New York Magazine recently plotted this Pony Pal bike on the “despicable” end of its weekly back-page Approval Matrix. Invective hurled at an object with a soft and silky synthetic mane? And what of the editors’ lack of reverence for historical precedent? The forerunner of the modern bicycle, the velocipede, was after all envisioned as a mechanical horse. Miniature versions, sometimes adorned with carved horse heads, were popular among toddlers of privilege in the mid-19th century.
Ah, perhaps privilege, or the slippery slope of entitlement, is the real root of New York Magazine’s disdain. What begins innocently enough with a 12-in. Pony Pal (above) for $199.99 from Chick’s Discount Saddlery could end in adulthood with an unbridled urge to slap down a credit card for a $9,500 Fendi Abici Amante Donna bicycle fitted with hand-stitched, custom saddlebags and a pony-embossed train case. It’s a fate that’s probably befallen more than a few men and women possessed of soft and silky synthetic manes and over-sized wallets.
Despite my abiding respect for bicycling history, I guess I’ll have to join the naysayers: Parents of young children, stash an Early Rider — the hip wooden version of a velocipede — and a couple of magical My Little Pony figures under the Christmas tree and call it a day.