The short history of Cycle Chic

Way back in 2007 I made note of a brand new blog on “Cycle Chic.” Back then, most of you knew me as “Fritz” while Mikael Colville-Anderson went by the nom de plume “Zakkalicious.” He called his blog Cycleliciousness, changed it (briefly) to “Copenhagen Girls On Bikes” before settling on Copenhagenize.

I wrote back then that it “shows what real transportational cycling looks like,” but to be perfectly honest I think I probably liked the legs and shoes.

Mr Copenhagenize himself! Mikael Colville-Anderson at an event in San Francisco.

Since then, Mikael’s original Cycle Chic blog has spawned numerous bike fashion blogs world wide, and he’s leveraged his influence into a consulting business that promotes “bicycle culture by design.”

This trend of Euro women on bikes and a fascination with northern European bike culture is the subject of a new case study for IBM’s new “Birth of a Trend” marketing initiative. I keep my eye on trends in the bike industry, and Birth of a Trend looks to understand the science behind online trends — how they’re born in the world of social media, how they spread online from city to city and across international boundaries — and how they spur actions and reactions in the brick-and-mortar world.

IBM analyzed six years of social media data to study “Cycle Chic,” the fashion/transportation movement dedicated to cycling in stylish street clothes, often atop classic bicycles. Starting in Copenhagen, the mostly urban phenomenon has spread around the world to many cities – largely via social media. It has attracted a growing number of retailers and consumer product companies – small firms at first, but before long companies like Ralph Lauren, Gucci and Target got involved.

Click through to view an animated slide show of the spread of “Cycle Chic” through social media around the world from 2007 to 2012.

IBM Social Media Study on Cycle Chic

Click through here for the same infographic in a more static view, with additional discussion of where the Cycle Chic “style over speed” manifesto spread over these past six years.

Via Karl, who is an avid cyclist and works for IBM in London.