Copenhagen Cycle Chic began its bloglife back in June 2007 when journalist, film director and photographer Mikael Colville-Andersen decided to put a growing number of photos about Copenhagen's bicycle culture into one place on the internet.
A series of social documentary photos about Copenhagen started to include a number of shots of life in the World's Cycling Capital, including fashionable Copenhageners on their bicycles. The feedback about these photos was positive and there was clearly a growing interest abroad in seeing how the bicycle was an integral part of life in the Danish capital. Specifically about how Copenhageners have demystified the bicycle and use it without any form of bicycle 'gear'. Just as the bicycle was meant to be ridden when invented.
Why are functional bicycling clothes so reviled, especially in Copenhagen?
I mean, look at the Copenhagen Cycling Chic Manifesto. (Here's the desktop version and here is the blog post.) While certainly delivered with tongue firmly planted in cheek, I mean, come on.
- bike shorts (simple black ones, not team-livery) because they don't chafe when I'm cycling at 15-20 mph;
- a bright fluorescent jersey to be visible in all weather conditions;
- cycling shoes for more efficient power;
- gloves to keep my hands from getting lacerated in a spill; and
- a helmet for safety.
Why do I say they "have it good"? I've been giving this some thought, and I've come to the conclusion that this is a "hierarchy of needs" issue. Most readers will be familiar with Abraham Maslow's "Hierarchy of Needs" often expressed as a graphic pyramid from his 1943 paper, "A Theory of Human Motivation". The original hierarchy was expressed as the following levels of need:
- Physiological (meeting biological needs);
- Safety (security of body, resources, property);
- Love/Belonging (friendship, family, intimacy);
- Esteem (self-esteem, confidence, respect);
- Self-Actualization (morality, creativity, etc.);
- Law (I must have the legal right to be on the road!);
- Safety (Can I make it to my destination without mishap?);
- Living Density (How far do I have to ride to work?);
- Physical Ability (How much strength do I need to do it?);
- Style (Can I look good or be cool doing it?);
Keep up the promenade, girls. And, by all means, keep looking good. But please, try to not rub our noses in it quite so hard!