15 October 2009

French Bicycle Advocate Cycle Chic

La Rochelle: French Cycling Sellers
Last week, as mentioned, I was in La Rochelle, France attending a national bicycle conference as a speaker.

On one of the days we all went for a bike ride around the city, ending up at city hall. These photos are a good indication of what passionate French bicycle advocates look like.
La Rochelle: Cycle Chic
Skirts and heels.
La Rochelle: Nuit2
Dapper in the evening.
La Rochelle: Cycle Chic
Poise and casual elegance.

If it's role models we're looking for in order to promote urban cycling as a normal, accepted and respected transport form, this bunch are leading the way.

8 comments:

That's Not My Age said...

Have you ever been to Ile de Rey? That is my favourite place to cycle, in the world, ever!

Mikael said...

indeed! many a time. beautiful cycling island and great beaches.

Jeff said...

I've spent time in Paris, and appreciate the cycle options -- though the drivers were entirely too aggressive for me to feel comfortable cycling. However, I commute by bike in LA a lot. The problem I have with the elegant, chic riding is that in LA, and many cities in the States, my typical work commute is between 4.5 and 8 miles one way, with about a 1000 foot elevation change. That's some real hills. I just cannot see any way that I can cycle to work in decent clothes and not arrive frozen (zipping downhills on cool mornings) or sweating like hell (on the significant uphill stretches). Wearing cycling clothing that I can change in my office seems to be the only way. And it's frustrating to get the vibe from the cycling community (love the term Bicycle 2.0) that becuase I'm not wearing my Santoni shoes, scarf, and linen blazer but instead a helmet, yellow waterproof jacket, and shorts that I'm less-evolved.

I wish we could all be cycling chic, but the reality is most people don't live in flat areas where the distances cycled are usually only a mile or three...

William said...

actually, let me fix that last bit for you:
"I wish we could all be cycling chic, but _while_ the reality is that most people live in flat areas where the distances cycled are usually only a mile or three, _some of us don't_..."

And that's allright. While trying to set an example is fine, biking for yourself, the way you like it and feel relaxed doing is really all anyone could ever ask of you.

Anonymous said...

'role models' - or should we call them 'roll models'?
/melbourne

Adrienne Johnson said...

Jeff- bike clothes do not have to be horrendous. Jerseys don't have to be lime green, bike shorts don't have to be worn out and see through. Helmets don't have to be scratched and dirty. Your bike can be clean and maintained. We can all ride with a smile .

That is style. That is a "roll model" (I like that!) This stuff is fashion, and it is no different for walkers as it is for riders, sometimes it works and sometimes it does not.

Now, this is me on the Orange line route on a round trip from Chatsworth to Balboa Park -18 miles, over 1000 feet up and down. I was not dripping, although it was not August.

Mikael said...

the 'homies' have replied accordingly, as ever, but I'd just like to play devil's advocate and say that there are 100 million daily cyclist in Europe and they all don't live in flat areas.

While flat helps certainly, there are many cities that are topographically more interesting where cycling thrives.

But yes, just riding about is the most important thing.

Jeff said...

appreciate the discussion folks. William, you said:

"actually, let me fix that last bit for you:
"I wish we could all be cycling chic, but _while_ the reality is that most people live in flat areas where the distances cycled are usually only a mile or three, _some of us don't_...""

Actually -- that's a really really important set of data that cities (and cyclists) would benefit from. What's the real distribution of jobs from homes for commuters for any given city? This goes to the core of urban planning and evolution, not just fashion. But I'd love to see real numbers that show, say, in Portland 50% of commuters live within 3 miles of their job, whereas in LA it's 10%, and Amsterdam is 90%. That would help alot to justify infrastructure costs, haranguing of friends who don't cycle, etc...

I think one of the reasons for "technical" cycle wear instead of more elegant clothes is the feeling of needing to rush. To work. Back home. To the store and then back home. To daycare. When I lived in Europe I had a hell of a lot more time to get between places. I just allocated it. I don't seem to do that in the States... And it's way faster to do 5 miles in 15 minutes when I'm not flappin' in the wind...