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At what point is technical clothing 'bad'?

(119 posts)
  • Started 8 years ago by Wilmington's Cow
  • Latest reply from gembo

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  1. crowriver
    Member

    Ah but he has answers for that argument, check out the comments section of that blog post. You, the rural or outer suburban commuters, are Mensheviks: the city centre urbanites and inner suburban commuters are the Bolsheviks. Bolsheviks can tell Mensheviks what to do, not the other way around. Except of course, even in Copenhagen it is actually the car drivers who are the Bolsheviks.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  2. Nelly
    Member

    Have not read the whole thread, but I sympathise with those who dont have space/facilities at their place of work - they may have to wear workwear on the bike.

    Or they may prefer it? Who knows, its up to them.

    Equally its up to me if I want to wear (mostly) cycle specific gear. I would also say that what I wear changes - my commuting gear / road biking gear / MTB gear has common elements, but changes based on what I am doing.

    When I returned to the bike a few years ago, I also wore a shell ski jacket a few times until I decided to get some proper cycling clothes - ski jacket did not have a long enough back, and flopped down at the front if you were on drops - because it wasnt designed as a cycle jacket.

    Its been said many times but, clever marketing aside, much of cycle specific clothing is actually useful for cycling, wicks sweat away, and doesnt show the grime - I wouldnt like to see me on my knees, fixing a puncture in my suit pre meeting in the office......

    Posted 8 years ago #
  3. Dave
    Member

    I find this stuff quite interesting because it's an in-group versus an in-group - both having evolved separately, in finest Darwinian fashion, by virtue of being separated on islands.

    There's no easy way to reconcile the two viewpoints precisely because they are both predicated on being "in". In fact, us encountering European perspectives is just as difficult as trying to get the fat executive in their chelsea tractor to consider riding a bike in the first place - it's a mental leap that people can't make. (I include myself there).

    You can see that in the way that cyclists in the UK eventually fall back to "yes, well, that's in foreign parts, it ain't like that RAHND HERE" while the Copenhagenites are busy saying "in what way do these people riding ten miles each way think we're addressing them? Mad dogs and englishmenchen" etc.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  4. Min
    Member

    "while the Copenhagenites are busy saying "in what way do these people riding ten miles each way think we're addressing them? Mad dogs and englishmenchen" etc. "

    In the way that the Copenhagenize article specifically addresses Kaputnik who has in no way tried to tell anyone else what to wear.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  5. crowriver
    Member

    Mr. Copenhagenize has previous form on this.

    "When a snowstorm hits or the temperature falls, this is what I wear. I ski and snowboard, so I own a ski jacket. I have ski gloves. I have winter boots. I supplement these things with a scarf and a flat cap. This is the same clothing I take when I drive an hour and half to ski/snowboard in Sweden or when I head to the Alps. This is the same clothing I'd wear if I went to Minneapolis or Montréal in the winter. On or off a bike.

    Most people have clothes like this. It is enough. All they need is a bike. Spread the word."

    As one wry commenter noted back in 2008: "Why not wear normal clothing for skiing also?"

    Sorry to bring this up, but there is a bit of a class thing going on here. It is acceptable from a fashion standpoint to wear ski clothing because it is associated with things like going to Alpine resorts, traditionally the preserve of the wealthy (hence the fashion in the early 1960s for ski wear influenced fashion - see James Bond movies passim). It's not acceptable from a fashion standpoint to wear cycle clothing because of its association with cycle messengers*: who are just the servants of the wealthy, afterall. Then there are the stereotypes (fostered by car drivers) such as MAMILs.

    * - the irony of 'messenger chic', fixies, etc. appealing to young people over the past decade or so is not lost on me. Maybe Copenhagen Cycle Chic is not as 'hip' as it thinks...

    Posted 8 years ago #
  6. PS
    Member

    Or perhaps a cultural thing - I may be relying on stereotypes here (imagine!), but I would have thought that Scandanavians are much more likely to have ski gear in their wardrobe than the average British punter. Maybe they view ski clothes as a normal wardrobe item?

    Posted 8 years ago #
  7. Min
    Member

    Nope, the skiiing gear in question is definately bought specifically for the wearer to enjoy themselves while skiing for sport. Not for getting from A to B. Such gear is completely unnecessary and is preventing anyone else from ever skiing as an easy way to get around in winter.

    Disgusting.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  8. Nelly
    Member

    I used to think his site was decent, but the articles noted seem, I dunno, bitter?

    He also did one earlier this year - Winter cycling Copenhagen - making references to 'no studded tyres, wouldnt know where to buy them', and suggesting that the locals are 'trained to cycle in any weather'.

