The Style, The Substance. It’s all important.

Bike style, bike culture, bike imagery, it’s important for many cyclists. The people who ride, the communities that form around this alternative mode of transportation, and events like critical mass have been important for the increased popularity of urban biking; but the elevation of style over utility in some biking communities has received its share of backlash as well. There are some biking companies that have adopted techniques car advertisers use, such as removing the reality from the actual experience of biking.

And there’s an exclusivity to this type of stylized culture for some.  Bowery Lane Bicycles in New York City is one such example. Its ads include images of models with bikes. Still, others might say that the point of the bike is that it’s cheap and inclusive, not a status symbol. It’s an easy, free way to get around.

For others, might settle on the notion that the commercialization of biking is just a part of the twentieth century condition. Plus, the beauty of biking is that it’s public: it makes sense in cities, where people are seen. And thus its evolution into a form of cultural expression is inevitable and in many ways follows European cycling culture.

The New York Times writes about the trend of fashionable women increasingly cycling in a city where the number of bikers increased by 26 percent in 2009: