Sunday, July 8, 2012

Riding bikes in skirts

The NYC bike shop Vanmoof sponsored a skirt ride last summer as a light-hearted protest against the NYPD (allegedly) threatening to ticket a rider for basically wearing a too-short skirt, which got some press many months ago. As part of the event, they posted this video showing a clever way to mount a bike in a skirt without showing off your snatch. I don't think I could do this but she makes it look really easy.

The skirt ride is part of a growing trend of fusing fashion with cycling, like the cycle chic blogs whose philosophy is to convince people that cycling is a valid form of transportation for everyone.  You don't have to be a spandex-wearing road cyclist. You CAN wear normal clothes and be into bikes. You can even wear a skirt! 

If I could only give you four words of encouragement, I'd tell you: Just go for it.  Throw your leg over the seat and get going!

But, just in case cycling in a skirt for the first time makes you nervous, I compiled some additional tips.

 - Equip your bike with a skirt guard (aka coat guard) or rear fender. A rear rack will also serve the purpose of a fender. This will help prevent longer, flowing skirts from getting caught in your chain or rear spokes, which can only end badly.  Here's instructions on how to make your own skirt guard.  

Chain guard and skirt guard
Rear fender with homemade skirt guard
Beautiful fender from Fast Boy Fenders

If she didn't have a fender she would be eating asphalt with no skirt on.  Please sit ON the back of your skirt.

- For long skirts, tie it up.  If you don't have a fender or chain guard this may be a good option.  Sit on the back of  your skirt and make sure that knot isn't going anywhere.


- Opt for knee-length to mid-thigh skirts with an A-line cut, pleats, or a narrow cut with some stretch to it.   You want it long enough so you can sit on the back part of the skirt and pedal without flashing everyone.  You also want it roomy or stretchy enough to mount and dismount easily.  Loose, fluttery skirts and wrap skirts that will billow when you get up to speed, so you may want to wear something extra underneath (see below for ideas).

Knee length summer dress, from The Sartorialist
A knee-length A-line.  Easy.

A short stretchy skirt.

Rocking a full sized skirt... hope it's not windy!

- My favorite option: Tights or leggings!  I have a pair of black ankle-length tights that I wear with skirts a lot, they go with everything!

from Pinterest

Tie that puppy down with a bike garter DIY options include headband + paperclip.


- Wear a slip.  A ruffly one can take up the volume of a short, full skirt.


- Wear shorts under your skirt.  For rides longer than 30 min I almost always wear cycling shorts because bike shorts are awesome. The extra padding helps cushion and pull moisture, which is really necessary to stay comfortable on longer rides. You could also wear unpadded bike shorts, running shorts, or even a pair of lacy bloomers.  You can always take them off when you get where you're going.  (If you wear cycling shorts, don't forget to pack a pair of underwear!)


- Last resort: wear a cute pair of underwear, keep your knees together, and hope for the best! You don't want to be in a situation where you have to decide between holding down your skirt and braking to avoid an accident.  (In that case, always choose the brakes!)  But modesty and NYPD aside, what's the worst that can happen?  




More tips for riding bikes in skirts and dresses:

Edit: included regular shorts in addition to bike shorts 

1 comment:

Chris said...

I prefer just to wear a pair of (unpadded) shorts underneath. That way, I don't have to worry about getting on and off the bike or pedaling. It's so much easier, I think, and especially when I ride in the summer it's so much more comfortable to be in a skirt with shorts underneath, and minimal changing once I get to my destination.