Related News

Home » Feature

Fashion cycles: How to look cool and trendy on two wheels

PARA Tao, a fashionable young lady, loves hanging out with friends in chic spots on Taikang, Changle and Wukang roads. None is too far from her home in the center of Shanghai, but not that close, either.

About three months ago, she bought a Giant bicycle, a lovely, creamy white one with simple lines. She has fallen in love with her new life on two wheels.

"I used to spend a lot of money in taxis," says Tao, a well-paid patent attorney in her late 20s. "Most of the places my friends and I go are actually within 3-4 kilometers from my place, around 30 yuan (US$4.40) for a round trip by taxi."

She did the math. At 650 yuan, the bicycle is a smart investment. "It's a good deal as long as it isn't stolen in the first month," she says, giggling. She has saved a lot on transport.

Tao cycles almost everywhere - to the grocery (she has a basket for her purchases), to her boyfiend's home, to restaurants and coffee shops.

"Pedaling along the street is fun, as long as it doesn't rain," she says. "The best thing is: I can stop whenever and wherever I want."

For example, she was able to visit the ice cream store on Shaanxi Road S. that she used to pass all the time by taxi. Now it's just a 10-minute ride form her home. "I can eat there or take ice cream home - the ride is so quick that it doesn't melt."

Tao had not been on a bike for almost eight years. Like most of her friends, she took taxis everywhere.

Shanghai's streets were filled with bicycles in the 1980s and 1990s when few people could afford cars in the "country of bicycles."

In recent years, as more people bought cars, bicycles were considered out of date or, worse, a sign of low economic status.

In Western countries, on the contrary, cycling is trendy and green and for many people daily transport. Young people from Paris to Amsterdam are exchanging their Metro cards for two wheels.

In New York, bicycles have also become the "it" objects among young people, especially in the economic slowdown. In fashion magazines, models pose in jumpsuits, shorts and even bikinis alongside bicycles. On the street, celebrities and stars such as Hollywood actress Kate Hudson and supermodels Gisele Bundchen and Agyness Deyn were captured in photos, happily pedaling around.

To keep up with the trend, luxury houses including Chanel, Gucci and Hermes, have released limited edition bicycles. They can cost as much as US$17,000.

Gary Tan, a Malaysian living in Shanghai, bought a classic Forever bicycle three years ago but only started to ride it late last year.

"I was attracted by the ultra-vintage style when I first saw it in a small store and I bought it immediately for about 450 yuan," he recalls.

The event planner used to take a taxi everywhere.

"I started to get frustrated with the traffic," he says. "After living here for almost five years, it's time for a change, to try something different and get closer to locals."

The 26-year-old finds "little surprises everywhere. I enjoy riding along old quiet streets, going into small lanes and seeing everyday life. It's very interesting."

Recently he moved to a new apartment a little further from his office. He bought an electric-option bike for 3,400 yuan.

He rarely takes taxis and rides to work, to the gym and to meet friends.

"It feels great," he says. "I can control the rhythm of life."

According to Tao, the patent attorney, it seems more foreigners are riding bicycles while Chinese opt for electric bikes.

"Sometimes I'm worried about getting hit by bigger, electric bikes and scooters," she says.

Meanwhile, some major streets like Beijing and Nanjing roads are no longer open to bicycles.

She doesn't see as many women riding bikes these days as in the past. "There are lots of pictures on the Internet of beautiful cyclists in chic outfits, but in Shanghai most women bikers wear weird long-sleeved shirts and ugly hats to protect against the sun."

The latest "fashion," she says, is to attach an umbrella to the frame.

You don't need to wear Spandex. Here are suggestions from Para Tao and Gary Tan on how to look stylish on two wheels.

Keep it simple

Simple T-shirts, white shirts, shorts and jeans are what Tao usually wears. She says you don't need a helmet - however, many people disagree - but suggests stylish sunglasses and hats. Keep it simple. If you're dressed up, take a taxi.

You don't have to wear pants all the time. Long, country-style dresses in floral patterns are popular, especially for girls who want to create a sweet country girl look. Just don't pedal too fast or get your skirt caught in the spokes - you could have an accident.

Jumpsuits are a must-have fashion piece if you're a serious female cyclist.

For men, Tan suggests a simple, well-cut, tucked-in shirt with straight, even skinny jeans.

Fancy footwear

Wear flat shoes or athletic shoes.

Wearing heels is a faux pas and can be dangerous. Forget what models wear.

Look for comfortable, stylish flats. Tao especially recommends this summer's statement fashion piece - gladiator sandals.

Sneakers are always the first choice for guys. For trendy guys riding classic Forever or Phoenix bikes, he suggests vintage-style made-in-China Huili or Feiyue sneakers.

A basket is a must, especially for girls. You can put your groceries, designer shopping bags and flowers there.

If you don't want a basket, use a backpack or a messenger across-body bag to keep your hands free and your journey safe.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend