large, it's not high fashion or spandex, pretty much the same thing the pedestrians are wearing. Check it out:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bicyclesonly/collections/72157603553344699/

orc said...

"... and for us old ladies from the 60s, seeing you young chicks promoting heels and tight skirts and looking sexy on a bike, all i can ask is WHY??"

Male gaze.

Filigree said...

Some of the greatest setbacks to women's freedom come from other women, who take it upon themselves to criticise those who do not conform to their standards of the way women should dress and behave. This was as true during Victorian times as it is today. It's disappointing that you choose to perpetuate this with vicious and misinformed comments, rather than supporting a woman's freedom to choose. High heels are dangerous on a racing bike, but they are perfectly safe on an upright bicycle with relaxed geometry, a step-through frame, and grippy platform pedals. Enjoy your bicycle and consider being a little kinder and more open-minded, Sister.

Filigree said...

orc said...
"Male gaze."

That was during modernism. Today's women are post-gaze. Like duh!

Libby Maxim said...

it is amazing, i post blog comments for the last 3 yrs, suddenly I write about women and short skirts and folks come out of the woodwork to bash the post, let's hope this enthusiasm continues in regards to promoting safe cycling for all

Libby Maxim said...

Most folks reading my blog post on Bike Chic misunderstood my stance. What I hate is the fact that bike chic for women TENDS to be women in skirts and spiked heels. And this is true of any fashion chic involving women. I do not care what women wear on their bikes, but I do care that "chic" is skin and sex.

And what prompted my blog post in the first place was the TV show Oprah did on the same issue except it did not involve bikes.

She had her show guests pulling average looking women off of the streets and redoing them. Off came the sneakers, pants and backpacks and on came heels, skirts and expensive purses.

This is what got my blood boiling. And now I see this same thing with women and bikes. IF you want to bike naked, go for it, just don't proliferate the Net with pics of ladies on bikes half naked and call it "chic."

That term needs to be redefined to include lots of ladies on bikes. To me any lady biking, be it in heels or bike gear is a chic lad

Libby Maxim said...

last word in last post is LADY not lad

Paul Peterson said...

Your post ended up on Streetsblog.net the day you posted it. The headline no doubt drew a lot of eyes :)

And chic just means fashionable. Where do you get that it means sex or skin? Just curious. The site where that photo came from - Copenhagen Chic - really are just random, normal women in Copenhagen.

Filigree said...

Libby - Do you not see the irony of it when you talk about "showing skin"? The lady on the racing bike you posted is wearing far less clothing than the lady in a skirt on the upright bike. The racing bike lady is exposing her midrif, wearing skin-tight mini-shorts that highlight her buttocks, and a bra. And she cycles this way on the streets - one might say flaunting her body to any man who sees her. Now, you probably look at the way she is dressed and think "normal cycling outfit", because you are accustomed to it and do not associate it with sexual flaunting despite its skimpiness. To me however, it's "Wow, if that stuff didn't have logos on it, it would be bra and panties! She must really be looking for attention."

So consider for a moment that women who dress in skirts and heels feel the same way about their clothing - "normal clothing for a woman who enjoys fashion", while you politicise and criticise it, because it seems strange and "other" to you. Again, it's all about open mindedness and considering others' points of view, others' preferences.

I am not a proponent of the so called "cycle chic" and do not use that term on my website for a variety of reasons. But I am a proponent of being yourself, on a bike. And whether a woman's "true self" is a mini-skirted waif, a middle-aged soccer mom in sensible shoes, or a tri-athlete, it's all good and who am I to judge.

Xander N' Dante said...

my view on cycle chic,

it isn't a movement, it just is.

its putting on anything and riding

but looking good to yourself and maybe others.

i have to admit, as a fan and photographer of cycle chic, the fact that I happen to photograph someone i consider "chic" is purely selfish.

i'm not an advocate for cycling, and i couldn't care less about the lack of bike lanes or safety issues. However i do feel that when i don't ride i've missed out on something. and i feel most cyclists share that with me.

there's a time and place for every type of fashion, style and bicycle

but the people i've captured riding coudn't care less that i was watching them.

cycle chic is not a movement, its an experience.


'X

Catherine said...

I see the cycle chic thing as more of a "hey, bikes are a mode of transportation just like anything else, and you really don't need special gear for it" type of thing. I think you've just generally misunderstood the whole point. These women aren't getting dressed up to go cycling. They're getting dressed up to go wherever it is they're going. They happen to be getting there via bicycle. In the US in the 70s/80s, for whatever reason (I have a few theories) cycling went from "transportation" to "recreation", and was suddenly (nearly) exclusively a sport with often-expensive gear.

