breaking the rules

What are fashion rules if not meant to be broken? This striking woman in white, if she lived in New York and not Paris, would technically be breaking the rules, since I photographed her after what we Americans know as Labor Day.

But on this gorgeous sunny afternoon in early September, her outfit couldn't have been more in season. However, at this intersection off Place de la Bastille, she was very mindful of the traffic rules, waiting for the light to turn green to push off from the curb.


Vive la différence!

Paris isn't always about that classic look. It's a city whose residents also take risks with fashion. Here are some Parisians on the cutting edge of cycle-style.

Blue man with do rag:
In her Chuck Taylor All Stars, she casually paused for a telephone call:
After-work texts with a hip Freitag messenger style bag (or shall I say European man's carry-all):
This guy was the closest thing to a San Franciscan that I saw in Paris, with his purple and yellow fixie, rolled-up pant leg and hat:

Meet the Twins Brothers, two dj's who live in the banlieue and frequently ride around Paris on their VTT's wearing hoodies and helmets (They told me they wear helmets to stand out among all the Parisians who don't). The Twins are coming soon to SF for a show at the End Up!


footloose and fancy free

Sexy mama in black on her vélo complete with child's seat:

Practical pumps on the bike lane:

Parisian mom in classic style buying a boule de Berthillon for her son, removing one of her shoes before engaging the kickstand:


l'amour à vélib'

It all starts with a little flirtation at a red light.

Then he'll whisk you off on the back of his bike to a romantic corner of the city where you've never been before.

Then, after a fabulous four-course meal, he'll charm you as you gaze upon the lights on the Seine.

(This couple was out on their bicycles at about 2 a.m. right in front of Notre Dame. One great benefit of the Vélib' program is that you can take a bike to get around town even after the last metro.)



Parisian cyclists are rolling out the red!

Walking her bike across the street in Saint Michel with her friends after work

Casual cut-off jeans with espadrilles
Gorgeous layered look with this long-sleeved mini-dress with tights and matching purse in her Vélib's basket
Matching flats and shirt with her red bike on the designated bike lane on Boulevard de la Bastille
Red hoodie with daisy-patterned miniskirt and black hi-top sneakers


[richardmasoner] Ben Ready

Longmont Times-Call reporter Ben Ready rode his bike to the Longmont Civic Center breakfast station on his way to work.



[richardmasoner] Cute Cruiser and Hot Felt

Cute bikes and hot bikes at the San Jose Bike Party.

And wow, look at all of that pink in this photo.



[richardmasoner] Emily and her pink cruiser

Emily commutes in style in Menlo Park, California on her beautiful pink cruiser bicycle. "I love my pink bike!" she exclaims.



les parisiens de Tièche

There's an exhibit called Les Parisiennes de Kiraz at the Musée Carnavalet about French illustrator Edmond Kiraz. It's dedicated to his images of chic Parisian women in a variety of situations--dating, shopping, vacationing, cycling--and captures that je ne sais quoi which is so enchanting about those often imitated females from one of the great fashion capitals of the world.

An appreciation for the cute boys on bikes we've captured here at Vélo Vogue has been called to our attention. We like seeing them, too. Indeed, what about the boys? So in response to Kiraz's show at the Carnavalet, I'm giving you my take on the coolness, the class, the beauty of les hommes de Paris.

Donning a cap and coat in the Marais:
On his cellie outside Place des Vosges:
Waiting for the stoplight, or the leaves, to change color on a bike lane along the Seine:
Ciggie break while picking up his Vélib'.
Who needs to break for a ciggie?

The vest with jeans look in St. Paul:
I was in a cabine de téléphone when this man in yellow shirt and pinstriped pants pulled up. Gentlemen take note: Parisian men know how to combine and take risks with color!
And all I could say was Hallelujah when this man rode by me in front of the Eglise Saint Sulpice. God bless les Parisiens.


Mido a Velib'

When I was 14, my family sent me to live with a French family in Paris who none of us had met. As it turned out, they didn't know I was coming and were expecting another little girl instead. So, both American little girls spent the summer with this French family. Today, the bonus child (me) visits them annually.

On my last day in Paris this year, we went to dinner near Nation. I had spent my day receiving a wonderful inside tour of the Vélib' program which included my very own Vélib' card even though I don't have the right kind of credit card to use the system (with that European chip). No one in my French family is enrolled in the Vélib' program. I used my complementary card to let my French mother, Mido, try out the bicycles. Look how stylish and perfectly Parisienne she is.

One of the reasons they don't use Vélib' is because they worry about riding on the streets with traffic. (We know that's just something you get used to.)

