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Cosmin Mazilu-Popan

on 9 June 2014

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Transcript of Mamils&hipsters

Almost every year there are claims in the media that 'cycling is the new golf'
New and old media reflecting cycling fashion
Part of my academic focus is not just in cycling as a fad/fashion, but also in relation to fashion.
…the new golf… for the last decade
Fashionable cycling
The 'cycling style' and the 'cycle chic'
'Old' media:
The fashioning of cycling began being accounted for by the 'big media' not long ago. One newspaper article from The Guardian (2013) by Rob Penn notices the rise of London as 'the centre of global cycling style': 'What began with the "heroin-chic" cycle messenger sub-culture in the late 80s has been crowned by the Mamil (Middle-Aged Man in Lycra), often seen wearing full Rapha (bicycle clothing brand). It is a wonder how these men – and I rank among them – have collectively overcome the traditional male British fear of shopping and turned cycling into a slavishly stylish pursuit'.

New media:
A more dynamic scene. The rise of 'cycle chic' phenomenon with the internet. Started in 2007 in Copenhagen by Mikael Colville-Andersen, who launched the blog Copenhagen Cycle Chic. Copycats flourished all over the world, inclusively in the UK (see London, Manchester, Edinburgh). Such websites generally feature photos of urban cyclists wearing casual clothing on their bicycles.
Free issue
Monday, June 9, 2014
Transport in the Media
Cycling is the new...
These are the important media categories / stereotypes
Dealing with media stereotypes: MAMILs and Hipsters
First time
I heard this phrase was on Eurosport, during a cycling competition, Giro d'Italia. It was mentioned by the commentator Rob Hatch, who was thus explaining the rise of leisure road cycling in the UK in recent years.

A Google search with 'cycling is the new' auto-completes with 'golf'. This shows the frequent association that is made by most internet users.

What does 'cycling is the new golf' mean? Cycling is replacing golf as the new networking and hangout sport of entrepreneurs. Cycling is regarded as a team building tool.
Representing cyclists in social media and print. Some methodological challenges
Almost every year there are claims in the media that 'cycling is the new golf'

the even newer golf!
I'm interested in determining fashion's role in attracting / deterring people into / from cycling.

In my thesis I am focusing at fashion's relation to the practice of cycling together (mostly outside the city): different rides and races such as sportives, audax, heritage/retro rides (Eroica Britannia, Tweed Run).
In this analysis I consider the different materialities that make cycling fashionable. On one hand I will concentrate on the object of the bicycle, which will be reflected upon not only from the perspective of a mere means of transportation, but also as a fashion accessory.

On the other hand I pay equal attention to the different other materialities which are encapsulated in various degrees into the successful practice of cycling: clothes, shoes, helmets, locks, panniers, bags and so on.
'The Photo That Launched a Million Bicycles'
Free issue
Monday, June 9, 2014
Transport in the Media
Representing cyclists in social media and print. Some methodological challenges
MAMILs. Characteristics and stereotypes:
Hipsters. Characteristics and stereotypes:

Lycra louts (a denigration campaign by Daily Mail, 2012): 'Aside from the dangers, male cyclophiles are becoming a blot on our highways. They are weirdly obsessive about their mode of transport and fuss endlessly about their appearance. Bent over handlebars in their garish Lycra armour and insect-shaped-helmets, cyclists see themselves as Lancelots – but look more like Richard III with a chamber pot on his head'.
A middle aged man who rides an expensive racing bicycle for leisure, wearing tight-fitting bicycle jerseys and bicycle shorts (cf Wikipedia).
'Descendants' of another subculture that has received consistent attention in sociology, the bicycle messengers; Riding fixed gear bicycles
Popularized with the internet – see movies Macaframa and Mash SF as well as the Hollywood production Premium Rush (2012), featuring Joseph Gordon-Levitt
The tendency of the media to portray the touring cyclists, respectively the urban cyclists only through these two lenses. The danger of generalization to the entire cycling scene. The general negative attitude associated with the two categories.

Why such stereotypes must be treated carefully?
Why are they important for the research?
are important as subcultural phenomenon as their take on cycling fashion may influence a broader audience. See Dick Hebdige's writing on the subculture of punks and their fashion → Hebdige (1979) takes one step further previous ideas of fashion belonging exclusively to high classes (Simmel 1957, Bourdieu 1984) and advocates for a democratization of style by associating fashion with the subculture of the punks of the late 1970s in the UK. The similar more recent subculture, the bicycle messengers, acted in the same paradigm described by Hebdige, by mainstreaming the 'courier style' and taking it from the low streets into the high fashion (with the help of more recent hipster subculture).

In the case of
– the role of sports in fashion. Scarce literature on this.
Running reds
and killing peds

The importance of 'alternative', 'niche' new media in researching fashion and subcultures in cycling. Often 'big' media ignores or fails to account for emerging phenomena

Attention to be paid to the dangers of media stereotyping: MAMILs, hipsters and the negative perception associated with them

Attention to be paid to the dangers of generalization in the media: MAMILs and hipsters as the only categories of touring and urban cyclists
Edited by Cosmin Popan
PhD Lancaster University
Edited by Cosmin Popan
PhD Lancaster University
Full transcript