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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Pedal perfect: Bikers shed spandex to inspire new riders [CNN]



About 70 people gathered in Decatur, Georgia, on Sunday, November 11, for a celebration of period fashion and cycling. Style-centric rides such as this one have been organized around the world, but Sunday was the Atlanta suburb's inaugural Autumn Classic Ride.About 70 people gathered in Decatur, Georgia, on Sunday, November 11, for a celebration of period fashion and cycling. Style-centric rides such as this one have been organized around the world, but Sunday was the Atlanta suburb's inaugural Autumn Classic Ride.
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Biking in style at a tweed and vintage ride
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Bike advocates leverage "cycle chic" style movement to make it more appealing to casual riders
  • Tweed rides and other style-focused events encourage tentative riders to get in saddle
  • Bicycle boutiques and coffee shops aim to become lifestyle brands
  • "It goes back to childhood, to riding for fun. ... No spandex or cleats," a recreational rider says
(CNN) -- Laura Bellinger wishes she could bike around Atlanta more often. She'd even consider making the five-mile ride to work if she weren't "a little chicken" when it comes to braving the city's infamous rush-hour traffic without the protective shell of a car.
But she couldn't resist an opportunity to bike for her first "tweed ride," the dandy's answer to critical mass, in which cyclists don vintage-inspired attire for a leisurely ride. Often the subject of fashion magazine spreads out of New York and London, it was the first-ever such ride in Decatur. The Atlanta suburb was recognized this year as one of the newest cities to make the League of American Bicyclists' list of top bicycle-friendly communities for its network of bike paths and bicycle education programs in schools.
Bellinger dug up a pair of cropped riding pants, dark-patterned socks and a corduroy blazerloaded her mother's old white Cannondale into the car and headed to downtown Decatur, where a sea of cyclists dressed in autumnal shades gathered in the square Sunday afternoon.
"Events like this get me comfortable with the idea of riding more often because I can learn from others," said Bellinger, a public relations specialist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "I totally love fashion and vintage, so dressing up just made it more fun."
Style-themed bike rides are just one way in which advocacy groups are hoping to shed bicycling of its strict association with competitive racing and make it more appealing to casual riders and potential commuters in the United States, especially in communities such as Decatur making bike-friendly strides.

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