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Questions & Answers

I’ve received quite a number of questions and quizzical looks since setting up this website, so I thought I would answer some of those here.

Q: What the heck is Cycle Chic?

A: It all started with Copenhagen Cycle Chic – a blog that was set up by a Danish photographer, Mikael Colville-Andersen, who liked taking pictures of Danes on bikes. In particular, fashionable Danes who choose style over speed.  Linen over Lycra.  Three gears over twenty-one.  The internet being the way it is, other people started up their own Cycle Chic sites all over the world and hey presto, it’s an international community.

Later, Mikael set up another blog, called Copenhagenize, to celebrate Copenhagen’s evolution into a very cycle-friendly city and to help other cities in their quest to become more cycle-friendly.  This site is probably the most active in terms of promoting cycling as a legitimate transport option and getting town planners to incorporate cycle-friendly designs.

Then he founded the Slow Bicycle Movement, and set up a blog to go with it.  This is about celebrating cycling as a way to get around, simply a mode of transport and a viable alternative to the car.  A little corner of the internet for those of us who love to get around on a bike rather than take a car.

Q:  What kind of bike do you ride?

A:  When I set this blog up in late 2010 I didn’t have a bike.  I now have an Electra Amsterdam 8 speed.  I went to Copenhagen on a travel writing assignment as a blogger and a photographer for THAI Airways in 2010.  What can I say?  I fell in love with those gorgeous Europeans on their gorgeous bikes.  I didn’t have a bike for a very long time because I didn’t see myself as a mountain bike rider or a racing bike rider, so I never make the investment.  Seeing those beautiful bikes in Copenhagen was an epiphany for me – that’s the kind of bike for me, that’s the kind of cycling for me.  I’m only sorry it took me this long to discover it. Still… better late than never, right?

Q:  This tweet was received in early March 2011:

This one came right after it:

And then there was this one:

A:   I don’t think a community-driven organisation like this one derives its credibility from having a leader.  The strength of this community all over the world doesn’t even come from Mikael Colville-Andersen, it comes from the combined passions of thousands of cyclists.  I certainly don’t see myself as running a movement, I’m just the girl who set up the blog.

It’s true, many Canberra cyclists have an arduous commute into work and for them the thought of frocking up in a long skirt and pushing a three-speed up a hill is plainly ridiculous.  Obviously you need to exercise your judgement in choosing a bike and appropriate clothing for your circumstances, and there are plenty of websites to advise you on these matters.  If, however, you do have a more manageable commute into work, or you just want to amble along a bike path on Sunday morning with a basket full of flowers and fresh bread, this is the website for you.

Q:  Can anybody cycle chic?

A:  Cycle Chic is for anyone and everyone who loves to ride for the pure joy of it.  Yes, it is particularly for those of us who like those old-style European bikes, who choose to wear our regular clothes when we go out riding, who love putting flowers in baskets and bells on the handlebars, who can count the number of gears they have on one hand.  If you are more of a mountain-biker or a road-racer then there are manyclubs and associations that you can sign up with.  But if you are just looking to join some new friends on a leisurely ride around the lake, followed by a cup of tea or an iced chocolate, then please come along!

Q:  What about helmets?

A:  In line with a request from Mikael at Copenhagen Cycle Chic, this site will endeavour to photograph cyclists sans helmets.  So, if you see a picture here of a cyclist and you’re wondering where their helmet is, the answer is “it’s out of the shot.”  I might be holding it, it might be in their basket under the baguette, or it might be on the ground beside me as I take the picture.  Helmets are required by law to be worn whilst riding in the Australian Capital Territory.  The law doesn’t say you must be wearing a helmet whilst standing beside a stationary bike, posing for a photograph.