Sunday, August 22, 2010

why cycle chic is important, part 2

Subtitled: Why cycle chic was (is) important to me.

I've never been known for being extraordinary stylish nor fashionably adventurous. It was a combination of laziness and resentment at being told (by those fuzzy blobs of "our culture" and "the fashion industry") what I should wear. It's part of my character to reject "shoulds" that I'm unable to justify via my own logic. For example: At the end of grade 2, when they gave every single child an award for something, they gave me the "Different Drummer" award. Compliment? For years, I wasn't so sure. Now, at least, it makes sense.

My wardrobe was functional clothing and sensible shoes. When I started working downtown and the standards rose, I headed in the direction of the masculine: dress pants, collared dress shirts, vests, etc. A uniform of sorts. Outside of work, I was almost exclusively a jeans and t-shirts kind of girl. Anything more was tedious and impractical.

Enter cycle chic.

Um, you can look like that? On a bicycle? You can transport yourself around your city, avoiding cars (polluting, overkill for 1 person), walking (takes forever and requires sensible shoes), and public transit (stuffy, crowded, and requires 50 extra layers for use while waiting at bus stops) while looking gorgeous and wearing stunning heels? Really?

It redefined the possible.

1. I can cover half the city on a bicycle wearing heels that I could barely walk in for 15 minutes.
2. I can leave the extra layers at home, stop waiting around, and simply ride whatever speed brings my temperature up to an appropriate level.
3. Now that footwear is "anything goes", I'm not limited to dressing to match my sensible but boring loafers.

To reiterate a point: it was the shoes that sparked the change, really.

As I started to take in day after day of Copenhagen Cycle Chic and Girls and Bicycles and 416 Cycle Style (I think those were my first 3 cycle blogs) my interest in fashion bloomed and my definition widened. It's not about being a slave to the magazines at all, but making an effort -- and a choice -- to present yourself in a way that feels right to you. I'm a very visual person but had been stifling it, and my creativity and personal preferences, too.

It doesn't hurt that dressing up on a bike goes against a common "shouldn't" for many people which automatically feeds into my desire to poke holes in illogical "shoulds" and "shouldn'ts".

So I'm exploring and learning and enjoying and experimenting and growing -- both on and off bicycles -- all thanks to a catchy label and an idea that is spreading and gaining momentum mostly thanks to the sharing and distance-minimizing of the internet.

Cycle Chic, you changed my world. How powerful is that?


  1. Hello Mandy,

    I really appreciate that you read the blog and visit from time to time, the internet really has made it easier to have global neighbors and friends. Cycle chic has been a big part of growth within the past two year as it has fed my need for creativity and passion for the new, old and unexplored.
    I wish you wonderful adventures on and off your bicycle.

    Keep in touch.

  2. Thanks 'Xander, what you say is so true. Somehow people and bicycles (and people ON bicycles and WITH bicycles) just have a visual quality that is inspiring.