Monday, June 4, 2007

No fears... you can bike in anything

I thought I would touch on some subjects that prevents people from biking. If you are a woman, who loves the "girl" outfits, never fear! Biking in a skirt and heals is easier than you think.

I work roughly 3.5 miles from my condo, and commute everyday, rain or shine. In any given week I wear skirts probably 3-5 days of the week. I love riding in a skirt! Not only is it more forgiving than those tight jeans, it also lets free breeze in places that might not see that very often!
Here are some tips if you are thinking of commuting by bike, but still want to stay your feminine self: (in random order)
  • Make sure it is a skirt that has a little give. If you cannot take large steps in the skirt, you probably will not be able to even sit in the seat, or have room for your legs to pedal.

  • Entering and exiting the bike is easy with step-through models, however I own a road bike (women's) so I just tilt the bike a little and try not to show the world too much.

  • During cold spells, I still love skirts! Tights are a riders best friend and now they come in so many colors and styles, have fun!

  • Also, I use a lot of leg warmers. These can be easily made by chopping off the arms of sweaters your husband stuck in the dryer.

  • If all else fails for warmth, wear a pair of pants, and take them off when you get to your destination.

  • Skirt Fly-aways - For the most part I do not have a problem with the skirt flying up because I never wear skirts above my knee, but if you do I found a tip on how to avoid flashing your hoo-ha to the motorists: Here is my solution to skirts that flip up: find an elastic band that fits around your thigh (I use a headband, but you could use a garter if you’re feeling VERY diva), then attach a safety pin to it, and slip it on 6 inches or so above your knee. When you get on your bike, fasten that safety pin to the inside of your skirt. The skirt stays down! If you’re feeling very demure, you could do this on both legs, but one usually does the trick.

  • I have worn really long skirts too. You really need to be careful of the fabric getting caught in the back tire and/or chain. What I have done is grabbed the skirt and wrapped it around my wrist while riding. It creates a little parachute, but works none-the-less. One attachment you can get for your bikes are dress guards. They go around the back wheel and prevent long skirts and coats from getting caught in the spokes. Almost every bike in Holland looked like this one:
  • Heels are not as bad as you think. Personally I do not wear heals that often (I had hip surgery a year ago, so I stick to flats) but the times where I need to wear that heel, I usually carry them in my bag and change when I get to work. However, here is some other advice: Platform shoes may require you to move your seat up, and stilettos can get jammed in the pedals. Wedge heels are perfect. Whatever you wear, just make sure to keep the ball of your foot on the pedal and let your kitten heel swing in the breeze.

  • I stopped using a blow dryer in the mornings, not because of split ends, but the breeze from riding is a natural blow dryer... very convenient!

  • Carry deodorant with you, and body spray wouldn't hurt either. When I get to work, I am usually a little sweaty (wait, girls don't sweat they glisten) and then I go climb 5 flights of stairs because I refuse to ride on an elevator unless absolutely necessary. These essential items are nice for freshening myself before strutting into the office.

  • Dresses apply all the same rules, however there has been times I will wear pants under my skirt or dress and then remove them when I arrive.

Riding is fun. Being outside feels good. Try it. Comment me if you have questions. LOVE.


Anonymous said...

Any suggestions on where to find a dress guard? I'm definitely interested in acquiring one, as I've had skirts get entangled in my bike's rear wheel spokes in the past. Thanks for any help you can offer in tracking one down.

Parimal Mandke said...

Your write up on women bikers wearing skirts is interesting!

You should sometime visit India. Women here wear an ankle length dress known as a sari. This is a 6 yard long piece of cloth wound around the waist over an ankle length petticoat made of light fabric.

Women in India ride bicycles quite fearlessly wearing sarees : even I do the same !! Some even carry their small boys or girls on the front seat. Frames used are the standard loop frames. Nothing can beat the sight of a woman landing on a saddle dressed in a flowing sari. Do visit India someday

Parimal Mandke

Zakkaliciousness said...

What a lovely blog. I'm the proprietor of Copenhagen Cycle Chic and it is always refreshing to see likeminded individuals blogging about what is, for us in Copenhagen, second nature. Namely biking in normal clothes.

With regards to skirtguards, I've understand that they are very difficult to come by in North America... while you can hardly find a bike without in Europe.

Here's a good link for making one yourself.

May said...

Well said.

fanatizzare said...

Hi! I found your blog when you posted it on April's status message on facebook. Cycling in a skirt? I was interested. Glad I clicked.. I love the article. It made me laugh. :D

I haven't been able to cycle for awhile and I am EAGER to get out on the roads again. I'll be out there soon, skirts, pants, whatever. ;)