Fresh Thinking for a New Seasion - Part II

The screenshot above is from Vogue.com by photographer David Vasiljevic linking to their favorite bicycle assessories for May 2012. Yes, apparently Vogue is aware of national bike month online! Now let's see if we can get into the print issue for May 2013! Better yet, what about Michelle Obama for the cover on a bike, or Cameron Diaz? I'd like to draw your attention to the fact that lead image is from a layout from December 2007. I stand by my theory that fashion has been helping the bike movement in oh-so-many-ways.

I am having so much fun delving into my fashion roots (a passion I'd sort of swept under the carpet for many years now) not only for photo shoots with Allan Crawford, but also for our 9/13 Cycle Chic: Past, Present & Future urban bike fashion show coming up in September duing the Pro Walk/Pro Bike: Pro Place conference and the National Women's Bicycling Summit.

Only three months and so much to do! Eeek! I'm so excited about the creative talent and design lines we're connecting with.  And I don't think things would be flowing so easily if I hadn't been concentrating on letting go of my inner (very vocal!) critic and focusing instead on the positive and amazing things that are coming together for bicycling.

I know there are those who just don't understand why style, fashion and design in general can be such powerful tools to harness for bicycling advocacy. They fear focusing on image and expensive items can make people fear that we are leaving people lout and left behind, unimportant. I understand the fear, and if by using style, fashion and design were for advocacy I meant to sell expensive bicycle products I'd agree. But that isn't what I'm about, I'm about inviting more people to feel welcome at the table. For me style, fashion and design are about utilizing the power of beauty to inspire and engage and include.

What I'm finding, frankly, is that here in the U.S. "cycling" to the every day public means "sport" and exclusivity and competition. I can't tell you how many women I've approached about their own bike stories who shake my hand, and then say in an apologetic tone, "Oh, but I don't think you want to know my story, I'm not a cyclist..." No, you're wrong, you're precisely who I want to hear from. Yes please! If we keep measuring the worth of people involved in the bicycle advocacy movement in terms of how often they ride, or how far, we're never ever going to engage the numbers we need to turn back the tide of sedentary diseases, or to make a truly serious impact on traffic congestion.

At the California Bicycle Summit last year Randy Neufeld of SRAM encouraged us to watch our language, to watch our use of "cyclist." This was also our mandate when Georgia Case and I worked on the Share Our Streets road safety marketing campaign for Bike Long Beach (coming soon I hope!) - to use the term bicyclist, or "person who likes to ride a bike" rather than cyclists.

We may need to ask ourselves if we want to be a passionate and dedicated advocacy click or a broad serious movement that makes a sweeping and deep impact.

Ok, enough soap box and back to the pretty and the market watching. In July's Oprah JC Penny's (now JCP) used a bike for their ad. And in this month's GQ there's a profile on The Sartorialist's Scott Schumann, street style recorder extraordinaire - who rides a bike around to take those captivating images of stylish folk.