Alex Marshall is the transportation columnist for GOVERNING and a Senior Fellow at The Regional Plan Association in New York City, and the following is a column on the growing popularity of bicyles:

Bicycling, the mode of transportation stereotyped by short-pants-wearing tykes or spandex-clad health nuts, has become fashionable. Not since the 1880s — when the first bicycle craze hit the nation and produced some of its first paved roads — has this two-wheeled, self-propelled machine been such a symbol of urbanity and style.

In September, The New York Times ran a cover story in its fashion section about fashionable women and the bikes they were riding as part of their stylish ensemble, not apart from it. They could even choose high-status accessories, such as a $365 leather and canvas bag for their handlebars.

“These daring young women, in their stylish attire, are turning heads as they roll by,” wrote Ruth La Ferla, the story’s author. “They are clad not in spandex but in fluttery skirts, capes and kitten heels.”

I don’t know what a kitten heel is, but it sounds nice.

The retail clothing company Banana Republic has been running full-page ads in national magazines showing a relaxed young man in a dark gray suit, red shirt, scarf and tie. And he’s not behind the wheel of an Italian sports car — he’s on a bicycle.

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