Friday, April 23, 2010

Bikes in the news

So there was a slightly patronizing snippet in the NY Times about a "women's bike shop"
Which was really unfortunate, because it looks like a nice shop and seems like it carries a lot of good solid transportation bikes.  It's too bad that the article trivializes it as a place for people who want designer bikes to go with their designer shoes.  No man would ever be interested in a practical and good looking way to cover short distances in a dense city environment without a special outfit-  how silly and trivial!  And they come in pink! grrrr.

I found this article about Chinese resistance to Fixie culture much more interesting.  Although I thought the article was too hung up on whether the chinese appreciate irony or not,  I thought it opened an interesting window into bike culture in a country where there is no bike culture- just bikes and bike riders.   I'm not sure how to unpack the semi-ironic importation of Flying pigeons to the US in light of this story..


  1. Annoying article. The idea that I "wouldn't consider lycra" because of an attachment to my "Laboutins" is tiresome. It assumes that (1) lycra is the norm, so much so that riding a bicycle without it is subversive, and (2)if I dislike lycra, then I must necessarily be a woman who demands expensive designer clothing and impractical footwear. Keep writing those articles from the pov of male road cyclists, they are super useful and informative.

  2. Well, Mary Billard cannot even spell acoutrements, so who cares what she thinks about anything? She is a writer and should learn to spell before writing about bicycle shops and/or fashion.

  3. Actually, the article is written from the IMAGINED stereotype of the so-called male "Spandex Mafia." That is a small minority of those that ride bikes. We cyclists may be few, but we are varied!

  4. Well, that was a missed opportunity. Instead of being a positive and supportive article on the growing number of fashionable women on bikes, this was an empty puff piece that is rather patronizing to those women who would shop at those stores. Heck, I'm a male rider and I was put off by the tone of the article.

  5. The shop is serious and thoughtful. My husband and I had a great experience there. The importers were in town (and they were awesome) and we were all remarking about how the tone of the shop is different from other shops that sell utility bikes in NYC in that they actually know about what they are selling. They also sell plenty of men's frames, though their focus is on easy transport, which means a lot of step-throughs. Just entirely stupid all around. I rode a Retrovelo Paula there and they let me take it all over the neighborhood and didn't make me put on a helmet.

    What is also lame about that article is that the emphasis placed on the designery feel might keep people who need a better city bike away from the shop when in fact there is actually nothing really very intimidating about the place at all. Just beautiful bikes. Not like they are selling Balenciaga or Dries along with bicycles (though for me personally that would be just fine :) or marketing some "lifestyle." Anyway. Stupid and patronizing yes. But I hope it won't prevent people from entering a place where they might fight something really useful and beautiful, too.

    great blog, btw -- I think this is my first comment.