Posted by: ham8cheese | November 12, 2009

cycle chic, cycle geek

I aspire to cycle chic (Wikipedia definition: “the culture of cycling in fashionable clothes”), but there are a couple of speedbumps along my personal road to bicycle runway.

Perhaps the most prominent of these hiccups is that, well, I’m just not that stylin’ to begin with, bicycle or not. That is, unless you count a lumpen-Dansko clog-wearing crunchy public interest advocate aesthetic in your definition of stylish.

Yes, Dansko clogs (could I really be a public interest advocate without them??) – which I find just don’t cut it on a bicycle due to their clunky stiffness (although for non-bicycling activities, I am smitten). Alas, my bicycling habit has forced me to partake in some shoe shopping . . . I’ve had to find new footwear that flex a bit and won’t fall off my feet but meet a minimum level of cuteness for the workday (given that I am way too lazy to lug an extra pair of shoes for regular wear). Enter the Born Kelsey, a ballet flat with a giant strap that is super comfy. They’re chic-ish, I think, and in any event, they get the job done.

Back to the hiccups . . . a second prominent hiccup standing between me and my cycle chic fashion destiny is that I’m just too darn safety conscious. There’s my bike helmet (made by Special Ed Specialized), of course, which I basically don’t leave home (on a bike) without. (Anyone who bike-commutes to work on Market St. without a helmet is, well, unwise at best, suicidal at worst.) It’s hard to look super chic, long locks a-flowing, when your locks are squashed under a piece of blocky plastic headgear. And, today Mr. Spoke surprised me with my very own blindingly bright blast-from-the-80’s fluorescent green bike jacket from Sports Basement. This way, cars will know to stay the &*#% away from me on commute days. (And, since Mr. Spoke has one of his own, we can look like a totally puke-on-your-shoe matchy-matchy safety-conscious bicycle geek couple.) Laugh all you want, but I love my new jacket. To round out my cycle-geek outfit, I’ve also got some Giro bike gloves (super thin and breathable – love ’em).

(While we’re on the subject of bicycle-related recession-prevention program activities (because really, what’s the point of getting into a new sport if you can’t spend all your time shopping for new gear?), I have also become the proud new owner of a Terry Liberator X bicycle saddle (jury’s still out, ladies), bright yellow F’izik handlebar tape (to pimp my ride, of course), and some new brake pads to replace the somewhat janky ones on my otherwise awesome citrus-hued bike.)

In sum, it looks like my cycle geekery leaves me highly unlikely to have my photo snapped for Velo Vogue any time soon. The only saving grace is that I’m still holding out on spandex (notwithstanding the fact that a co-worker’s wife told me – in hushed tones – that her bike shorts changed her life). And maybe I too can venture into cycle chicness on leisurely weekend rides when I can leave my bike-commute-warrior outfit at home. Speaking of which, there’s a “Style Ride” this weekend starting at Push Bike in the Mission. Will I see you there??

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