Cruiser chic

It was a gorgeous weekend in Columbus, OH, and I was lucky enough to spend a fair amount of it watching the neighborhood soak in the sun. As I sat on my porch, I saw an impressive number of people on bikes — hipsters on street bikes, middle-aged couples on mountain bikes (and too often, on the sidewalk), the hard-core guy on the recumbent bike… streams of them rode by my porch.

One trendy young woman  passed a couple of times on one of those new-style “easy-boarding” cruiser-types;  they look significantly different than trad or even updated cruisers — it’s not just that there’s no crossbar, but that the frame dips almost to the road between front and back tire.

Biria's easy boarding cruiser

Biria's easy boarding cruiser

I haven’t been able to figure them out, but seeing that girl ride hers in a dress made me realize at least part of the point — they’re wardrobe-friendly for women. (They’re also nicely accessible.) I ride a new cruiser myself, but it doesn’t have that design feature, which does impact what I wear to work in terms of practicality and decency. More importantly, they are actually part of a growing fashion trend: the cute, stylish bike that goes with a cute, stylish outfit… and lifestyle.

Coincidentally, today Tim sent me a link to David Byrne’s review of Jeff Mapes’ “Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists Are Changing American Cities.” In it, DB agrees with Mapes’ claim that growing numbers of women riders will play a major role in attitudes and policies about riding:

I can ride till my legs are sore and it won’t make riding any cooler, but when attractive women are seen sitting upright going about their city business on bikes day and night, the crowds will surely follow.

I caught a glimpse of that shift today — and it brought another ray of sunshine. Because that ride had rhetorical potential.

Now if only she’d take that message off the sidewalk.

A few of my favorite things

David Byrne has just released 4 live tracks to benefit Amnesty International. Check them out below and download them here for a mere $3.99 that all goes to Amnesty.

I know about this because I got another email from DB this morning:

Some time ago Amnesty International asked if I might do “something” for that organization this year- (in previous years I had done one of my tour dates as a benefit for them). Amnesty has such an amazing and consistent track record of speaking out and helping to illuminate courageous people who might otherwise not be heard from so the answer was “yes.”

It was decided to record some songs from my current tour for them to be sold as a download with the proceeds going to Amnesty. As there are no physical costs with digital distribution this means more of the sales percentage actually goes to where it’s supposed to. So, thank you for supporting a great organization and I hope you like these recordings too.

Still loving that name in my inbox…