27 February 2010


Scarfspeed in Copenhagen.

I'm looking forward to seeing winter's ass as it leaves the room and makes way for summer, but I always miss the autumn/winter scarves of Copenhagen.

26 February 2010

Copenhagen Gentlemen

Copenhagen gent waiting at a red light. Read all about the specially-designed railing he is holding onto. It's how we spoil cyclists in Copenhagen.
A gentleman on a late model Raleigh bicycle. See the lovely models available in Denmark here.
Dapper Hat
The world needs more dapper hats.

Pretty Girl on a Bicycle and Profiteering

Pretty Girl on a Bicycle
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.

Bicycle Clothing
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.

Bicycle Bell Advert
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.

Budapest Winter Cycle Chic

It warms our hearts to see this little film from our lovely friends at Cycle Chic Hungary showing people cycling in the winter. Budapest rules.

To see how brilliant the Hungarians are at marketing urban cycling for Citizen Cyclists, have a look at these wicked cool films over at Copenhagenize.com

25 February 2010

Mexico Cycle Chic - Watch This Space

Viva Mexico.

Cycle Chic is off to Mexico next week for an event-filled calendar in the megaopolis. We'll be saying a few words at the opening of the Dreams on Wheels exhibition about Danish bicycle culture before Prince Joachim of Denmark cuts the ribbon. Then there's a lecture at a university before a wicked Cycle Chic party on March 6th where we'll launch Mexico Cycle Chic.
Mexico Cycle Chic
From Il Uqi on Flickr.
I found these brilliant photos from Mexico on Flickr and we're hoping they'll inspire a whole lot more as this cycle chic movement expands from Copenhagen to Mexico.

Mexico Cycle Chic
From Il Uqi on Flickr.
So, it's time to get the Mexican fashion bloggers activated. The Polish fashion bloggers got together to produce a brilliant montage of photos that melted our hearts here at Cycle Chic.

Let's see if Mexico can get rolling.

We're looking forward to some Mexican Cycle Chic on our visit. Watch this space.

24 February 2010

Cycle Chic's Top 5 Cycle Chic Cities

I was asked in an interview recently what the best cities for Cycle Chic are and it was a good question. I figured I'd whip up a Top 5 List of the Cycle Chic'est Cities on the planet. I limited the list to larger metropolises. Being a Cycle Chic Metropolis requires, basically, two elements. A high fashion bar among the population and... bicycles. It requires that a city has a developed bicycle culture, meaning that the bicycle is an important and respected transport option that is used by regular citizens. Citizens who don't identify themselves as being 'cyclists' or members of a sub-culture but who merely use a bicycle to get around. In many ways, Cycle Chic is synonomous with Mainstraim Bicycle Culture.

Friday Evening
This probably doesn't surprise you, but we're going with Copenhagen at #1. The reason, apart from the fact that bicycles are an integral part of life in the world's cycling capital, is that the fashion bar is frightfully high in Copenhagen.

Copenhageners are simply an incredibly well-dressed bunch. You'll see well-dressed people in every city but in the Danish capital style and textile æsthetics are a fabric extension of the Danish design tradition. If we measure the procentage of a city's population who are well-dressed, Copenhagen is way ahead.

Whatever they're wearing, Copenhageners just hop onto bicycles to get around. Crappy, squeaky bicycles, fancy bicycles, cargo bikes, whatever. The city gets extra bonus points for the rather recent development of investing in cooler bicycles. For over a century bicycles were black and heavy. With the economic boom of the last decade, bicycles were all of a sudden available in all sorts of colours and styles. Now Copenhageners can accessorize with their bicycles.
Chic. Cycles. Cycle Chic.

Tokyo Unlocked
At #2, Tokyo. Fashion capital of the planet. Sure, we look to the catwalks of Milano and Paris to see what's coming, but it is in Tokyo that the clothes make an impact. Even the greeters who bow at customers inside the doors of department stores are wearing ensembles worth more than annual salary.

As far as bicycles go, Japan is third only to Denmark and Holland regarding mainstream bicycle culture. Bicycles abound in this major car-producing nation. You'll see more bicycles in the racks around Shibuya Station on any day of the week than you'll see on the streets of New York and London combined in the course of a year.

