4 June 2009

Copenhagen - Tokyo

Welcome Home
After ten days spreading the Cycle Chic word in Japan and Moscow, there are many lovely reasons that I always love returning home. Like the summer traffic at 07:30 in the morning, for example. Poetry on wheels.

But we have unfinished Tokyo/Japan business:
Red Shoes and Hat
Splendid red shoes and a cracking hat near Harajuku.
Tokyo Two
Cruising in style in Harajuku. The Gearheads would have a fit in Japan. So many people ride low on the bicycle. Perfect for city riding and, really, the great thing about bicycles is that there is no wrong way to ride them. Whatever turns you on.
Standing Room Only Up to Speed
Standing Room Only in two stylish versions.

News From New York:
Here's an article from Reuters about how New Yorkers are getting on their bikes in style.

"New York should have not only the most bicyclists, but the most stylish ones as well," Patti Harris, the first deputy mayor of New York, told a news conference.

Indeed. But the competition is tough from Copenhagen and Tokyo, dear New Yorkers. But a fashionability competition is a splendid idea! Bring it on!

But then there's this piece from The New York Times. All about designing "cycling clothes". Some people just don't get it. Whatever you wear for walking is suitable for cycling. This is just another example of corporations trying to capitalise on a trend by overcomplicating a simple issue. All you need is a bicycle. All you've ever needed, since the Safety bicycle was invented 120 years ago, is a bicycle.

Come to Copenhagen!
The website Denmark.net has a competition for bloggers.
Denmark Jazz Weekend
Denmark Jazz Weekend
One blogger can win a trip to the Copenhagen Jazz Festival in July. To enter, write a blog post about what's cool about Denmark and win a trip to the Copenhagen Jazz Festival. Out of all submissions, the Denmark.net jury selects the most interesting, funny, creative, or weird. Fifty bloggers will receive Denmark t-shirts, mugs, or mousepads. One lucky winner is going to Copenhagen on July 10th, enjoying the weekend in a five star hotel.

Get blogging!


portlandize.com said...

I heard recently from Clever Cycles here in Portland (our local purveyor of fine Dutch, English and German bikes as well as the primary supplier of cargo bikes for Portland) that a Shimano representative came in trying to sell them "Cycling shoes" that were literally just normal street shoes with a Shimano logo on them. Apparently a Shimano logo gives them special powers :)

Mikael said...

that's hilarious. they're getting desperate... the thought of millions of cyclists NOT wearing their goofy gear has them worried.

Anonymous said...

What cool things could I say about Denmark that Hendrik van Loon didn't say better 70 or so years ago?

Perhaps, given the evidence presented here we could update his observation that while few can afford two coats no one goes without to no one goes without a bicycle to display their many coats on.

Yes, the Shimano logo conveys special powers - to suck money out of your pockets and into theirs.

It is also an example of the logo-ization of everything these days, as audaciously and unremovably displayed as possible. Bicycles in particular often have several logos as, or MORE, prominently displayed than the maker's mark, now deep stamped or laser etched in.

It seems to be at the point where there are even few people who can talk about their own identity without doing so in terms of other people's names (often themselves entirely ersatz).

Personal style? Yes sir, you can select one from the rack right over here. Are you going to settle for the $100 style or are you going to really impress the chicks with the $1000 style? (Both made in the same Chinese factory and of the same quality, but one with a $90 logo on it and one with a $900 logo. Do NOT buy the exact same item from Wal-Mart for $10, because it is without a logo and is therefore without style).

Perhaps I am just getting old, but I find the trend psychologically disturbing and aesthetically offensive.

Erik Sandblom said...

Who cares if it's a Shimano shoe or a Nike shoe? I think logos are nice if they are discrete. Garish logos are ugly.

Regarding low saddles: OK if people understand that it can make your knees hurt if you overdo it. And if they understand that it gives less power, especially going up hills.

Mikael said...

they'll probably figure out that for themselves, erik. :-)

regarding logo wear... i just think it's amusing that bike brands are getting worried that people are starting to ride in regular clothes, instead of 'gear'.

although there are brands that are more expensive because they are good quality. i do accept that many brands cash in on their name rather than their quality.

spiderleggreen said...

On the NYT bike fashion peice.

Hey, at least they are talking about "Bikes", not cars. Over here, it's about getting them on bikes, by whatever means. If looking good on a bike, gets you on a bike, great! Once they are on a bike their perspective changes. Their car-centric view point is challanged. They start seeing all the limitaions to biking in America. Some of those people begin to push for better bike paths, etc. They also bring other people to the bike-life.

I'm not saying your wrong about any of it(chain guards, clothing, sweat), but I think that the fact that this article is being read by a whole bunch of people who aren't riding bikes, right now, is a good thing.

They'll figure out the rest when they find your website, sometime in the future, when they are ready for more than spacesuits and bad backs.

Erik Sandblom said...

Mikael, I'm not so sure they will figure it out before they give up! At least not if they face long hills. Readers of your blog will persist because they want to be cool, but what about everyone else?

I especially liked your blog post about Ikea. It shows that just about anyone can do more with their bikes than they think. Couldn't you do a blog post like that about hills? Not just say "muscle it" but sneak in some pedagogical details about how to do it.

Erik Sandblom said...

BTW you might like the Swedish magazine Camino. They have a handsome cyclist on the front cover of the latest issue.

Camino. Tema rörelse

Anonymous said...


Could anybody tell me what type of -very very cool-(cruiser) bike the elegant purple legged lady in Harajuku/Japan is riding?!

Tak! Thank you!
an Electra-addicted girl from a country sans hills; The Netherlands :)

Compliments for your excellent blog btw!-

Your cycle-chic movement so would ve gotten my vote-I mean if some Pirates can easily assemble some 8 procent in your neighbouring country then I don't know what could be stopping you from heading to Brussels and spreading The Cycle Chic Word ;)

Mikael said...

i look at the large version but there is no name on the bike. might be a Paul Frank bicycle, though.

Anonymous said...

Thank you!
I've just made a print, so I shall try my luck at my local bike store tomorrow...
thanks again!