We all may have our own uses for bicycles – commuting, recreation, fun or even exercise – but participating in a Mr. and Mrs. Bicycle pageant may be a little less well known.
Humber College film professor and cyclist Andrew Ainsworth proposes a bicycle pageant as an avenue to celebrate the culture of cycling in Toronto .
“Toronto has a very strong bicycle culture and we need some sort of event to pull all of the different parties together under one tent. I think that a bicycle pageant can do that because it’s not too serious, it’s lots of fun and it celebrates everything we like about bicycles,” he says.
As for the event itself, Ainsworth says the idea will be to have a traditional beauty pageant, which celebrates a Mr. and Mrs. Bicycle Universe. The pageant will see cyclists strutting their bicycles along a walkway, in front of a panel of judges and attendees.
“It’s a pageant which judges a bicycle and the rider together as one, both in terms of how they ride, how the bicycle looks, how the contestant looks and how they dress with the bicycle,” he says.
Ainsworth says the pageant is a pipe dream of his and his next step to make it a reality will be to get like-minded individuals together to plan for the big event. He’s hoping that the inaugural event will lead to an annual event in Toronto.
(Video courtesy of WPA Film Library)
The idea of a bicycle pageant isn’t unique to many bicycle gurus like Ainsworth. The first pageant of its kind was hosted in Boca Raton, Florida in the early 1950s and that’s where Ainsworth might have gotten inspiration.
“The pageant of 1953 was a very traditional pageant where you had people in bathing suits. However, my idea understands that pageants aren’t cool but the coolness comes from being in a pageant and having fun with it,” he says. “It’s not being sexist and not being strictly about the looks of men or women but more just about the culture and celebration of style on a bicycles.”
The idea of the pageant was well received by 28-year-old Odin von Doom who uses his cycle as his most frequent way of commuting.
“I’d love to see how people would have made modification to their bikes. That would be a great idea. A lot of people I know will get into that, ” says von Doom.
The Humber College game programming student expressed his willingness to participate in the pageant.
“I would definitely be part of that. I will show off my bike. I mean mine is not as good as I’d want it to be but I would for sure bring mine and show off what I’ve got,” he says.
Toronto has a very strong culture of bicycle that has grown comparably to the early 1970s, according to Ainsworth. He has been biking in the city both professionally and recreationally for 43 years. He notes the culture has extended beyond just having a cycle as a mode of transportation but is now about the way you dress and where you go.
“When I was in my teens I was a bicycle racer but the commuting culture using your bicycles to get from home to work was truly small and rare. Then in the late ’70s a new culture sprang up to include fashion, the way they look, acted or behaved,” says Ainsworth.