A kind reader recently alerted me to a fantastic article by David Colman about dutch bikes and sophisticated bike fashion and after reading it I figured it was high time the Boulevardier bombard the current bike craze with his two cents…
I thought that David Colman really hit on a few points that I resonate with when it comes to biking, mainly how macho bike culture is and how ludicrous most bikers look when riding. In fact, just thinking about it is honestly pissing the fuck out of me. I’m sorry, but there is nothing radical about the way bike culture is performed right now. The fact there is a gender ratio in bike messengers of about 0% women 100% men in Denver just goes to show how inherently fucked the situation is. It seems everywhere you look, women are either being objectified to sell some bike event or product or are being put down through misogynistic language or posturing. It seems that if you have even the smallest iota of punk points or bike-tough cred all of a sudden it is okay to re-enact the type of dominant patriarchal culture that you might find in frat house. Well this mansy says, YA BASTA!
As far as fashion is concerned, I love David Colman’s term kamikaze messenger-wear because it encapsulates the Xtremism and adolescent stasis of the majority of bike fashion that I see every day. It is a perfect example of function over function, where people either look like their an extra from Waterworld or like some sort of spandex space monkey, when they’re simply riding to work. Plus let’s not forget it’s mainly the young white affluent indie-businessmen that are embracing bike culture, centered around the barely functional, overpriced, fixed gear, as their salvation from becoming the yu.pí that they already are.
Of course, bike culture doesn’t need to be like this at all, there is the Derailer Bike Collective which we all love and adore, a collective run by a majority of women and has S.P.I.N. nights Tuesdays from 4-7, a bike repair class open to wimmin and transfolk as a way to counteract the patriarchy of male dominated bike shops. I’ve also heard that Derailer is in the process of revising the way they bring in new members and encourage participation, so if you’ve ever wanted to be a volunteer at a real diy bike repair and recycling shop, now’s the time! Furthermore, I’d like to give a shout out to mansy C-Con, whose job is to bike through the city helping homeless youth come rain or fucking blizzard. Here’s a mansy that is just making it work and never resorts to the type of kamikaze outfit to get the job done, talk about bike tough in Denver? He’s got it in spades. Oh yeah, let’s not forget the hobos riding the undersized salvaged mountain bike the wrong direction, in the gutter, on 14th, the Boulevardier loves you guys, just don’t get hit!
I also truly enjoyed David Colman’s celebration of biking slow, which is my personal modus operandi. This might come as a surprise to some, but I’m not really into the machismo Jackass-wannabe attitude that posits that in order to ride a bike you have to put your life on the line. I happen to enjoy a leisurely ride through the city and tend to stick to the roads that are designated as bike paths or have a bike lane, and you know that’s working just fine for me. Although, I will say that riding slow was definitely part of the reason I was one of the only four people who has sat in jail overnight for Critical Mass in Denver, I just couldn’t get away fast enough! The other factor was a new fancy haircut I had just gotten, but that’s another post… Yes, they arrested your favorite mansy just for riding a bike! That’s some bullshit if you ask me.
As for my take on bike fashion, I’m still in the experimental phase, I’ve been tinkering with some loud, colorful leggings and britches combos, but it’s not really ready for the streets yet. So in the meantime, here’s my revision of the ‘Bike or Die’ v-neck from the Make Total Destroy colection:
more controversy after the jump!