Friday, 6 July 2012

I had a dream...

You know that old rule about the two subjects one never brings up in polite conversation?  It’s been amended to three, so be careful.  Nowadays, one should never mention politics, religion, or helmets. Helmets are a political hot potato.  Who knew?

You’ve gotta love all things hot hot, though, and if you like gorgeous like I like gorgeous, check out Cycle Chic.   The photography is so endlessly enchanting that it's easy to lose yourself in it for hours on end, but the best bit is the impact this commuterevolution is having across the globe.  Loads of lovely people ride their daily lives. Masses. Mikael Coleville-Andersen, The Pope of Urban Cycling has already left the world a better place than he found it. Take a look!

Cycle Chic.  Hot. So hot.

Mikael Cycle Chic certainly inspired David Phu, his team at Vancouver Cycle Chic and the the delicious Bicycle Babes, and believe me, they've all got it ALL going on!  So...

As threatened, I showed up at the Cycle Chic social; as usual I was wearing four inch stiletto safety shoes, and as always I travelled by bike.  A few people took photos when we arrived, which was kindov fun, really. People kept saying "Wow!  You really are Cycle Chic!"  And my hopes were raised.  I felt elated.  I have a tendency toward the daft, however, and even though I've seen the Cycle Chic Manifesto at least once or twice, I never actually ‘got it.’
My friends are all smiling and nodding knowingly now.  It’s true. I am a total nerd.  I so get 'not getting it.'

The logical  have figured out by now that when I click on Cycle Chic it's just to look at the pictures.  If only I had paid attention to the words when I visited, I might have noticed the slogan "Style over Speed" which is on every page.  I might have noticed that there isn’t one single photo of a helmet anywhere. I didn't. I might have noticed that the manifesto ends with “I will refrain from wearing and owning any form of cycle wear,” which probably includes helmets

But I didn't.

It makes sense though, doesn't it, because we’re talking Cycle Chic, and you must admit that most helmets make gawdawful fashion accessories.  They rarely scream “great taste” even though they do make a statement loud and clear:

  Me. Dork extraordinaire

"What statement is that?" you ask. Helmets say “I like my brain,” or if you prefer “I am a dork!”  I do like my brain, for what it is, and my friends will assure you that I am a world class dork, so if the helmet fits...  You see, the trouble is there aren’t enough spare brain cells rattling around up there that I can afford to sacrifice a single one of them to a head injury.  If ever I become waaaaaaay smarter, then I can give up helmets, but in the mean time, I just don't dare.

And as Willie the Shake so eloquently put it, “Therein lies the rub.” The Cycle Chic Social turned into a terribly difficult lesson for me. Can I let you in on a secret?  Until I met Mikael, I harbored visions of seeing my photograph on the Cycle Chic site, resplendent in my safety shoes, and revelling in the fame and glory of it all.  It was an impossible dream...

The Manifesto  makes it clear that I am not now, nor could I ever be, a card carrying member of Cycle Chic, and I'm only just now transitioning from shock and denial to gradual acceptance.  (Grieving is a process, you know.) Mikael and I are on opposite sides of the great divide, that line that represents a gulf between those beautiful, popular Cycle Chic cyclists captured by Mr Coleville Andersen and the rest of us –  the dorks in helmets.

My friends must have known it all along, though I stubbornly clung to visions of one day exemplifying Chic-ness. But it was always an impossible dream, helmets aside.

You see, Mr Mikael Cycle Chic founded the slow bicycle movement in an effort to encourage more riders out and onto the roads; I can see how slow riding might be a great way to not hit your head hard on the pavement.  If everyone rides in super safe bike lanes ever so verrrrrrrrry slowly, then I can see a good case for riding without a helmet, for sure. In fact, the first tenant of the manifesto is:  "I choose to cycle chic and, at every opportunity, I will choose Style over Speed."

I just can’t do it.  Sorry. I do choose style (every day, if not always in the best of taste) but I just can’t ride slowly.  As soon as I get on a bike, my inner Wilma takes over, and I have a powerful, driving, irrepressible urge to go as fast as humanly possible. It’s a serious character flaw, for sure, but it is what it is, and that’s just the way it is.  I don't want to race the other riders out there on the roads,  I just want to go very fast, and to be a faster rider tomorrow than I am today, because damned it, it feels sooooooo good. 

Then there's "I will ride with grace, elegance and dignity." Ha!  I WISH!!  Again with the impossible dream. Not only am I a world class nerd, but I have been known to be a little clumsy on occasion, too.  (Dear friends, please don't give yourselves whiplash nodding so violently.) This is what I looked like a few days after the last time I took a tumble off my bike:

nerds are us

Just for the record, even though I wasn't travelling at any real speed at the time of this accident, I went over the handlebars and whiplashed my head into the road.  I was happy to be wearing a helmet that day, because there is no way I could have ridden away from that little mishap the way I did without help up.  Which is NOT to say that everyone is like me. (Blessed be.) Plenty of people (Cycle Chic people) ride safely, slowly, gracefully and with dignity and those people never, ever bounce their heads off the road.

Also for the record:  of course cycling is a very safe thing to do, especially if you are one of the above mentioned graceful, dignified, slow riders who always abides by the next point:

"I will respect the traffic laws." Yikes. As a girl who has been pulled over for speeding on her bike, and who has received a ticket for failure to obey a red light (I did stop first!) perhaps it's best if I stay mum on this one.  

Come to think of it, I am probably one of the reasons motorists don't much like cyclists.  Um.  Oh dear...  (Awkward!) 



Moving along...

This next one's fun:  "I will endeavour to ensure that the total value of my clothes always exceeds that of my bicycle." I like this on two fronts:  one, I have an appreciation for really nice bikes, and two, I love pretty clothes.  Do you think Jimmy Choo would do a shoe with cleats for girls who like to go really fast in safety shoes?

I'd love to lay eyes on the person upstaging their Aurumania Limited Edition Solid Gold bike.  Who am I kidding?  I would love to BE that person!  Not that I'm ostentatious, or anything.  I just love pretty, shiny things....


Despite our vast differences, however, there are a few crucial points Mr Mikael Cycle Chic and I most definitely agree upon.  First, and most importantly, we both have an interest in seeing you, dear reader, on a bike.  Helmet or no, this world will be a much better place when more people park their cars and hop on their bikes.  

Second.  The manifesto states:  "I am aware that my mere presence in said urban landscape will inspire others without me being labelled as a 'bicycle activist'" and that makes me very happy, because I've been riding my life for twenty-five years, and when I see so many cyclists out on the roads, I can feel good that I have contributed toward leaving the world a better place to live in, too.

Third. I am with him 100% in believing that we all share a sacred responsibility when it comes to creating a beautiful world. I love this: "I embrace my responsibility to contribute visually to a more aesthetically pleasing urban landscape."  After all, Keats called it like it is when he penned " Beauty is truth, truth beauty.  That's all ye know in life, and all ye need to know."  

The final, most salient point which we absolutely and most definitely agree on is that cycling is really good for your sex life.  So there you have it, folks:  independent confirmation that if you get on your bike every day, you will have waaaaaay more sex.  Not that you will need any kind of verification once you are committed to life in the bike lane.  

Don't believe me?  Join us and see...  :)

1 comment:

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