Everyday Cycling PinUps

By Sarah Ripplinger

These cyclists from Chicago aren’t your average PinUp girls. They’re racers, commuters and recreational riders whose striking images will be laid bare in the Thought You Knew (TyK) 2011 calendar, the third in the series.

“TyK shows exactly how sexy an active lifestyle of biking makes a lady,” said TyK founder and producer Alexis Finch. “Yes! We have asses and thighs! We have calves that challenge the widest of boots! And we are an amazingly sexy bunch.”

TyK takes women cyclists from the streets of Chicago and gives them a chance to show another side of themselves. Freed from assumptions and stereotypes, these cyclists get to define what their version of sexy is. The calendar explores who they are as individuals and cyclists.

Said Finch: “the end result looks amazing. It proves that it doesn’t take a model to make a sexy photo, while at the same time letting every lady who participates realize what an exhausting job modeling is, and how unreal all those photos they see really are.”

There’s a men’s calendar, too.

“After much clamor and demand we created a venue for guys to do their part for The Chicago Women’s Health Center,” said Finch. “Last year we presented them as SuperHeroes. This year, we’re taking it back and going totally 1980s with the guys reimagined as classic 1980s TV shows.”

The 2010 TyK calendar was distributed to cities across the United States and grabbed attention and wall space in places as far flung as Shanghai, Toronto and London.

One hundred percent of TyK calendar sales goes to the Chicago Women’s Health Center (CWHC), a nonprofit health center that has been providing affordable health care and education to women and trans people since 1975. CWHC’s mission is to respect each individual’s unique relationship with her body and sexuality, and recognize the importance this plays in providing quality health care. Most notably, CWHC provides services to all clients, regardless of ability to pay.

“I think it’s important with a project like this to give back to women,” said Finch. “We’re talking about ownership of our bodies here, and Chicago Women’s Health Center, through education and health care, is doing that every day.”

TyK is made possible thanks to the work of volunteers who donate their time to website design, calendar layout, photography and hair and makeup.

As for whether there will be a calendar next year, Finch said: “As of right now? Yes.”

Next year, Finch would also like to make it possible for women across the US to get involved.

“There are a few who are on the ‘hot list’ from NY, Boston, Philly, Portland and Milwaukee as possible pinups for next year,” she said. “But with scheduling and funds it will be a tricky thing to make it happen.”

“One way or another, it’s going to be hot.”

TyK’s Gala-Gallery Launch party is scheduled for Friday, November 19 from 6-10 p.m. at the Chicago Coworking Space. Calendars will be on sale, as well as art prints of all the PinUps and 80s TV Stars. Complimentary cocktails will be served.

Calendars are available through the thoughtyouknew.us website.

Find out more about TyK by visiting their Facebook page.

Originally published on momentummag.com.

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