Sunday, August 9, 2009

What would make bikes more fashionable?

American cycling fashions can be truly hard on the eyes. Yes, bright clothes have an obvious safety advantage. But if cycling becomes more popular we're going to have even MORE middle aged men in tights and dayglo spandex exposing themselves to the public. Wise mothers will learn to shield their children's eyes.

In Holland where more than half the population bikes to work, people wear normal clothes. Americans tend to have special uniforms for every activity: you don't just go fishing, you put on fishing gear. You have customized shoes for walking, running, cycling and relaxing. And the Gods of consumerism smile.

I realize you've got a lot invested in your 15 pound carbon fiber racing bike. But look, you're not Lance Armstrong.* Put aside your dreams of efficiency and speed for a moment and think of how you appear to others. Would you wear day glo tights to a business meeting...a date...a wedding? Consider the bike as a fashion accessory. It might be a bit slower in crosstown traffic but every head will turn.

Fashionable cycling clothes could change the image of our sport overnight and make cycling immensely more popular. The two fashion-driven designs that follow are promising steps in the right direction.

Here's a helmet that looks like (is?) a hat, not a ray gun.

Tip of the helmet to Kevin Hoover and Susanna Linqvist for these links.

* unless you actually are, in which case, Hi