19 June 2009

Cycling in Skirts and Dresses - The Cycle Chic Guide #3

We might as well get it over with. It's high time to tackle it. Answering that question of questions about our cycling culture. Here's the Cycle Chic Guide to Bicycle Commuting #3:

How do you ride a bicycle in a skirt?!

I think we've been putting it off for so long because it really is a strange question to ask Copenhagen women. In a way, it's like asking a peroxide blonde, Texan, trailer-trash mamma "How can you shoot a gun in that NRA t-shirt?!"

"Y'all just do it, bubba. Now git off my lawn."

Being a male of the species - and not a Scottish or Fijian one at that - I don't consider myself an expert on the subject. In order to answer the question I figured I'd ask the experts. The cycling women of Copenhagen. Every one of them has tried it at some point. But as there are roughly 250,000 of them each day on our bike lanes, I figured we'd narrow it down.

So... I asked a few of Cycle Chic's favourite Danish fashion bloggers. Cycling Copenhagen women with their style on fire and their bicycle basket filled with shopping bags.

First up, Susanne from Modlerstyle. Designer and stylist, too.
Queen. Victoria.
Wifealiciousness... in a dress... on a bicycle.

"How do I cycle in a skirt?! I just cycle... in a skirt! If it's a long, loose dress, it's obviously easy. If it's a tight skirt, I just pull it up a bit and cycle with my knees a bit closer together - one is, after all, feminine. I'll get to where I'm going either way."

Um... okay. That seems pretty straightforward. Already I'm feeling silly for asking the question.
Cycle Chic Guide to Cycling in a Skirt
Very airy.

So what does the always charming Marie, from Marienade have to say? Surely there is more to it that all that?

"I live dangerously - so I put on a dress. Mount my bicycle. Start pedalling. And let the wind decide if my knickers will be introduced to the world."

Uh... that was pretty simple. Casual. Just as straightforward. Which is how I suspect the whole art of riding a bicycle in a skirt or dress is. Brilliant! Thanks, Marie.
Cycle Chic Guide to Riding in Skirts
Devil may care, but why should you?

Let's see what Mr & Mrs Cycle Chic's favourite fashion blogger has to say. Bloggerella will surely provide us with some insight.

"How to ride a bike in a skirt? First things first - you need to be wearing a skirt. So step away from the spandex. Put on a skirt and preferably a pair of heels and hop on your bike heading for work.

There are, however, some pitfalls to be avoided. If like me, you're not into excessive thigh flashing, keep in mind that short and tight skirts tend to ride a bit up while pedalling along. And a usually decent wrap-around skirt can, with one little puff of wind, burst the thigh-flash-o-meter.

That being said you can take all the precautions and still be revealed by a single gust. In that case do a little damage control and hold on to the skirt Marilyn Monroe style."

Okay. Maybe now we're getting somewhere. And when Bloggerella refers to Marilyn Monroe style, here's what she means:
Cycle Chic Guide to Cycling in a Skirt
The fine art of casually placing a hand in your lap while riding. It makes you appear frightfully cool and it serves a anti-wind gust function.

Let's hear from the eternally cool Acie at Agurkeliv.
Copenhagen Cycle Chic Guide to Cycling in Skirts
Acie from Agurkeliv on her bicycle.

"Loving short skirts... and cycling, too. I was 4½. It was summer. It was yellow - my new bike. My new bike without training wheels. It was love.

The kind of love that I would later develop for short skirts, dresses and high heels too. However, the love for my bike never faded - as time passed and I got older it changed in size, color and style. But I always loved it. The same goes for my skirts and dresses – they changed in size (...dammit!), colour and style (some would say that they just got shorter and shorter...). But I always loved them too.

Cycling in short skirts is sort of like walking in high heels. To those who are not used to it, it’s scary, a little strange and considered unnecessary. To those who do it every day, it’s nothing.

When I ride around Copenhagen in skirts I always I always have one hand free to ensure that the skirt doesn’t move too far north. Constantly pulling the skirt down is, however, not necessary. The hand is a safety option. Insurance. Like having a pair of back-up flats in your purse.

In most cases the skirt will stay where it’s intended, if you make sure to ride with your knees pointing slightly inwards. And as is also the case with walking in high heels it’s a matter of practice. It’s about daring to try!"

Thanks, Acie! So, another great bit of advice from yet another Copenhagener who knows what she's talking about. She mentioned the 'hand in the lap' move and the 'knees in' tip, too.
Cycle Chic Guide to Cycling in a Skirt
Get your knees in, Mother Brown.


Last but certainly not least, let's give the podium to Kia from the splendidly named Fierce og Fattig på SU! blog. That translates as Fierce and Broke on Student Subsidies!

"Cycling in a skirt in Copenhagen is rumoured to be a challenge. I cycle often around Copenhagen in skirts and dresses and my mantra is simply "Just do it." If you're 'unlucky' you can comfort yourself by thinking that you probably made a lot of men's day. It comforts me when a gust of wind suddenly causes more men to find me extremely interesting.!

Thanks, so much Kia! We appreciate your point of view.

So there you have it. Seems all quite simple, really. