Nothing touches that first bike ride of the summer. The air has finally warmed, the sun is shining, and it’s time once again to pump up those tires and hit the road. When all the cyclists take to the city streets for those few hot months, it often seems as though a colourful parade has been set into motion. The bikes are gleaming, the bells are chiming, and the fashion is impeccable.
Cycle Style is a book dedicated to capturing the beauty of people paired with bikes, their outfits almost always complementing their mode of transportation. These full-page portraits were shot exclusively in London, a decision based on author Horst A. Freidrichs’s observation that “Many individuals within London cycling culture display an originality in style and dress that places the capital at the head of cycling style, worldwide.” While I’m not sure I agree wholeheartedly with this statement (Toronto could give ‘em a run for their money!), it’s impossible to deny the subjects of these photos are a spectacular bunch.
Subjects range from couples to kids and mountain bikes to sleek fixies. Classically dapper London folk straddle their seats in tweed caps and argyle socks, while handsome hipsters in button-down shirts lean coolly to the side of their two-wheeled companions. The baskets of a few riders’ cruiser bikes hold peonies, while others appear to be empty for the time being. With the turn of each page, new accessories and add-ons are revealed, from bells to bottles of wine in specially constructed holders. The bikes are painted and decorated, accessorized and improved until each bike is as original and unique as its owner. One adorable rider even seems to have matched her outfit perfectly to the colours on her ride: her red dress perched delicately atop her shiny red bike, with the tiny turquoise triangle pattern tying in with the blue handlebar wrap. Black tights and a flimsy hair bow pull the tires and pedals into the look, and an adorable blond mushroom cut tops it all off.
Filled with pictures save for a page or two of credits, acknowledgements and a short foreword, this book is clearly created by a photographer. These sartorial cyclists will have you oiling your chain and polishing your frame within moments of closing the last page.
photography // Brianne Burnell