Cycle Chic - History


Cycle Chic is a modern phrase to describe something that has existed since the invention of the bicycle in the 1880s - regular citizens on bicycles. Cycling was fashionable from the late 1880s and through the 1940s. At the end of the 19th century, the height of cycle chic was to play polo on bicycles, using long-handled tennis rackets and rubber balls. Women's wear (such as corsets and petticoats) was impractical for cycling and so rational dress was required. Divided skirts, bloomers and knickerbockers were tried as fashionable women attempted to resolve the matter without provoking hostility, ridicule or violence. More recently, in the 1980s bicycle messengers became a common sight on the streets of major cities, and the messengers' mix of street fashion and cycling gear was seen as an alternative fashion statement.

Around the time that Mikael Colville-Andersen coined the phrase Cycle Chic, the bicycle had largely disappeared from the public consciousness as a transport option in cities. The first photo taken by Mikael Colville-Andersen in 2006, which led to the Copenhagen Cycle Chic blog and the global trend has been referred to as "The Photo That Launched a Million Bicycles". The current bicycle boom in transportation and fashion has its roots in this one photo. IBM's Smarter Planet have documented the birth and growth of the Cycle Chic trend using advanced analytic software - from its origins in Copenhagen through 2012.

Today cycle chic is associated with the American phrase utility cycling, people cycling to get around, not just for exercise or at sporting events. It is particularly associated with wearing everyday clothes with an emphasis on stylish dressing. Cycle chic is especially prominent in cities with many bicycle-commuters such as Amsterdam and Copenhagen but the number of Cycle Chic blogs around the world indicates that the interest is global in nature.

Official and unofficial blogs encourage cyclists to dress up, as a way of raising the profile of cycling and to encourage others to feel they can cycle without helmets and the specialist clothing associated with sports cycling. Articles in the media promote fashionable cycling by publishing photographs of celebrities such as Agyness Deyn riding bikes.

Read more about this topic:  Cycle Chic

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