Today’s Wall Street Journal has an article on cycle chic and city bikes.
Read the article →
Posted 7.15.10 in The Kitchen Sink | Bookmark or Share
Hate to stereotype, but a female WSJ reporter quits a mere half-mile from home? And probably because some guy whined about titanium being “light?” Were the tires even inflated properly?
And no, I didn’t read the comments (if there were any). WSJ readers can be quite vicious of anything that doesn’t reek of mindless consumption.
A little bit of a goofy article for me, but I’ve never been able to relate to the fashionista set in general, so I don’t see why our differing attitudes would be any closer when it comes to bikes. I can’t wait for the day that cyclists aren’t divided up into tribes (roadie, bike chic, retrogrouch, etc…) and more people stop defining themselves by their choice of vehicle, how they use them, or even the fact that they use them at all.
But hey – said it before and I’ll say it again – whatever it takes to get people moving under their own power…
@ Stephen – Funny, I didn’t read them either, but thought the article itself _was_ heavily geared towards consumption…
The BikeSnob himself has his usual, apt, takedown:
I think the crux of the matter is that riding a bicycle in the US, if you are over 14 years old, remains “outside” the mainstream, and I think people who do things outside the mainstream tend to want to make a club, or movement, or statement out of it, if for no other reason than to gain support from the company like minded other folks.
This blog is a great example. We all advocate making bikes a normal part of everyday activity, but we do it by fetishizing the equipment to death! (ably abetted by Alan’s amazing photography)
The web site Copenhagenize had a good take on it. In Copenhagen and Amsterdam, bikes are like vacuum cleaners. Nobody talks about them, there are no special clothes required to operate them, and bikes exist to those folks much like vacuum cleaners do to Americans (and the Dutch and Danish, too, I’d imagine.)
We are making great progress towards mainstreaming cycling in the US. Until we get to the point where bicycling=vacuuming, I for one don’t mind if someone rides for tweed, for speed, or for need.
Well said, Pete!
@Pete: “ride(s) for tweed, for speed, or for need”!
Can I steal that phrase? Please? :-))
P.S.: Just found this great video about Amsterdam–I love it:
@ Pete, that is bar none the most apt description I have read to date.
Free use license granted!
BikesnobNYC’s comments on this article were priceless…
Whereas some cultures might find the concept of simply hopping astride a bicycle and riding it in regular clothing so simple as to not even warrant discussion (much less additional purchases or a newspaper article), here in America we need an attitude, a philosophy, a style–and, most importantly, a bunch of new stuff we can buy.
For some reason it’s okay to write about, say, minivans without once mentioning Formula 1 or flame-retardant suits, but an article about everyday cycling has to include plenty of mentions of “handlebars curled low like a ram’s horns,” “seats so hard that people wore foam-padded bike shorts,” and looking “like a refugee from the Tour de France.”
“a close-to-the-ground urban adventure….Being near to the ground allowed me to discover several new shops and restaurants along the way”
Uh…was she riding a recumbent? Is her normal ride a Unimog? Just how relaxed is the Electra?
Thanks, Pete! :-))
Moopheus – could be that she normally drives an SUV, which would place her especially high off the ground.
[...] to all your kind links yesterday (and a heads-up from Rick) I did not miss out on the Ã¢â‚¬Å“BikerÃ‚Â ChicÃ¢â‚¬Â article from WSJ. [...]
That. Was. The. Most. STUPID. Article. Ever.