Friday, March 07, 2008

Cycle heaven

I love my bicycle with a deep and desperate passion, and am rarely happier than when I am bowling along the streets of Manhattan on a fresh spring day. As I work from home, a bike meshes perfectly with my lifestyle, & it's only occasionally that there is a sartorial problem. (I'm pretty good at cycling in heels now, but have to admit that not only do I fear helmet hair, I hate my boy-racer helmet too.)

Yesterday morning I was doing errands on Free Spirit (I didn't choose the name, it's emblazoned on the crossbar). First to Union Square for a spot of brand consultancy, and then down to Soho to pull some shoes for a lookbook I was styling in the afternoon.

As I was departing the shoe store with two big bags of shoes, I mentioned that I was on my bike. The store manager raised a metaphorical eyebrow, and in a voice tinged with patronage said, "A bicycle? How...cute."

I am starting to realise that, unlike London, where it is seen as positively cool to rock up on a bike, here it's seen as extremely eccentric and kind of cash-strapped for a fashion editor to be nipping around town on one.

Certainly I chuckled when the paparazzi who always hang outside the Waverly Inn waiting for celebs to exit told me I was the only diner they'd ever seen arrive on two wheels instead of in a blacked out town car. And I'm certain mine is the only member's bike chained up outside Soho House. And do I care? Absolutely not.

And now I've discovered the answer to carrying a hideous (but life-saving) helmet is to buy one by Sawako Furuno, who is based in London. A mere £60 (consider that your bog-standard helmet costs around £30) this is on my must-have list. They can be ordered in a variety of colourways and patterns:Although I fear it is a trifle self-indulgent to have a wardrobe of cycling helmets.