Many sports are niche activities and thus went cycling in the US. But not in parts of Europe. I see the photos from there of everyday women on non-sport bikes, wearing what they'd wear if they were driving or taking public transport inspiring. Now, depending on what part of the US you're in or if you're in a city, suburb or rural area, these may not be "everyday" women around you. If you look at ALL the photos from Copenhagen Cycle Chic (which is where the photo you posted is from), most women are not in tight minis and stiletto heels, and actually reflect a fairly broad spectrum of clothing styles for an urban area (looks actually very similar to the streets around me).

I further think that one of the major reasons the high heel thing gets pointed out a lot is that most men and many women find high heels somehow intimidating, or an ultimate expression of impeded mobility. Same goes for skirts/dresses. Personally, I hate this. I DO see how heels can be viewed that way, particularly for those people with flat feet/weak ankles etc, but really, it's not a big deal to wear them. And I resent the idea that wearing a skirt impedes mobility in any way--that's just some stupid hangover from "girls can't do anything" days. You can do anything in a skirt that you can do in pants, particularly if you don't mind the possibility of showing a little leg accidently (and why should I, my body is nothing to be ashamed of!). Anyway, I think the reason the skirt/heels thing gets pointed out is that the authors are playing to most peoples' perceptions of the "weakness" of traditionally-female clothing.

Finally, I think that cycle chic images can serve to get more women on bikes in addition to, not instead of the niche sporty women. So what's wrong with it?

stacy said...

This is not a feminist issue. To echo many previous points, commuter biking will thrive when people feel like they don't need to wear a special "get-up" to get on a bike. Some people like to dress up, some people (like me) are slobs. The dressy people are going to look dressy on a bike if they're wearing their everyday clothes. What's the problem with that? People should wear what they want...and bike!

BeeRich said...

"Helping women"? C'mon. I would like to think that women know the ramifications of choosing different types of shoes. For decades now, they have chosen make-up and fashion as a regular event. You should give some credit to women.

I think Oprah's message is "do what you want, and it's ok to dress like a sexy woman". Here in Toronto, women are either in some kind of destructive fashion (Emo's or whatever you call it), pole dancers (you know the type), or frumpies. To find a textbook attractive woman that isn't afraid of the presence of stereotypes, that feels allowed to be anything she wants, is very rare indeed. Insecurity is completely rampant in this town, and it makes for a very difficult social environment.

Oh, as an aside, I love heels. Women know that men love heels. Oh am I so glad that they know that.

Colleen Carboni said...

I ride for transportation. My destination determines what sort fo clothes I wear, not the bike. I think that is the whole point of the web site. These women are wearing clothes for their life, not for biking. Don't judge, a snap shot of a person does not tell you if that person is about objectifiying herself for men.

Don't tell me I have to put myself in spandex, expose my midrif and and look tough to be taken seriously. I refuse to be forced into a pigeon hole because of someone's view of what woman is suppose to wear or act.

Lighten up-the website is a light hearted response to the prevailing attitude that a person can only ride a bike with expensive bike gear. Let's get out of our molds!

Rebekah said...

I think that there are two distinct issues here, which need to remain separate rather trying to tackle them both at once. The first is that society (myself included) finds heels attractive, the second is that heels are used for most aspects of life - riding to work included. I think that the real issue is that heels aren't cool, regardless, not that they are worn while biking.

Most of us have experienced the pain of heels - they give you back problems, impede your ability to walk, squish your feet, cut circulation to your toes, and essentially date back to Chinese foot binding and other ancient methods used by men to control women and literally slow them down if they tried to excape. Clearly, this is not longer the case, but the heel, unfortunately, still has sex appeal. THIS is the essential problem. Rather than lashing out at chics on bikes with heels, we should question why heels are promoted and accepted in such a way.

BeeRich said...

Sex sells. It's that simple. Frumpy also was sold, but nobody bought it, nobody appreciated "comfortable shoes".

Quinton Mosley said...

I wouldn't confuse the pleasure that some women take from looking good and a phony love of bikes. Appearance is important to some folks and while it is pretty silly to wear high heels on a bike, at least bikes are getting their due attention. Better to have all types riding bikes than a limited few. Maybe she was going to an interview?

Fortunately, I find women attractive and bikes are cool to me. I fail to see the downside to anybody biking. Health reasons... glamor reasons... it's all good. I agree with everybody saying it's about the biking and not a social standard issue.

Regardless, I'll turn to Mr. Rogers on this one and say everybody is special in their own way.

Brendan61 said...

