Monday, June 2

When bikes become fashion and status symbols

Triobike and HeelsTriobike and Heels
Originally uploaded by [Zakkaliciousness]

Been having some conversations on the evolution of bike culture.

Here in the U.S. in all but the most cutting edge of markets like Portland, NY, and a few other college towns they are but an item of either strictly recreation or a symbol of minimal function, i.e. commuting.

Ironically though while the bicycle industry here in the U.S. has been driven by technology bicycle culture will never change until we move beyond the "functional" debate.

As a friend of mine says, "Style over Speed".

It may seem counter intuitive but bikes and bike culture must transcend the argument of function, technology or speed and move into art, fashion and style in order to catch on in a more meaningful way.

For me this picture of a stylish, young twenty or thirty something mother riding an high end cargo / baby bike in high heals is the absolute epitome of the difference between the way Dutch bicycle culture has transcended the functional debate.

I guess this is what is meant by designers when they say "fashion is the aspiration of technology".

Need further evidence? Look no further then the iPod/ iPhone. It's only when technology stops being a gadget and starts being fashionable or an accessory that it becomes a seemless part of everyday mass culture.

To put it another way. If the best indicator of a healthy startup is a full parking lot on the weekend, then the best indicator of a healthy bike culture are moms on bikes. Bonus points for moms wearing non-bike specific / fashionable cloathing (no lycra), running errands (groceries?), and above all riding with the kids (Is biking safe in their area?).

Can big box go bike friendly? - Ikea, Denmark and biking

This has to be one of the most curious images I've seen lately. Ikea is pretty much the epitome of big box retail, car culture, and urban sprawl, and yet in Denmark they're experimenting with loaner bicycles and trailers.

Apparently in Copenhagen Ikea marketing research has realized 20% of store visitors visit Ikea via bike even though Copenhagen's two Ikea stores are 10km and 20km from the city center.

I can only imagine people bike commuting to the Ikea in Chicago, especially with a trailer. In fact I'd be suprised if you can even aproach an Ikea on bicycle with all the freeways. This just further illustrates the strange and wonderful differences in Danish culture. I believe the statistic is over 60% of Copenhagener's bicycle commute.

More Info: - The Copenhagen Bike Culture Blog: IKEA Idea With Velorbis Bikes

P.S. I strongly recommend subscribing to the Lately it's been one of my favorite blogs on bike culture.