Cycle chic

Elise Pitt | 29 September 2011 | 1 Comment

We’ve caught the bike bug.

Zipping through the streets on a colourful two-wheeled pedal-propelled rocket is just a lot funner than trudging along in a metal tube with a carriage full of stinky people. Not to mention, greener and leaner (how do you really think French women don’t get fat with all that yummy cheese everywhere?).

In Europe, they’re obsessed with bikes. Of the 750,000 people who live in Amsterdam, over 600,000 own bikes! And it’s not just your generic hipster who opts for the two-wheeler. You’re just as likely to see suited-up business people happily cycling to work as you are grandmothers biking to the shop or hippies doing their bit to cut carbon pollution. Some even walk their dog while riding their bike and pregnant women across Europe have been known to ride to the hospital when they are in labour!

And while some might label us “sandal-wearing, muesli-chewing, bike-riding pedestrians” (ahem, Paul Keating), we’re pretty keen for Ride to Work/Uni Day on October 12. Last year over 100,000 people hopped on their bike for the national event. This year it’s set to be even bigger and there will be a stack of free community breakfasts around the country to celebrate.

Check out Copenhagen Cycle Chic, the blog that The Gardian called “the Sartorialist on two wheels”, for some style inspiration. You won’t see any dorky 80s Stackhat helmets here!

Speaking of style, we stumbled across Melbourne-based vintage bike maker Papillionaire, who makes some seriously awesome bikes in fire engine red, 50s pastel blue and suave black (pictured above), complete with leather seats and wicker baskets! They ship around the country for pretty cheap- $35 to Sydney.

Bike culture will be infiltrating Sydney this spring as the Sydney Rides Festival hits town from 8-16 October. There’s a host of free events going down, like the Bi Art Exhibition at Somedays Gallery, which will showcase the work of emerging artists who have used vintage bicycle posters as inspiration for their art, as well as The Sydney Bike Film Festival.

Lead image courtesy of Mr Newton

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