We recently added some ladies cycling gear to our shop from SHIFTY, all of it designed and made in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, and instantly got picked up in an article in the Business section of the LA Times, “Urban cycling spawns its own peddlers” by Cyndia Zwahlen, published on August 30, 2010.
Shifty founder Jen Diamond of Echo Park makes a line of clothing for women that includes stretchy dresses and halter-style tops with reflective ribbon ties and belts.
It’s a contrast to the tight, logo-emblazoned jerseys worn for serious fitness training.
“You don’t have to change out of your bike jersey to feel comfortable in a restaurant,” said Diamond, who has no employees but collaborates on designs with two friends. Her tops sell for $65 online as well as at the Flying Pigeon and Orange 20 Bikes in Los Angeles.
Selling cycling gear is a tricky business in North America. It’s really easy to end up hustling clothes that makes cycling look like an exclusive club for stretchy pants-clad fanatics. These folks do exist, and their dollars do fund the large majority of business in the bike industry. However, our shop is dedicated to something different, something more in line with Mikael Colville-Andersen’s cycle chic or his slow bicycle movement. We feel that this is where cycling is headed – towards the citizen cyclist, running her daily errands, going to work, and being herself. When we carry “bicycle clothes”, like Jen Diamond’s SHIFTY line of jerseys, we’re looking for stuff that is free of … well, perhaps my quote in the article will say it better:
“It allows you to maintain an identity on your bike without having to be subsumed by the sporting image or aggressive-commuter image,” said Josef Bray-Ali, who owns the 2-year-old Flying Pigeon with his brother, Adam.
Which is also why we also carry a nice line of cycle bags from Chicago-based Po Campo; knickers, sweaters and shorts by L.A.-based Bicycle Fixation; t-shirts from J. Knice Clothing; and panniers and bags from Holland’s premier bag manufacturer, Basil.
It’s an exciting time to be involved in the bike industry. Cycling is a transportation solution to so much of what ails us in America’s great cities – and that idea, along with the shift in marketing and commodities that it engenders, is definitely news worth covering.