She loved it.

I think it was a little stressful for Mido's husband, adult daughter and son-in-law to watch her tootle around the wide Parisien streets.


la vie en violet (à vélo) or purple in paris

A little part--nay, large part of me relentlessly pines for Paris (though I must say I'm happy to be back in my beautiful hometown of San Francisco). I reminisce daily about Paris--the Seine, Place des Vosges, Belleville, Jardins de Luxembourg, the Canal, Boulevard St. Germain, and of course, the Velib'. So, many of my upcoming posts will satisfy my nostalgic twinge and give you all a sense of how this bike share program has totally changed the way that one might experience the City of Lights.

Leave it to the Parisians to redefine vogue. Notez bien, mademoiselles! Looks like purple is in, especially in the form of a belted mini-dress, boots and tights. Voici quelques exemples:

Une parisienne typique seen here near the Hôtel de Ville:

And another glamorously riding Rue St. Honoré:

Miss La Xara, ma compagnone a vélo, also looking very cute here on her Velib'. This photo makes me smile. O, les souvenirs de Paris!


David Byrne's Bike Racks

My angel

I went up to Union Square to get my boyfriend a birthday present. Unfortunately, I had to break up with him before I gave it to him, but, fortunately, I could return it.

I tend to keep my travels in the city limited. The Mission is easy and obvious. Upper Market, SoMa, Hayes Valley, the Panhandle, Castro, Duboce Triangle, and even Civic Center happen regularly. But I almost never trek those extra few blocks to our central shopping district. So, it felt like a big hassle, a big waste of time, to have to go their twice within a week.

This stylish lady turned out to be my angel in little tweed jacket, pink patterned helmet, cute flats and gloves, because even if I had to travel to a strange and distant district twice when I was already suffering, she looked good, and I snapped her photo. So, the errand was saved. Remember that next time you dress for your bicycle and give the broken-hearted a boost by looking extra nice.



PARK(ing) Day is a one-day, global event centered in San Francisco where artists, activists, and citizens collaborate to temporarily transform metered parking spots into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public parks.


Obama for President!

Vélo Vogue is not a political blog, but we do want to make one thing perfectly clear:


Homemade Boots

People often ask why I am taking their pictures. Sometimes, they don't like it, but usually they're flattered while still wanting an explanation. I told this woman in explanation, "I love your boots."

She replied, "Oh, I made them."

Which got me to thinking... Wouldn't it be amazing if we could all make our own clothes? It was all I could do to keep from yelling "I love you" as she rode away.

I tried to learn to sew years ago. I've tried to learn to knit... and paint. I have no talent for manual dexterity, and I regret it. Worse than no talent, my fingers have a poison for details. But I can fix my own bike, edit my own photos and type up words that are sometimes even spelled correctly. Having this incredibly talented woman bike past me made me hope all over again for a new set of talents in my next lifetime.

Or whatever.

You know what I mean.


Could she BE more San Francisco?

To be perfectly honest, I'm not quite sure what this young woman is wearing. (Can you help?)

I do know that it looks so perfect, so quintessentially San Francisco, with the short dress (is that a dress or a skirt?), t-shirt, leggings, fixie, brooks saddle, hair cut.... All I know is that she looked so good when she pulled up next to me at a Mission red light that I asked if I could record her look for posterity.


ghost child

She must have just purchased this pretty pink bike with purple pedals for her daughter's birthday, as she stylishly cycled through the Panhandle this bright afternoon.


Sunday Streets TOMORROW 9-1

Click here for more information.

Staying together

I ran into this little family. She asked me: "Are you going to the Tour de Fat"?
"Why yes," I replied. "You must be too?"

"No," she said (earnestly). "We dress up like this every day."

It bears repeating:
Families that dress up in clown outfits and ride their bikes together, stay together.
How do I make sure I will be like you when I grow up?


If this isn't Velo Vogue...

...I don't know what would be.

mapping SF

I love seeing tourists braving the hills of SF on bicycle, especially during our "summer" months. Just goes to shozw that if they can do it, so can you. Simply don a warm jacket, scarf, socks, and off you go! It's that easy! Unless you need to consult your bicycle map.



"Mona Caron, the creator of the San Francisco bike mural, will be launching her newest mural in San Francisco, amid much fanfare, on
September 27th, between 2 and 5:30 pm. The Mural is located at Noe Valley and 24th Street, at the scene of a farmer's market, to which the mural is dedicated. This section will be carfree in the future. Live music, a puppet show and more will be on offer. For more information contact Joel at noemural[at]earthlink.net or call

I'm hoping for a more pro-urban bike mural.