    Fine, but without exception, each photo is on a flat as a pancake vista, and they all have huge fat tyres - no doubt depressurised from summer levels?

    I would like to see how they operated with 7 hills chucked in the mix.

    His site is starting to sound uber-smug

    Posted 8 years ago #
  9. Instography
    Member

    If we sat at a selection of roadsides taking more or less random photos of cyclists passing, we might conclude that the wearing of at least some elements of cycling specific clothing is more common than could be explained by seeing it as something done by 'hobby' cyclists (which I guess means people who cycle for more than just transport i.e. for fun, sport, etc). (Unless your argument becomes completely self-referential and you define 'hobby' cyclists by their clothes.)

    But you would also see enough people mostly in everyday clothes to think that the existence of 'hobby' cyclists doesn't deter 'citizen' cyclists. If the presence of people in cycle specific clothing were such an effective deterrent, hobbyists would vastly outnumber citizens yet they don't.

    You'd see enough people in mixed clothing to think that generally people are sensibly adapting what they wear to reflect the needs of their journey. If their journey is long and/or done quickly, they will be mostly in cycle-specific clothing. If their journey is short and/or slow, they will mostly be in civvies, with a wide range in-between.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  10. crowriver
    Member

    More from that blog, quite recent too. Quotes taken out of context but presented in the right order:

    "Sorry, I get carried away, back to the rational choice, few make it, not unique to motorists, that’s just who we are. We believe we make rational choices, after careful deliberations, well in most cases we don't, and that’s fine, as long as we don't pretend and rationalize after the fact."

    "And then there is one more thing we can do, because apart from 5% fact, analysis and intelligence, we base our choices on the stories we tell, the symbols we use to construct our identity, the value negotiation we constantly have with our surroundings."

    "We need to reemphasize the importance of well functioning personal networks, close knit communities, our families our health, rather than obsessing with quick fixes & instant gratification, material prestige, addiction to fossil fuels, economic growth and abundant fatty, sweet and meat foods."

    Crikey, he sounds like one of those 'environmentalists' or 'cyclists' his colleague Mikael was chastising.....just 10 days earlier! What? We can't don our snowboarding gear, our global brand running shoes, then drive our 4x4s to Mickey D's for a triple gristle burger on the way to our workplaces in the investment bank now? You want everyone to be just like you, a carrot munching, low fat milk quaffing, cargo bike riding loser? Almost as bad as those lycra clad louts that clog up the country lanes and spoil the view...

    Posted 8 years ago #
  11. gembo
    Member

    I had my universal trousers on today [black chinos from M&S] but my biblongs underneath. It was cold. But on way back up the hill when I sweat for UK, I left chinos in office. I have no problem with real clothes, lycra clothes or a combo when on bikes. I find this whole debate a non-debate, similar to another one about head gear. Copenhagen getting all angsty about a non-issue. You don't need lycra to cycle but I do not think lycra puts people off cycling. Traffic is what concerns people when they start out. Just gave a colleague off road directions from centre of town to The Calders. She will cycle it next Monday.

    People spend money unnecessarily on kit but Decathlon is so cheap and not everything made in China.

    Sometimes I take a notion to walk to Allan Ramsay Hotel in Carlops on a fine summer's day. I do it in chinos and white cotton shirt. Gets sweaty but it dries. In winter I would wear winter gear made of polyester/nylon fabrics

    Posted 8 years ago #
  12. Nelly
    Member

    Walk? To Carlops? In the Summer? Without wearing Tweed and a Deerstalker?

    What are you thinking of - you must be chastised immediately for deciding all by yourself what to wear.

    You will never become a 'Citizen Pedestrian' Gembo......

    Posted 8 years ago #
  13. Min
    Member

    "You'd see enough people in mixed clothing to think that generally people are sensibly adapting what they wear to reflect the needs of their journey."

    Well those people are wrong. There is no room for sensible adaptation. It is one size fits all or nothing. It is the same with skiing. If people just skied more slowly or for shorter distances they would not need ski-specific clothing.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  14. chdot
    Admin

    "If we sat at a selection of roadsides taking more or less random photos of cyclists passing, we might conclude that..."

    Anth and I (and others) have done this in a random fashion occasionally.

    Might be an idea to formalise this somewhere like Lothian Road one day a week for a couple of months.

    Maybe 8:15-8:45 AND 11:15-11:45

    I'm fairly sure that there would be a noticeable difference in attire (and bikes) between those rushing to work and those more likely to be out for other reasons.

    This could be repeated at PY - perhaps with more random/confusing results because of increased proportion of students(?)

    Posted 8 years ago #
  15. chdot
    Admin

    "It is one size fits all or nothing"

    So that's a stretchy overall(?) or buff??

