Searching for Style on Two Wheels

Last year, Michelle President and Zara Ansar, were bouncing at trampoline class as they gabbed about fashionable cyclists they encountered during their commutes to work.

The avid cyclists realized they had found a hole in the blogosphere, which would later manifest into their biking fashion blog, Ottawa Velo Vogue. “It was to show that Ottawa does have fashionable people and yes, sometimes they’re on two wheels.”

Ottawa Velo Vogue was started in January 2010. The blog features photo shoots of local cyclists in their element. President and Ansar said their subjects are often friends or friends of friends. “[We look for] uniqueness, individual sense of style and personality,” said President.

Michelle en route.

Ansar works as a videographer for the government. Her artistic eye is apparent in the blog’s photography. She sipped tea while dressed head to toe in bright orange during an interview.

She obviously loves colour, especially neon. She said her spirited clothing choices are often criticized in her conservative workplace. “It makes me bump it up a notch,” she said.

Ansar said her most memorable biking ensemble included a Nutcase helmet with a rainbow swirl, a dress in a bright hue, striped, neon knee-highs, and vibrant yellow Reeboks.

President is a policy analyst. Her role at Velo Vogue is concept creation and assistant to the photographer, she said laughing.

She said she is obsessed with purple and purchases clothing pieces that “speak to her.”

She also recounted her favourite cycling outfit, which was comprised of a bright fuchsia, silk tank top, grey capris, purple, multi-tonal flats. “As I kept riding down the path, people kept smiling.”

The 29-year-old friends met in grade 12 at Gloucester High School. They said they both enjoy living in Ottawa and soaking up all the culture the city has to offer.

Ansar rides her custom-made Pake bike from the outskirts of the Glebe to Downtown in search of fashion-conscious cyclists. “My boyfriend custom made it for me. He made me a nice bike, that’s not too flashy that people would steal it…I still want a flashy bike.” she said.

President commutes to work on the NCC Path, while protecting her noggin. “We believe in wearing helmets.”

A local cyclist

She was thankful for her helmet after a fall on slippery cement on a rainy day. “I got up and kept riding, luckily no one was around to see me.”

You can catch the Ottawa Velo Vogue team this summer at Capital Velo Fest. They are producing a fashion show for the event. “The hope is eventually to turn this into a business,” said President.

The bloggers aim to inspire others to take up cycling and encourage city-wide cycling improvements, such as increased segregated bike lanes and more Bixi bikes. ”If we made it more accessible, I think you would see more people biking.”


Velo Vogues Top 5 Favourite Shopping Spots:

1. Victoire

 2. Milk 

3. Vero Moda

4. ModCloth

5. Asos