Cycle Chic; the book. One copy up for grabs!

It's difficult to believe that Copenhagen Cycle Chic arrived on our computer screens just 6 years ago.  The effect was nothing short of startling for people all around the world - including myself - in helping to illuminate the idea that cycling had and could be the domain of people on bikes in everyday and ordinary attire.  The idea caught on and spawned a myriad of copycat blogs around the world showing "citizen cyclists" the globe over looking good getting about on two wheels.  Now, the founder and author of that first blog, Mikael Colville-Andersen, has a new book out documenting the meteoric rise of the return of the bicycle to our streets.



Cycle Chic is published by Thames and Hudson and features hundreds of pages of beautiful colour street photographs.  Here are the girls of Copenhagen on their beautiful bicycles cruising the Danish streets in style.  There are spreads dedicated to dapper looking gents riding in suits.  There are Mums on bikes, families on bikes, with tiny little kids on bikes.  Summer cyclists, cyclists in the snow, old cyclists and some very very young cyclists.  And this, of course, has always been the point of "cycle chic" - it's not so much about the fashion or the good looks and rather more the fact that riding a bike should not be a barrier to anyone and all corners of society are capable, so long as conditions are right.

Even Colville-Andersen himself makes an appearance with his kids in a couple of Hitchcock-style cameos - a pretty cool souvenir for when his children are a little older.



London does a good job of trying to keep up with the times and here at ibikelondon we've always tried to show our cyclists off at their best.  We even made an intoxicated late night appearance on the Copenhagen Cycle Chic blog last year - a humble highlight of our trip exploring the best of cycling culture that the Danish capital has to offer.

Unlike a copy of Vogue or GQ I didn't finish reading Cycle Chic full of feelings of undermined self-worth, rather I felt inspired and empowered to ride my bike more, to get out there and do my own thing, and to make sure I had a damn good time in the process.  It must be all that fresh, sunny Scandinavian joi de vivre - it is infectious and Cycle Chic has captured it perfectly.  I recommend!



Cycle Chic - the book of Copenhagen Cycle Chic is available at your local bookseller or on Amazon now, priced at £14.95.  Thanks to those lovely people at Thames and Hudson books we have a fabulous review copy of Cycle Chic to give away to one lucky reader.  Just tell us in the comments, below, what "cycling chic" means to you, and a winner will be drawn from a (dapper) hat on Friday.  Good luck and safe cycling in style!

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23 comments:

amoeba said...

Cycling chic, means many things to me. It means feeling good riding a bicycle, being respected as a human-being, looking good on a bicycle, being fit and healthy, being environmentally conscious, being polite and considerate to others, enjoying the weather in all its moods and being pensive in so many ways.

congokid said...

It's all very well cycling chicly when it's warm and sunny as it seems in the photos.

How does one manage it when it's tipping it down like this morning? I bet those girls in their floaty dresses will be heading straight for their nearest bus stop or tube station (albeit wearing those highly practical items of rainwear, tiny ballet pumps) while the power dressed blokes will be jumping into their sporty cars or taxis.

I really don't want my bespoke suits, silk ties and polished brogues soaked in a downpour, so what's the way forward for me?

Cycle shops these days don't really have a clue what the chic cyclist really needs.

Dapper Dan said...

Cycle Chic to me I think is summed up beautifully by Colville-Andersen himself. 'Citizen cyclist'. When I rode in hi-vis on a racing bike, in lycra at full pelt everywhere - I felt like a warrior, a hot, sweaty warrior. Since changing to a Dutch bike, riding round the streets of Bristol, I've become a citizen again. Pedestrians don't reel away from me in horror. Cars give me space because I'm a bigger presence. Mikael has changed my life!

ibikelondon said...

Some great responses so far! It's interesting to see how cycling chic means different things to different people.

@congokid If there's one thing that cycle chic taught me it is that riding a bike is supposed to be a decent means of getting about, not an endurance test, and that it is okay to *not* ride a bike and just hop on the train instead sometimes. It took me a long time to work that one out. That said, you don't need to wear brogues to look cool. When it was snowing I walked about in my boots, and I rode my bike in my boots as well. It's all good, just so long as it got me from A to B. If you don't want to get your suit and tie wet you buy a coat. Much like when you are walking really. :O)

Edward said...

