Written by PUBLIC Founder, Rob Forbes
The Tour de France begins this Saturday, July 2 from the foot of Mont Saint-Michel, and we will all be treated to three weeks of extraordinarily beautiful French countryside, fierce competition by amazing athletes, those wild outfits with polka dots and logos, along with the celebrated iconic race leader yellow jersey. The race ends in Paris, the fashion capital of the world, where heroes are crowned, and legendary figures such as Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, and Greg LeMond earned their reputations.
One of my cycling heroes, lesser known in biking circles, but an icon in the New York fashion scene died this past Saturday. Bill Cunningham was 87 when he passed away.
Cunningham documented street and couture fashion for decades, often from one of his city bikes. He does not hold any records for speed and was never spotted wearing racing spandex, but he possibly holds the record as the person with more bikes stolen or wrecked than any other individual (over 30!). Cunningham was one of the most influential people in fashion. He was both adored and feared by fashion designers and loved by the public for his iconic weekly column in The New York Times.
This documentary on him, Bill Cunningham New York is epic and well worth a watch. It captures an utterly unique individual, someone with a rich and varied life story who never sold out to the commercial forces of his industry. As Bill said, “If you don’t take money, they can’t tell you what to do. That’s the key to the whole thing”.
What would Bill Cunningham say about the Yellow Jersey? Who cares? 🙂 But isn’t it wonderful that we have such bike heroes like Bill Cunningham impressing us from the streets of New York, not just the acclaimed bike racers pedaling through the windy, steep Pyrenees?