The artist Grayson Perry has spoken of why he chooses to ride a traditional Dutch bike – and says that men splashing out on a road bike that is more suited to the Tour de France than a commute are confusing function with status.
The Turner Prize winner, who sometimes dresses as his female alter ego Clare, can regularly be seen riding his green Vogue Elite bike in the streets near his North London studio.
Writing on the website of the auction house Christie’s, he said that he likes the bike, which he ordered online from the Netherlands, “very much.”
“It is a ladies’ bike, so I can wear a dress on it,” he said. “I have a yellow plastic milk crate on the front, which is where I put my shoes and handbag. I really enjoy passing men on racing bikes, particularly when I am wearing a skirt.”
Earlier this week, a poll on our live blog showed that black is Britain’s most popular bike colour, but it certainly wouldn’t have got Perry’s vote.
“I chose the pea-green model because I am a colour campaigner and wanted a bike that was bright. I never buy black — ‘cowards’ black’, I call it. Black clothes on men are an abstention from the conversation.”
On riding his bike, he said: “One of my favourite things is to pedal it about London very slowly on a beautiful balmy summer’s evening, like a kind of two-wheeled flâneur.
“Sometimes I might stop for a pint or two on the way round, just on my own, so I can hear and smell and watch the world go by. I love doing that.”
Dutch-style bikes of the type Perry rides are very much the exception in a city where bike commuters often ride drop-bar road bikes, with some attracting the nickname of MAMIILs – Middle Aged Men in Lycra.
Perry, who when cycling in his guise of Clare is perhaps more of a MAMID – a Middle Aged Man in a Dress – said that men who commute on expensive road bikes are confusing function and status.
“I have done a lot of work around masculinity, and I find that men are very confused about the role of function, which they often think is a way of displaying statusm” he explained. “
So they get a £2,000 bike that weighs five kilograms and would be useful if you were on the Tour de France — but it’s completely impractical for riding to work.”
He added: “A town bike that you leave on a rack needs to be cheap: that’s one of its functions. This bike has a squishy saddle and is very comfortable — but comfort is another function that gets ignored in the man world, because no status is attached to it.”
yeah, because what kind of a mother would risk a driving licence infraction whilst her child's life is at stake?
That would certainly be a good idea. It seems pretty crazy that we're saying we are committed to change yet still baking in motor vehicle...
Also, if you look on Michelin's website, they do not recommend using their 25s or 28s on 21mm internal rims (pretty common nowadays). I assume for...
How someone else rides their bike has got f'k all to do with me unless they are an actual acquaintence of mine and riding with me. Even then, they...
Thanks. You're right, it really brings it home and then some idiot spouts off all that nonsense and it just rubs salt in the wound.
pay up, whingers ...
Speedrockers for me and my pals on 42's
This is another of those "difference between Britain and America" things, isn't it?
I reckon they swerved to avoid the hi-viz cones