Strive Not To Drive (in style)

Asheville cyclists travel with flair, obviously. Photo courtesy of Asheville On BIkes

Not too long ago someone painted (and I paraphrase) “Cars stink, ride a bike,” on the I-240 overpass at Lexington Avenue. And while most of us can agree that car exhaust is smelly, four wheels often seem like the most convenient way to get from point A to point B. But Strive Not To Drive planners hope to change that, both as a perception and a reality. A week’s worth of events, Monday-Friday, May 21-25, is designed to make alternative forms of transportation more visible, more viable and more fun.

“‘Bike to work’ started in the early 1990s as a program of the Bike/Ped Task Force, to celebrate National Bike Month, which has been a program of the League of American Bicyclists organization,” says Claudia Nix of Liberty Bikes. The name was changed to “Strive Not To Drive” in ‘97 to include other modes of transportation — walking, bussing, carpooling and (for some rule-benders) skateboarding. 

“Some folks thought it was anti-car but it wasn't,” says Nix. “It was devised to encourage folks to become more fit, improve our air quality and save our planet by trying some other ways of getting around.”

Part of the challenge of getting around car-free is getting from point A to point B without looking like a spandex-clad, sweat-dunked, Richard Simmons groupie. OK, that may be overstating the situation a little bit, but there is a conception that getting to the office by bike requires lycra, butt-padding and helmet-head. Things that don’t really translate to to business meetings, however Asheville-ified those meetings might be.

And that’s the idea behind the multi-modal fashion show, launched in 2010 with help from cycling enthusiast (and former Xpress food writer) Hanna Raskin. There are plenty of local designers and boutiques who make and stock apparel that translates easily from cycling and strolling to offices, meeting, desks, counters and classrooms. This year, Xpress and Asheville On Bikes have teamed up to produce the multi-modal fashion show.

Here’s how it works: As part of SNTD week, the show takes place on Tuesday, May 22 at the Magnetic Field. Stop by early for drinks and dinner (the Magnetic Field has a full menu). The fashion show starts at 7:30 p.m. with styles from Rhetorical Factory, Sew Moe, BioWheels, HoneyPot, Benign By Design, Push Skateshop, Recycled Cyclist and ProBikes. Jen Lazaun of LaZoom Tours emcees, local celebrity models strut the catwalk to an all-local soundtrack. Stay from 8-9 p.m. for a trunk show of multi-modal wearables by participating boutiques and designers.

Here’s what you’ll see: Real clothes for real people (no haute couture or sky-high heels here). Check out upcycled bike gear, messenger bags, skate-friendly wear, “Stashpack” belts with pockets, bicycle-oriented menswear and accessories. (You might see some of the multi-modal wear off the runway, too — Bethany Adams of Rhetorical Factory is donating 100 recycled handkerchiefs to be passed out at the commuter stations.) Like what you see on stage? Shop the trunk show on the Magnetic Field’s patio.

So ride, walk, bus or carpool to the multi-modal fashion show on Tuesday and get gussied up for the full week (and thereafter) of alternative transportation.

— Alli Marshall can be reached at

what: Strive Not to Drive Fashion Show
where: The Magnetic Field
when: Tuesday, May 22 (7:30 p.m. Free. Trunk show to follow)

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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