In the 'Well-Dressed Sweepstakes' Tokyo nudges ahead of Copenhagen but loses points on the bicycle front. There is less separated infrastructure for bikes than in Copenhagen and, say, Osaka or Kyoto. Cyclists often ride on the sidewalks, which is great for Style over Speed, but the city would be that much more Cycle Chic friendly with bike lane catwalks for the impeccably-dressed citizens.
Tokyo Night Standing Room Only Hiro Pedersen Tokyo Double Tokyo Two Red Shoes and Hat

Amsterdam Waiting
To be completely honest, it's a tight race in the top three. Amsterdam breathes down Tokyo and Copenhagen's neck on the Cycle Chic Cities list. The bicycle is king in Amsterdam, no doubt about that. Amsterdam and Copenhagen are the Romulus and Remus of modern bicycle culture.

One thing that always strikes us about Amsterdammers is their fantastic individual style. They are so cool, unique and relaxed, with a high level of 'urban funk' in their style.

We find the Amsterdam affection for clunky old bicycles to be fantastically charming. They compliment their non-chalant attitude brilliantly.

Smooth Rider Lady Like Rides Gorgeousness Styles Bike Chat

Copenhagen Cycle Chic Goes To Paris
Basically, if you don't include Paris on any list that has anything to do with fashion or style, they send a stiletto clad task force after you to blow cigarette smoke in your face and to shrug in your general direction.

Fortunately, including Paris at #4 wasn't a difficult choice. Ever since the Vélib bike share programme showed up in the city, the French capital has been under a constant and brilliant transformation to a much more liveable city. Here's a previous Cycle Chic article about the Vélib system's influence on the city.

Since Vélib started, 2 million private bicycles have been sold in the city and it shows. So... the city is virtually bicycle-friendly, which certainly counts on the Cycle Chic scale. Fashion-wise... well... it's Paris. The fashion bar is high and the people who are using the Vélib bicycles and private bicycles are people who you would otherwise ride the Metro with. Impeccably-dressed gents and fabulously-fab fashionistas.

If the city keeps up it's push for a more bicycle-friendly future, you'll see Paris muscling it's way up this list.

Paris Cycle Chic - Ready Paris Cycle Chic - Gentlemen Vélo Hommes - Cycling Chaps in Paris Prepare for Paris Cycle Chic Velib Blur Copenhagen Cycle Chic Goes To Paris

London Cycle Chic 13
We had to think about #5 for a while, but London ended up rolling away with the honours. Cycling is up and coming in the city and there are a lot of positive players promoting it. Much of our decision for the #5 spot is based on a two-day photo gig in the city back in June last year. Sitting outside Lock 7 Café in Hackney and watching the morning bicycle traffic roll past was like sitting in Copenhagen or Amsterdam. It blew us away.

Sure, most are fairweather cyclists and sure, there is a lot of lycra about, but hey... it's London, innit. Global city and all that. Fashion centre supreme. "Get on with it, mate" attitude. If there's one global city that has the potential to follow in Paris' footsteps, it's London. From the Swinging Sixties to the Two-Wheeled Teens.
London Cycle Chic Afternoon 05 London Turn London Cycle Chic Afternoon 06 London Cycle Chic  Afternoon 02 London Cycle Chic 08 London Cycle Chic 16

Waiting in the Wings
So who's coming up fast from behind? What cities are - hopefully - soon reaching a level of mainstream urban cycling and therewith glorious Cycle Chicaliciousness? Three come to mind right off the bat.

Laughing cyclist
There is a great deal of effort being made in Toronto to push cycling over into the mainstream realm and already the streets are graced with chic cyclists of both sexes.
Style over speed
With the success of the BIXI bikes share system Montreal is following in the footsteps of many French cities by bringing cycling as transport back to the people.

A Little Latin Tweed Basket Full Of Beautiful
If there is an American city that has the will and the style to reach the heights of Cycle Chic, it's San Francisco. It's where I left my heart.

Left Right Left Right

Cool Snow Cat



Sit Up

23 February 2010

Hommes. Femmes. Neige.

Homme Femme
Homme. Femme. Neige.
Red Light Pause
Femme. Neige.
Stopping Shortly
Homme. Neige.

A Flurry of Winter Cyclists Afternoon Traffic
Hommes et femmes. Neige.