Over the past few years, a new player has emerged onto the cycling scene: The "cycle-chic" phenomenon.
There are myriad websites devoted to posting photos of people (usually women) dressed casually or done up for an evening out, riding their bikes without a care in the world.
Originating with the blog Copenhagen Cycle Chic, this phenomenon has spilled into mainstream culture…fashion magazines dotted with beautiful people on bikes, television commercials where bikes are central to the theme, and new blogs every day that carry the "cycle chicks are cool" message.
I've long been divided on the issue. On one hand, presenting bikes in a fresh, hip way is great for cyclists of all disciplines - it lends some legitimacy to our chosen mode of transportation. On the other hand, I've feared that it glorifies/objectifies women in an unhealthy way…and that it suggests that bicycles are merely today's hot fashion accessory, only to be discarded like last year's hadbag when something cooler comes along.
A blogger that I greatly respect has a good article about the phenomenon. Karen from Sheridesabike.com presents a well-reasoned argument supporting cycle chic:
"The cycle chic blogs have been criticized for featuring images of attractive young women on bikes, thereby trivializing women's biking and further objectifying women. I don't buy a bit of it. Style innovation almost always finds inspiration at the ground level with youth culture, and our cultural standard of beauty has expanded considerably in the last few decades. Sure, cycle chic blogs frequently provide us images of 20something cyclists flaunting "it" - in every size, shape, ethnicity, type of hair, gender and subculture. I love it because I'm seeing young women proudly embracing what makes them beautiful and unique, which is not something I enjoyed in my 20's."
Take a look at the rest of Karen's article by visiting her article page entitled "Rolling Model vs. Faux Model: A woman of a certain age rides a bike".
I am curious to hear what our readers think - is cycle chic just another fleeting fashion trend, or does it mean something greater for all cyclists? Here to stay or gone tomorrow? Your thoughts in the comments below: