Cycling while sitting up straight, wearing normal clothes, on a city bike with chain guard, fenders, a rack and a dynamo. For some time, Americans have advocated the Amsterdam way of cycling. According to the New York Times, it is now becoming a trend.
The newspaper quotes the owner of a vintage bicycle shop who says that not car culture, but bike culture is the problem, meaning that “the discourse about city biking is dominated by cycling zealots who don’t have the desire, or the skill, to attract people who don’t see themselves as cyclists, just as people who ride a bike to work”.
Marketing bicycles as fashion items may be the way to save cycling from the cycling zealots, the New York Times suggests. Fashion store Club Monaco is selling somewhat dull Gazelle replicas of an 1892 ‘grandma’ bicycle. Incidentally, a similar approach was taken by bicycle mender Joep Salden from Utrecht, who designed a bicycle (pdf) that is only sold in fashion stores and interior design shops.
Club Monaco says that it sold a dozen Gazelles within a week, and they are not the only ones selling Dutch bicycles. In some bicycle stores, city bikes are now the biggest growth area. However, an enthusiast of the Amsterdam way of cycling quoted by the New York Times admits that “the only person I know who has a Dutch bike is a girl”.
Meanwhile, bicycle commuting in New York rose by 35% from 2007 to 2008. The city has installed bike shelters, may introduce a bicycle-sharing programme inspired by Paris’ Vélib’ and plans to make dedicated bicycle storage mandatory for all new commercial and residential buildings.