    Posted 8 years ago #
  16. Min
    Member

    "So that's a stretchy overall(?) or buff?? "

    Or nothing. ;-)

    Actually I couldn't possibly say. It is up to Copenhagenbloke to decide what everyone should wear.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  17. LaidBack
    Member

    Instography If their journey is long and/or done quickly, they will be mostly in cycle-specific clothing. If their journey is short and/or slow, they will mostly be in civvies, with a wide range in-between.

    Yes... that's a fair comment. I don't bother with cycling longs and SpDs if I'm at shop and not planning to go anywhere further. My daughter and the few people she knows of her age that cycle never, ever wear cycling specific clothes (now) and would quit cycling if they was forced to... Then again they only cycle short distances around city. If she wanted to do sport cycling then of course she would change...

    The cycling protest had a high proportion of yellow and goretext type stuff. CyclingPlus always features this approach and cycle clothing can earn more for some shops than selling bikes.

    My current jacket is red and from Trespass (£35 on offer) - ideal for recumbent as it has no pockets at back. Also has hood which is ok and means I could use on the one day a year I ski. Similar one from Tiso or EBC would be over £100. Supplemented with an Endura Merino top.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  18. Morningsider
    Member

    I suppose what really annoys me about this is someone who is sitting on top of 30 years steady Government investment and pro-cycling policy blaming (at least in part)our choice of clothes for a lack of cyclists in Scotland.

    How nice to be able to lay claim to something you have no actual responsibility for. The popularity of cycling in Copenhagen is the result of politicians, officials and engineers - bloggers, not so much.

    Actually, that's just got me thinking. I'm from Edinburgh - perhaps I should start a blog berating those towns that have trouble attracting tourists for not have a fairytale castle and the world's biggest arts festival.

    Anyway - back OT. Using Dave's analogy of Darwinian selection - Scottish and Danish cyclists split in the early 70's when the Danish Government decided to pursue a pro-cycling agenda. In effect, what this guy is doing by criticising us is the equivalent of putting the boot into his own forebears, i.e. those few Danish cyclists in the early 70's. How about a bit of support - or do we have to employ the laughably under-qualified copenhagezine consultants for that (http://copenhagenize.eu/profile.html).

    Yes, this has really annoyed me.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  19. LaidBack
    Member

    What does Mikael make of London then?

    Is London halfway between Edinburgh and Copenhagen in cycling terms? - certainly felt continental in places when I was down last year.

    Got trendy shops like Velorution... also got large amount of mainland Europeans working there I suppose.

    The glimpses we see of cycling as transport are amplified in Edinburgh by the fact we have universities of course with people from all over. Danish institute did it's bit with Dreams on Wheels show a few years back

    Posted 8 years ago #
  20. SRD
    Moderator

    Going back through thread: skiing. My family all started cross-country skiing when I was 5 or 6. Mostly we wore corduroy trousers, with tights or longjohns underneath, wooly sock pulled up over, turtleneck, woollly jumpers, and light shell on top. Occasionally used to see folks in wool knickerbockers/breeches/pedalpushers - always knew they were the Europeans.

    Much later on (80s), we all started to wear lycra, usually with lifa (blue only) underneath.

    Only rule is never wear jeans.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  21. Baldcyclist
    Member

    Simple vanity, that is all this is. We have a middle aged man who thinks' he still has it, probably not married (even a woman wouldn't put up with vanity on this scale!).
    His normal, is expensive designer clothes, and expensive designer 'urban' bicycles, and 'looking cool', which to most people (even in Denmark I suspect) is not normal, at least at this age.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  22. Uberuce
    Member

    I don't understand why 'citizen cyclist' is meant to be an honorific.

    Just seems to me to mean you don't do any of the cycling sports, and as I said in Peter's Yard, I simply don't get it how someone can take pride in Not Doing A Certain Sport because, aside from just being a weird thing in itself, it inevitably means being rubbish at it.

    Indifference or deference are the sensible choices, surely?

    I'm perfectly happy considering proper cyclists to be higher up any kudos pecking order than me - they could sell the carbon'n'lycra and buy a steel fixie inside of an afternoon, but in that time I couldn't obtain a respiratory system like theirs. Well, I could, but that'd be in the literal sense, involves big knives and it'd be unethical.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  23. Okay, some of this is turning nasty

    "Simple vanity, that is all this is. We have a middle aged man who thinks' he still has it, probably not married (even a woman wouldn't put up with vanity on this scale!)."

    He's married, with a kid. And to be honest, having met him and had a drink with him I can honestly say he's probably the person who 'still has it' more than anyone else I've ever met.

    Disagree with his manifesto/mantra/ideals - but personal attacks based on incorrect assumptions don't help the debate (sorry to pick that one quote out - there are a few more which are closer to the bone than I think is necessary).

