Art + Design

From the Design Desk: Bicycle Aesthetics


There are many reasons to ride bicycles—they’re fun, efficient, good for you health wise, and they’re also beautiful. Well, they can be beautiful, I should say. Bicycles are fine specimens of industrial design: sleek, practical, strong… I’ll stop at that. And they’re making a comeback, especially as a healthier alternative to polluting cars congested in traffic.

Bicycle culture is on the rise, and so are adrenalin aficionados, gear heads, fixie fashionistas, casual-yet-stylish riders, and bicycle publishing. The New York Times style section recently described the bicycle as a key component in antiquarian aesthetic for men’s fashion and reported on the best bicycling pants. Oh Joy compiled the charming bicycle accessories below.

On a recent trip to Portland, Oregon (which prides itself in its bike-friendly downtown), I came across this awesome book, The Competition Bicycle (below) at Canoe, an amazing little boutique akin to the MoMA store in New York City. The Competition Bicycle is by the authors of The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles, by Vintage Bicycle Press, a small publisher in Seattle focused solely on bicycle culture. Their Bicycle Quarterly covers everything from the physics to the history of cycling.

There seems to be no shortage of bicycle books, journals, zines, and blogs out there. Some of my favorites are David Byrne’s Bicycle Diaries and Bike Hugger—but I’m only a casual rider with an appreciation for bicycle design. And although I’m no bike snob, that’s a bicycle blog I can appreciate. Critical and funny, Bike Snob is mired in bicycle culture. It’s witty, well written, and takes posers to task. Look out for the book being released this spring. Sweet rides!

Suzanne LaGasa

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