Caps image from New Era, pants from Outlier, Adidas shoes
The movement towards caring about your mode of transportation has been evolving over the last decade, and especially become more interesting as subcultures such as the fixed gear cycling movement and pared down cruiser bike cults have taken off among urban hipsters in major cities.
As we’ve written about before, more people are taking to the streets, reclaiming their roads, and riding on bikes and other modes of transportation that are slightly different and more personal than hopping in your average car. Growing concerns among a much more enlightened youth market such as decreasing dependency of foreign fossil fuels continue to be an issue, and as the economy sours and the environment erodes, riding fixed gear bikes or bikes in general has taken on new meaning to a group of self-professed “beautiful losers” to borrow an expression from artist-director Aaron Rose, and become a lifestyle. This Cult of Transportation taps into such DIY aesthetics as seen for example with the growing movement in short flick videos showcased in the ever popular Bicycle Film Festival, and the rise in urban chic cycle styles as a fast-growing sports-style movement.
What’s often the goal of passionate transportation fans are the details of their ride and the art of utilitarian. From fixed gear bikes that are paired down bicycles with one gear and usually no brakes, to the war-era Ruckus finds on EBay from South Korea, to the rise in cruiser bikes and old-school European bikes, they all contain a new appreciation for the vehicle of transportation. You see this also in the rise of websites and blogs featuring styles, bikes, and cycle chatter such as urbancyclechic.com and Copenhagencyclechic.com.
Many brands see the potential within this subculture and are getting into the scene, such as Adidas and the launch of their new Zeitfrei cycling-inspired shoes and collaboration with Bianchi. Tapping into the strength of skate sneaker-freaker sites such as Hypebeast, the Zeitfrei Adidas sneaks are a collaboration with the blog, and will also be available at the Berlin store Solebox later this month.
Locating key components are important such as the UK Brooks seat, and style via cycle pants, tights, long socks. Photo of fixed gear cyclist in upper right from Outlier.cc
New Era’s launching their 506 empire style short-brimmed cycle caps, which is clearly a nod to the urban cycle movement, and fresh new brands are on the horizon, such as Outlier created by futuristic garment designer Abe Burmeister. Outlier offers tailored cycle gear for men that are a cross between performance clothing, fashionable menswear, and heritage blends. According to an excellent interview on PSFK, Outlier founder Abe talked about the growing subculture of alternative transportation seekers and how this is also creating a need for different kinds of textiles -for example, creating highly wickable and water resistant pants that can be worn easily for urban cyclists moving from the streets to the workplace. On the flip side of high-tech is the resurgence of heritage materials such as merino wool. As Abe describes the Outlier look, “future classic approach to design.” (According to a recent Twitter, we can expect Outlier women’s designs by Fall, 2009.)
As any strong movement grows, so too does a new industry, including of course the growth of bike shops in urban centers, and events such as Midnight Rides in various cities, plus art shows showcasing the creative energy of the of movement, and self-made videos and documentaries as seen during the touring Bicycle Film Festival.
Overall, the growing cult of transportation is a message about a way of life -about seeing the joy of the ride as part of getting from point A to point B and recreating the experience of the journey as the goal instead of the destination. And all done in one’s own personal cycle style.