The Best of Survey 2012: Part Two

One of my early mentors in the bicycle business impressed the following maxim on me, “ride to where you ride”. I use it quite often when talking to the press, government officials, and new riders. For those not immersed in the way of the bicycle there are many daunting questions that must be addressed before the first ride is undertaken. Chief among them, “What should I wear?” I borrow from the aforementioned maxim, “Wear what you are wearing.” Seems most of the citizenry of the United States has come to believe that to “go biking”, even if just to the office or the store, one is required to wear Spandex and a time trial helmet. No wonder we’ve had such historically low numbers of ridership. But that attitude is changing as cities embrace bicycle infrastructure and bike share. Further, contemporary fashion is taking cues from the bicycle and, we can hope, the Survey blog.

“If you have any doubts that you can ride in normal clothing consider that 200 million people worldwide do it every day”
Grant Petersen – Rivendell Bicycle Works

Below is my collection of city riders whose style, good and bad, has made an impression this year.


What stands out to me at first is the light. California sunshine is unlike any other; it just seems to have so much more optimism. This guy, I’ll call him Matt, though I’ve no idea who he is. He has the looks of a pretty solid guy, the sort who’d be the drummer in a band I’d really like. The bicycle reveals a few signs that Matt knows how to hammer, too. The Ksyrium front wheel and Fizik saddle distinguish this Bridgestone from just daily commuter use. I’d imagine a lot of hotshot So Cal Cat 3 guys get their doors blown by Matt on his way to band practice. Rock on, Matt, rock on.

Corsa Extra

This gentlemen is all business – Single chainring, watch worn over his coat sleeve and a bag for just the necessities. Clearly, when he arrives to his destination he’ll be getting right down to work. Bicycle racers are also all about business but have weird superstitions such as not walking up stairs and refusing to eat the insides of bread, (crust only). There was a time, perhaps even at the moment of this bicycle’s creation, when green bicycles were not welcome in the peloton so it is good to see this fantastic bicycle hard at work. Just as the boss would’ve wanted. Bike racers are weird, this guy is not.


My early days in the bicycle business included the selling of many, many Bianchi bicycles and listing to The Pretenders. Put those two together and you have my favorite Survey photo of the year. In one mystery achievement, Frank van der Sman reveals why every city in the world looks to Amsterdam for counsel on bicycle culture/ couture.

Heavy Rotation

It’s not all that uncommon for me to tell complete strangers how much I like their bicycles. If I’m standing behind this woman in line for coffee there’s no doubt I’m saying hi and complimenting her on this ride. We’ll talk about her linear pull brakes, who made the front rack and basket and what’s on her playlist, (Tanlines, Paws, & The Soft Moon). This is a look at the future of urban professional attire. And now that we’re friends, I’ll make sure to fix that front quick-release skewer.

Black Mirrors

Red, black and silver. A good combination for a bicycle.

True Blue

Our subject in this photo, Kristin, is a molecular biologist. She’s a deep thinker and she put a considerable amount of thought into the design of this bicycle with builder Tony Pereira. The bicycle’s primary purpose is urban transportation and Kristin’s aim was to use it as a means to carry as little on her person as possible. [ed. – Tony is a great choice as he is a two-time winner of the Oregon Manifest design challenge] I applaud Kristin for riding daily as a well-dressed professional on a practical, yet appealing, machine. If there’s anyone on this blog giving the Amsterdammers a challenge, it’s True Blue.

Not So Survey

Why, if you have a large enough shoulder bag, would you carry a u-lock over your handlebars? Doesn’t the noise drive you batty? It does to me when I’m riding nearby the likes of you. Oh, and look, there’s a rear rack with bungees where it could be carried as well. Pants tucked into socks? I checked the date on this post several times. Nope, not April 1st. Somebody at Rapha HQ gets a demerit for this one.