IN A FEW SHORT MONTHS, the number of people getting around by bike on a daily basis will just about double, as the fair-weather set comes out of hibernation and hits the (dry) streets. I am one such person—sorry but I can't bring myself to show up at most of my destinations either drenched or holding a dripping, full-body rain suit. So when the weather's wet, I gotta break out the umbrella, bus fare, or yes, the car, instead.
I think it's great that companies are putting evermore energy into designing simple, urban-ready styles that don't scream "tech fabric," but do in fact give the wearer extra protection from the elements. Even if I've yet to see anything that convinces me of the feasibility of year-round bike commuting for my lifestyle, as it becomes more common and the designs (I hope) evolve into tidier and more convenient iterations, holdouts like me will eventually have to acquiesce.
This weekend's Urban Riders Bicycle Fashion Show will make the case, with what the organizers describe as "a lucid approach to dressing for the daily commute." Male and female models will cycle down the runway in looks put together by companies like Outlier, Retro Image Apparel, Club Ride Apparel, Osloh, B. Spoke Tailor, Nau, Gear, Swobo, Martin, and Showers Pass. Part of this weekend's Momentum-sponsored Pedal Nation bicycle convention, the show isn't particularly focused on Portland brands (as much as I like Nau, they don't really count anymore), but keep an eye out for involvement from local businesses like Clever Cycles, and Suzabelle designs.
Orchestrating the show is Elizabeth Mollo, also one half of the team behind the annual Sweet FA rock-themed fashion shows. She, like me, isn't a diehard, but when she does ride she wants what everyone wants: to be comfortable and still look good. To that end she mentions Outlier, based in Brooklyn, as a favorite of the lines being featured.
Whether you're pondering if you can really get away with heels on your bike (you'll be fine, but your shoes may not be), or you're just in the market for the latest in wind and rain protection, this is a convenient way to access an overview of the designs and technology currently on the market. And hey, if we want really want our society to move closer toward mainstream bicycle transportation, we're going to have to change our clothes and customs, and fashion and function will need to reconcile. Urban Riders Bicycle Fashion Show, Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE MLK, Sat April 10 & Sun April 11, 3 pm, free with advance registration at pedalnationevents.com, $7 at the door, all ages