In addition to cheese, trains and museums, Europeans tend to look down on another aspect of North American life: The way we dress on a bike.
This one from the Netherlands.
See the difference? I’m not judging their fashion choices (good lord, have you see my wardrobe?). I’m pointing out how North Americans tend to gear up for athletics, while Europeans gear up for the cafe.
But as our cities grow more bike friendly, I’m seeing more and more casual cyclists who are following the mantra of former Calgarian Mikael Colville-Andersen of Copenhagenize and dressing for the destination, rather than the journey.
Still,the default North American bicycle commuter isn’t exactly haute couture. Rather, what I’m seeing is more people finding a middle ground between full MAMIL diaper shorts and Coachella street style. Let’s call it transitional cyclist casual.
Case in point.
See what I mean? She is still rocking that quick-dry reflective MEC jacket that is nearly de rigueur for commuter cyclists in my neighbourhood, but has at least made some accommodation to fashion on the lower half. She could walk into a downtown coffee shop, strip that jacket and not feel at all out of place.
A step further. This dude could park his bike, eat dinner, go for a drink at the pub and not stand out, even though he’s still made a few accommodations for the bike, including the backpack and the helmet.
This isn’t about anyone’s sense of style, or lack thereof , I’m just pointing out that stylistic choices among the commuter set seem to be changing, in so far that style does seem to be emerging as an actual choice.
Perhaps this is the transition period, a unique North American interpretation that strives for the dress-for-the-destination aspiration, while remaining rooted in the realities of bike transportation in cities that don’t make it very easy to ride a bike for transportation.
So there you go: North American Transitional Cycling Couture.
Until we see more people like this. From Calgary, not Copenhagen. Seriously.
Also published on Medium.