photograph by Henry Sansom
When I first moved to Toronto, I was pretty nervous about riding a bike. Between the traffic and the parked cars and those nasty, sneaky streetcar tracks, it can be sort of scary if you’re not used to it. What can I say – people change. Only five years later I overheard a friend talking about my cycling habits: “If she can’t go on her bike, she doesn’t go,” he laughed.
No parking, no transfers, no walking, no waiting: Bikes are fast, cheap, convenient, and fun as hell. The best part of all is you can get where you’re going in style. Ask any girl who rides in heels and she’ll tell you: It’s as easy as riding in flats and your feet never get sore.
From suit-and-tie office workers on the College St bike lane to the Queen West evening hipster brigade, every year that goes by I notice more and more people embracing bikes as the stylish way to travel. Hell, even Club Monaco is on the bikewagon, using Gazelles in their adverts and even selling them in their stores. Here are some bikespirational links to get you in the mood for the summer cycle.
Someone’s Riding in the State of Denmark
An image from Copenhagen Cycle Chic,
”… the winter cyclist enters the portal in a blaze of silhouette…”
It was my sister who first sent me the link to Copenhagen Cycle Chic. I was in heaven. This is the original (and best) street style blog for cyclists, with a seeming endless supply of cycle-chic photos to amaze and inspire. Twelve months a year, the intrepid Danes ride in their finest – and many with several children attached. But this is only one of many blogs dedicated to stylish bike culture. There’s plenty of motivation to go around:
Check out riders in Toronto at Toronto Bike Chic and Edmonton at Girls on Bikes where Miss Sarah proves that “beauty and cycling do not have to be at odds.” She even provides links to her favourite bike brands, chosen for both substance and style. There are more beautiful pics at Riding Pretty, this time from California. Finally, don’t miss getting a look at What I Saw Riding My Bike Around Today, a New Orleans blog dedicated not only to bikes, but to the joy of experiencing the world from a cyclist’s POV – which is always up close. And all of these bike blogs have lists of their favourite bike blogs, shops and dealers… Fantastic.
Such Stuff as Dreams are Made On
My new/old bike – a summer project
I’ve had two bikes stolen in this city, been hit by a minivan, and taken some falls that have left me with scars. I’ve coasted along the lakeshore in freak autumn snowfalls and rolled away from breakups. People who ride know there is a relationship you develop with a bike that is absolutely intimate, an extension of self. I remember talking to a mechanic about my old CCM Elan. “It’s fast,” I said. “No,” he replied, “you’re fast.” It’s no wonder, then, that bikes inspire documentation.
This photo series by Wes Sumner proves that a bike reflects its owner. It’s worth looking at for good bikes and great style, but Sumner captures more than aesthetic. These images are proof of the connection between the rider and bike.
Kids on Bikes is a Florida band whose goal is to write and record 77 songs about bikes. If the five songs on their Myspace page are any indication, this is going to be a pretty great project. My favourite track, Factory Bike, a sweet ode to beaters: “I don’t want a brand new factory bike/when I could keep the one I have and make it work alright.” Another track, Collision, offers sage advice: “… so try not to ride to close to parked cars.”
And finally – here are two links just for fun:
Check out this offering from Stuff White People Like: “… they love expensive Road Bikes and the accompanying spandex uniforms. This enables them to ride long distances and wear really tight clothes without any social stigmas.”
Or the hilarious Introduction to Dutch Bicycle Culture from Willothewisp outlining cultural differences between cyclists: “The English and Americans wear helmets because in their worlds common sense no longer rules and people must be safe from their own actions at all times.”