For us, this photograph represents a great vision of London Cycle Chic.
Off the bat, a description of the picture doesn’t sound spectacular: ‘a lady has cycled to a cafe in London and has sat down to enjoy her drink’. However, a deeper analysis reveals a much more encouraging shift in London’s cycle scene.
For starters, this lady has cycled in casual clothes, and so her bike is not a piece of sports equipment, but rather a vehicle of general utility. The fact that there is no hi-viz (or other safety equipment) shows that she does not perceive cycling to be a dangerous activity, but rather a normal part of everyday life. Riding a step-over frame also shows that her cycling is not guided by the accepted ‘wisdom’ of chain bike shops, which tend to have disappointingly small ranges of predominantly pink bikes aimed at female riders. Her bike even has a subtle, tyre-driven bottle dynamo to power the lights – she is clearly one discerning cyclist!
In a city where the MAMIL* is king, what a beautifully alternative vision this rider represents!
Maybe it’s the sculpted angles of the mixte frame that appealed to today’s chic cyclist – she described herself as an architect, but what she does seems to go way beyond architecture as we know it! (Check out her website here)
For our purposes, we love her style! Not a thread of hi-viz, just a smile and a classic steel bike. And check out the glorious sunshine in the background – looks like summer’s just around the corner!
With her long coat, practical basket, and natty knitted hat, we simply had to ask this stylish lady for her photograph.
Little did we know, however, that this is no ordinary bike rider. This is Dr. Rachel Aldred, senior lecturer in transport at the University of Westminster. She was attending a London Cycling Campaign rally in support of Cycle-Superhighway 11 – a route that would provide a vital corridor of protected cycling infrastructure from North London to the centre of town.
Consultations for this Superhighway close on March 20th, so if you would like to help out, please give support for the proposals and let Transport for London know what a brilliant idea it is!
Through her media appearances and contributions, Rachel Aldred has done some tremendous work promoting good infrastructure for people on bikes. The fact that she turns out for protests like this one shows that she really practices what she preaches.