I hypothesize that Cycle Chic’s true message and appeal is at its base, at least in North America, is that it seeks to normalize a gendered code of conduct that, sadly, still holds considerable appeal among both sexes. Its message is that bicycling can be a means of, rather than a barrier to, conforming to a certain set of standards of gender and class stereotypes. Access to these standards is far from universal.
In order to truly break down barriers to bicycling, it’s necessary to understand what those barriers are…Great things can certainly be achieved while wearing high heels, but never solely by doing so.
Elly Blue of Taking the Lane offers an incisive critique of the Cycle Chic ™ movement. While the site was an inspiration for me when I first started bicycling, I have come to feel similarly to Elly on the issue. Our goal with LGRAB is to present the message of everyday, sometimes stylish, bicycling within an atmosphere of inclusiveness and feminism – but sometimes I worry this does not always come through. I will try to keep Elly’s points in mind.
What do you think about the issue?
[Update 5:00 pm – Just to clarify, my thoughts on this apply very specifically to the site that Elly discusses in her article. My concern is not with photos of stylish cyclists – which were inspiring to me as a beginner – but with a mindset that holds up one narrow and exclusionary type of cycling as the only right way. I fully support the general movement of lifestyle cycling – obviously!]