26 February 2010
Pretty Girl on a Bicycle and Profiteering
Back in Bicycle Culture 1.0, at the turn of the last century, the sudden and massive societal shift that followed the invention of the bicycle was most profound because of the urban mobility that women enjoyed.
"Pretty girl on a bicycle" has been a cultural icon ever since, not least in Danish history and on this blog. Back then the visual delight that was overwhelming the streets of cities all over the world was used and exploited in many ways. Like the advert, above. It's for a barber and he's sucking in the reader with a headline that he knew would appeal. A fine example of the powerful symbol that is the Cycling Girl.
The bicycle craze of Bicycle Culture 1.0 caused many people to realise that they could make some money off of it. They tried to convince people that they needed special clothes for the simple act of riding a bicycle.
Above, it's 'bicycle wear' they're selling. You know what? It's just a corset. Virtually identical to all the corsets women already had in their closets. Like with all the modern 'cycling clothes' people are trying to sell you these days, in the midst of Bicycle Culture 2.0, the clothes in your closet are sufficent.
Anything you can walk in, you can ride a bicycle in, as we here at Cycle Chic show each and every day. Overcomplicating the issue with modern versions of this corset doesn't help mainstream cycling.
Seriously?... people are actually designing "urban cycling trousers". Oooh. they look like REGULAR jeans but they're for CYCLING. Get off my internet with this crap. How on earth have we cycled for 125 YEARS without products like these?! Pure profiteering - and overcomplication. Sending all the wrong messages.
All you need is a bicycle. All you've ever needed is a bicycle.
Now that we're returning the bicycle to its rightful place on the urban landscape and redemocratizing it for Citizen Cyclists, let's keep our eye on the ball and do it properly. Free of fear mongering and false products.
Just so we're clear on this... 'Cycle Chic' [as we coined the phrase] certainly means welcoming additions, developments and improvements on stuff people actually need. Gorgeous bike bells, for example. Things that make your bicycle lovely. Things that serve a practical design function for urban living in general. Thumbs up for all that.