Who gives a crap what anyone else wears riding a bike. Cycle Chic is about the clothes, not the cycling. Mikael is a clever guy who has combined his fashion photography sense and love of bikes into an interesting blog. Wear what you want. Let others wear what they want. But let's not kid ourselves, just about everybody likes sex. Everyone spends a lot of time within their gender assigned roles and their own self image, trying to get sex. Dress it up in fashion, or bikes, or music, or sports-whatever, we're all just trying to get laid! The more I see the more I believe that this is the driving force behind all the marketing schemes that allow people to be enslaved by things like cars. Also ironic that somehow a fit athlete on a Cervelo bike is sexy to Libby. Just as surely as the women who slavishly follows fashion rules, the Cervelo rider too is a victim of marketing that plays on the self esteem issues of the consumer

apricot said...

I assume the Copenhagen Cycle Chic blog is at the center of your cycle chic angst, but CCC features lots of women in flats and jeans getting around by bike. There's nothing exclusively high heels about the blog, though high heels are of course not difficult to come by on the blog.

I think you're missing the point of the blog. As a livable cities advocate, I love this blog and others like it because they fly in the face of the usual objections to using a bike to get around the city on one's daily errands. I hear from women all the time that they won't ride a bike because they don't want to sacrifice fashion or change the way they dress at all in order to get on a bike. They don't want to sweat. They don't know how they would carry things (like a Cello, perhaps?). They don't want to spend a lot of money on a bike. Etc and on down the line of excuses for staying in their cars. CCC is extremely productive in countering these ideas people have of cycling as only for athletes or for exclusive communities of rebellious young people. It's extremely useful to have a strong voice out there telling people they don't need to change anything fundamentally about themselves to get on a bike and ride. I adore that about CCC and I'm happy to see blogs like this one proliferate.

As a cyclist who sometimes bikes for sport in spandex and sometimes bikes for transport in jeans (or a skirt), I think you're comparing apples to oranges by presenting a time trial cyclist as a "real" cyclist as opposed to the women on CCC. I'm an active bicycling advocate, and I advocate for all kinds of cycling (road, mtb, transport), and so predictably, I despise the pitting of one group of cyclists against another. As a female bicycling advocate, I'm especially disappointed when one group of female cyclists is pitted against another group of female cyclists. It should be obvious that this sort of spiteful commentary is not helpful to either cycling or women. (I should point out here, that I also do not like it when livable cities advocates trash on cyclists who wear spandex while riding. I have the same criticisms of such statements. Apples to oranges, ppl. Can't we all just get along?)

As someone else pointed out above, the actual wearing of heels by women and the appreciation of heels by men (and, arguably more so, by women) is another issue altogether separate from these cycle chic blogs. I don't wear heels because I can't, and that doesn't disappoint me too much because I'm a full-time pedestrian and I love to be as mobile as possible, and heels work against mobility. And I don't feel a loss of attention from men or from cycle chic blogs (yep that's me!) as a result of my abstention from heels. But the world being what it is, other people will feel differently and behave differently, and part of being a grown up is seeing this yet not reacting in fear and hatred and spiteful commentary.

Libby Maxim said...

my latest blogpost


This has to be some kind of record for comments on a blog post, holy cow! glad to see all the posts and glad to hear all the different points of view, where I live, I have to bike 20-40 miles on roads just to get anywhere, so fashion is not an option for me, plus I can only afford one bike, and that is my road bike, do not have an assortment of bikes for different terrains.

Wish i could and wish I could bike in a city like Copenhagen, I cannot even imagine it. Living in a city as beautiful as Copenhagen, well I hope you natives wake up each morning and count your blessings. I have never traveled except in a few places in USA, I have biked in FL and CA as well, both sons lived in those areas, that was fun, CA is all about the sport of biking, FL as well, racing bicyclists every where on high tech bikes with high tech gear

The bike in those states is strictly for sport and exercise, triathlons being the rage in both states. Aerobars are popular and large groups of racing folks take over the streets.

Pennsylvania, where I live, is rather hostile to cyclists on the roads. Not so bad around the large cities, Phila and Pittsburgh, but forget biking in spandex in northern PA, better cover up in a plaid shirt, ya might be safer.

Bike chic seems to be for those who live in cities with support for biking. Flat terrain and easy access to nice roads. Many cities in northern USA are hilly and have brick roads and roads filled with potholes as well.

So chic is not for me. Right now I am biking in gloves, shoe covers, tights and Windstopper jackets. But for you chicks lucky enough to live and work in a city that loves the bike, enjoy yourselves. Many of us will never have that opportunity and many of us will never see the scenic cities of Europe and Sweden.

Some day in my dreams I will bike in Copenhagen.

akugel said...

wow. it's clear the biking subculture is stunting the transformation of the bicycle as a legitimate, clean mode of transportation in the city.

April Streeter, Gothenburg, Sweden said...

Akugel - I wish you would explain what you mean, and why you think that the bike "subculture"...which one?...is endangering the idea of city biking. Do tell.

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