Bicycle Diaries: The wheel's influence...

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The wheel's influence...

on dinner

This is casual bike wear? It is ... according to an 1896 column that appeared in the London Spectator. According to Megan Gambino, over at The Smithsonian, it seems that the empire's scribbling classes were rather vexed about the bike's subversive power to undermine the three most important pillars of British hegemony: spiffy dressing, dinner, and enlightened conversation.
The phase of the wheel’s influence that strike …most forcibly is, to put it briefly, the abolition of dinner and the advent of lunch….If people can pedal away ten miles or so in the middle of the day to a lunch for which they need no dress, where the talk is haphazard, varied, light, and only too easy; and then glide back in the cool of the afternoon to dine quietly and get early to bed…conversation of the more serious type will tend to go out.
I wonder what these self-appointed guardians of British good taste would've made of Clif Bars and the consequent abolition of even lunch. More interestingly though, I wonder if they would've applauded Vélopunk's revival of snappy togs. Or have we mistakenly overlooked the fact that fastidious Victorians considered breeches, knee socks, ties, and stout tweed jackets to be hopelessly proletarian ... if not pedestrian?

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