It is the essence of a healthy and successful cycling culture. Walk down any shopping precinct in the UK, Australia, the US, etc. See how the people are dressed? Men, women and children of all ages. If you see the same thing but on bicycles, that's cycle chic and you know you have got it right.

Clifford Harris said...

Cycling chis is the look of joy on our faces knowing that we will arrive at our destination before anyone else on the road. Cycling chic is feeling our hearts race under our fluoro as we time our breathing between bus exhausts and rubbish trucks. Cycling chic is knowing that we are neither contributing to the pollution of or cities nor contributing to the viscious political fuel cycle and nothing gets more chic than that.

Anidel said...

Cycling chic means the city if at last fit for cycling.
The more chic people cycle, the more common it is, in their culture, to cycle.
The more common it is, the more people cycle, the less lycra we see, the more people believe it is safe.

Lovely chic loop.

Adam said...

...means looking the way I want to be seen when cycling and not having to be a yellow monster!

César said...

Cycle Chic means going back to being a kid remaining an adult, having fun while being practical, being physically active being elegant, moving from A to B being ecological, and all this while bein CHIC!

And since I am Chic... I want this book! ;_)

César
32 Spokes MTB Mexico

matt_fig21b said...

Cycle Chic means something close to my heart - a realistic vision of mass participation in cycling.

I am an art director and last year I worked on a brief for British Cycling & Sky about cycling and I tried to make the idea of cycle chic the centre point of the campaign. Bikes as a part of your everyday life enhancing your own life stlye. The very opposite of lycra clad speedsters, which lets face it, is always going to be a minority way of cycling.

Please have a look at the project on my portfolio URL, it's labeled British Cycling in the left column:

http://www.fig21b.com

Matt in Tacoma said...

It simply means that your personal style shouldn't be compromised by your mode of transportation - the bicycle.

Rhode Long said...

Cycle Chic; Dressing for the destination (not the journey)

Henz said...

Cycle Chic: Wearing what you would wear off the bike, on the bike.

Andrew said...

Cycle chic is about developing your own style on two wheels. It's about what you wear, what you ride, where you ride and how you ride. It's about letting your personality come through and sticking two fingers up and anyone who tells you what's "right" or "cool"

canberracanuck said...

Mikael's movement, to me, is about letting go of the aggression that has come to permeate our transport networks. It's about stopping to smell the roses, if you want to; reaching out of the shell that so many use to shut out other travellers and experiencing the places you pass through as you move gently from one location to another. It's about sharing your good karma with those you meet along the way! Cycle Chic is about being human.

Duncan said...

It has to be said, Cycle Chic seems to involve a certain amount of sexist ogling of women cyclists, captured unawares with a telephoto lens by the look of things.

Seeta said...

always looking yourself no matter what the weather. Cycle chic is dressing as you are to get from A to B, no lycra-clad legs just what you would have normally in your cupboard!

Seeta

Jemma said...

Cycle chic is looking super cool whilst on two wheels. Ways in which to achieve this look is to ditch the hi-vis, lycra bib or other fluorescent paraphernalia which makes you look rather scary and don some stylish clothes you would wear on a date/to a party/ or meeting friends. Everybody looks better on a bicycle.

tandaylor said...

I think cycle chic is all about riding in what you want to arrive wearing. Taking it easy - like you're riding from a bistro breakfast meeting to a relaxing lunch. And handlebars are all important - sit up and look at the world go by.

Tim Beadle said...

Cycle Chic is choosing not to engage in the English speaking world's hi-viz arms race, and re-discovering the bike as a simple, joyful mode of transport.

ibikelondon said...

Congratulations to @matt_fig21b whose name was picked out of a hat at midday today - a copy of the book is on its way to you! Thank you to everyone for your entries and for sharing what cycling chic means to you. Happy riding!

congokid said...

@ibikelondon

"riding a bike is supposed to be a decent means of getting about, not an endurance test, and that it is okay to *not* ride a bike and just hop on the train instead"


Fair enough - but taking a bus to work, as I had to do last week while my bike was being serviced, IS an endurance test whatever the weather and one I'd rather not waste time and money on. As for taking the tube...

Anyway, back to normal today! I like being chic on my bike around town, but for the regular work commute I think I'll save the suit.

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