    (and if anyone suggest that 'he started it' with the comment on kaputnik's picture that maens you're complaining about him maknig personal attacks by.... making personal attacks).

    As you were.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  24. wingpig
    Member

    Seconded. I can attest that people can get nasty and personal when they think you've made a personal attack, even when you haven't. Sticking to clearly exhibited behaviour or arguments is safest.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  25. Dave
    Member

    Perhaps people are missing that the point of Copenhagenize is to, well, 'copenhagen-ise'. Reading this thread from a distance feels a little bit like a bunch of jailers have discovered a penal reform website and are getting angry because it suggests offenders don't all have to go to jail ;-)

    (Don't try to take that analogy any further as it will obviously collapse).

    One thing that has been repeatedly pointed out is that buying a ski jacket to ride your bike is not meaningfully different to buying a cycling jacket. However I think this misses the point of what I will describe as the "pro-Mainstream-Cycling movement".

    Their assumption is that having to look like a [member of a small and looked-down-upon out-group] to participate in said group's activity discourages participation. To fixate on the fact that cycling gear is "technical" but dresses are "not technical" but wait! ski gear is ALSO "technical" is to draw the incorrect distinction IMO.

    I suspect if you could pin them down on a straight answer, that representatives of the "pro-Mainstream-Cycling movement" would be quite happy for everyone to wear cycling-specific gear that is cutting edge technically so long as it doesn't *look* like cycling gear.

    The 'problem' from their perspective is a self-perpetuating exclusiveness that comes from being an out-group compounded twice over by having out-group clothes. I agree with this, although I don't care enough about promoting cycling to want to change what I wear.

    The problem illustrated so finely by this topic (and the comments on the site) is that the tiny number of people who do cycle have taken the paraphernalia of pro-cycling as a sort of talisman or gang membership. However much we justify it, a lot of buying into cycling gear is an attempt to fit in, I think this is hard to acknowledge (or even see for what it is) from the inside of an out-group.

    Obviously, anyone threatening the cohesiveness of the group has to be rigorously attacked. Wrong place in the pecking order, disrespect of their ancestors, vain, not in touch with "the way things are" here, etc. etc.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  26. Min
    Member

    Perhaps people are missing that the point of Copenhagenize is to, well, 'copenhagen-ise'.

    And so if we wear the "right" clothes and ride the "right" bikes then the government will pour all its money into turning the whole of the UK into Copenhagen(may angels sing its name unto God)? I don't think so.

    "The 'problem' from their perspective is a self-perpetuating exclusiveness that comes from being an out-group compounded twice over by having out-group clothes.

    The "problem" from their perspective is that people in the UK do not have cycle friendly junctions, cleared and gritted cycle paths and segregated cycle lanes and so dress and ride accordingly and that this is somehow their fault.

    In a similar vein, I am off to start a blog on stupid starving Somalians who are stupidly starving when they should just eat cake.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  27. SRD
    Moderator

    Uberuce says "I'm perfectly happy considering proper cyclists to be higher up any kudos pecking order than me"

    You seem to be saying that 'real cyclists' are the sporty ones? I don't really get this. Does that mean that real car drivers are the racing guys? rather than the long distance drivers or commuters or whatever? just because they have more/better skills? higher spec vehicles? get paid to do it? [this analogy does not work for race-walkers!]

    The 'real cyclists' I admire are people like DaveC who commutes across the Forth every day! Or people who regularly carry 2 kids plus. Racing may be fun to watch/do but they are no more 'real'. If anything, given racing's reputation we might judge them to be a little less real.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  28. kaputnik
    Moderator

    The cyclists I admire are the ones that cycle bikes.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  29. Arellcat
    Moderator

    If more people rode bikes instead of driving cars, we might see more of a change in funding provision.

    People don't know whether to buy into the message that you can cycle effectively in normal clothes, or that to cycle effectively you need specialised clothes made of dinosaurs and palm trees. People will also be confused by the constant messages of copenhagenism, where everywhere is flat and the wind never blows and the snow is magicked away from the paths, which implies that you don't even need a special bike. You probably don't.

    Copenhagens are not Edinburgh. Or Glasgow, or London, or Telford. We have hills and crap tarmac and a subset of insane vehicle drivers and laws that trivialise the resulting harm. We think we need hi-viz and polystyrene because the public and those in charge are being marketed at like hell, so the rules are constantly flexed in that direction.

    Posted 8 years ago #
  30. Min
    Member

    And if the "marketing" doesn't get them then a few drivers who "didn't see" them or who sound their horns while yelling at them to "wear a helmet" will.

    Posted 8 years ago #

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