I did not ever imagine I would have such difficulty in writing a piece for the blog. This is my fourth attempt and its been as arduous a task as childbirth*. I decided I would write about Cycle Chic. I’ve recently become the proud owner of a new bike and I figured (quite arrogantly) that this was a sufficient credential for me to write on this topic. Ha! As if. It’s akin to me assuming I’d be a whiz at dental surgery simply because I brush my teeth every day.

I had heard of the concept of Cycle Chic, but had done little to explore the topic, until this opportunity presented itself. And almost immediately I was awed at the sheer scale of what I’d undertook. Cycle Chic is MASSIVE! IT’S EVERYWHERE! How have I not realised this until now?

A quick go on the google box brings up two amazing blogs that trade solely on Cycle Chic, the first being http://www.copenhagencyclechic.com/. This was started by the man who is rumoured to have developed the phrase “Cycle Chic”, and has been described as “The Sartorialist on two wheels” by the Guardian – heady praise indeed. A quick peek at the site and you’ll be greeted by photos of lots of really cool, fashionable people, on really cool, fashionable bikes, looking fabulously cool and gorgeous. It’s enough to make you sick. In a good way, of course.

The second blog worth mentioning is http://londoncyclechic.blogspot.com/. This blog appears to be a bit more fashion based. The blog entry for 16 March is solely about a range of gorgeously cute helmets and this leads me neatly to my next section.

After viewing just these two blogs, I realised just how out of my depth I was as a commentator of Cycle Chic. So after much faffing around, and some very, VERY bad writing, I decided to get very egotistical and just talk about Cycle Chic as it relates to me.

I started using my bike again about two years ago when I was living in Dublin. I’d grown weary of public transport, and yet was far too impatient to walk anywhere. So I decided to take my old bicycle out of the shed in my parent’s garden and get back in the saddle, so to speak. I had no pride in the bike, it was merely an object to take me into work and home again. And because of the lack of consideration for how my bike looked (it was a rusty piece of crap), I therefore had absolutely no consideration for how I looked while on it. Even now I shudder when I remember the state of me. Like many other Irish cyclists, I wore cycling clothes while on my bike and changed once I got to work. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this option and I’m certainly not trying to put down people who choose to do this. My problem lies solely with myself and how truly terrible my cycling clothes were. Grubby old tracksuit bottoms tucked into socks (so they wouldn’t catch in the gears – the horror, THE HORROR!), an old t-shirt and a rainjacket. Throw in the obligatory hi-vis vest and awful, AWFUL helmet and you’ve got a sight for sore eyes.

But things have recently changed for me. I’ve gotten a new bike. A shiny, happy, sexy beast of a bike – the mere fact that it’s mine, makes me cooler. And since getting this bike, I’ve started to pay a lot more attention to how I dress when I’m cycling. And I’ve become aware of Cycle Chic, fairly succinctly defined (by Wikipedia, who else) as the culture of cycling in fashionable clothes.

It appears that I am way behind the times, and that cycle chic has already gained a niche in Ireland. November 2009 saw the second Cycle Chic fashion show in Cork City, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a third in 2010. The website for the 2009 show still lists all of last year’s exhibitors and a quick look through some of the websites left me coveting a few choice pieces.

My absolute number one must have include this incredibly cute helmet from www.cyclechic.co.uk

Sexy Safety

There are also lots of other sites with fantastic clothes for cycling in, cute baskets and bicycle accessories, not to mention amazing bikes. Definitely worth checking out.

As for me, this will certainly not be my last entry about Cycle Chic. I’ve unleashed a fashion monster with this topic so be sure to stay tuned to the blog for more.

* (a slight exaggeration)