Sorry, I know it wasn’t a jawn all like that, but I figure I would just throw that word out there for all my non-native transplants still not in the know. (What’s a jawn? Look it up!) Anyway, some truly excellent bicycle-minded folks organized the first ever Philly Bicycle Expo at the very end of October. There were workshops, seminars, and… a fashion show! Which, unfortunately, I missed because my timing was off and I had a prior engagement. But let’s talk about this!
Anyone who lives within five miles of Center City knows we have cyclists. On my own blog, I’ve written once or twice about cycling style in this city, and folks have commented that it’s fairly niche. In New York City, there can be high fashion ladies riding city cruisers in wedge heels no problem. Not so much here, right? But it’s been established that this town is more laid-back and no-nonsense. I spoke to a few people outside the fashion show before it began about these very things! Shall we get to the interview?
“My name’s Fiona. I’m from Red Hook, Brooklyn. From Fifo Cycle. It’s my company. I make hats and bags.”
Do you have stuff in the fashion show today?
“Yeah, I have a bunch of hats, and a backpack.”
Cool. Is there anything you wanna say like, you should totally buy my bags?
“Yeah! You should totally buy my bags! Well, I just started making these bags and they’re made out of wax canvas and leather, and they have a backgammon board on the inside. It’s hard to explain when I don’t have it with me. I’ll have some at the Armory tomorrow.”
[Cue long aside about the woes of finding good wax canvas for projects.]
What informs your style when you ride?
“What’s comfortable mostly. Shoes are really important. Like shoes that are good for riding in.”
Do you think it’s possible to wear heeled shoes and ride a bike comfortably?
“Uh, if you have the right bike. If you had a ladies’ bike. I saw a girl riding a bike up 1st Avenue the other day in New York and she had these huge, big wooden block heels. They were thishigh. Like real seventies heels? And she had like a Schwinn Caliente, and she had them just hooked in the pedals. She had bent the pedal in so her heel could fit, and she had the heel hooked on the pedal. And she was doing just fine. She was going much faster than I was. So, you know, I’m just saying, you can make it work for you. If you wear heels. I just don’t wear heels.”
Shortly after this question, the refreshments officially opened and I had to stop interviewing cause it’s rude to hold people from their beer, right? At any rate, I really liked Fiona’s cycling style, with its 1920s-something reminiscent lady aviator vibe. Riding a bicycle requires the leg of one’s pants to be slim so it doesn’t get caught in the chain, but that doesn’t mean one’s only choices are skinny jeans, leggings, or those velcro reflector cuffs! And Fiona’s pants demonstrate this perfectly.
Apparently, the fashion show had quite a few hardcore cycling-specific pieces (think spandex). Sara, below, is wearing some for real thermal cycling leggings, but I think they’re nicely integrated (like in a cool 90s Hackers way almost) with the rest of her outfit. I, myself, just invested in a windproof/waterproof jacket for winter that’s more or less an all-black parka. It’s functional and not hideous, but not something I would have purchased if I wasn’t commuting on bike everyday.
That said, how do ya’ll feel about cycling fashion versus cycling function? Do you choose not to ride a bike on days you want to wear certain things? Does it not even matter? Let’s discuss!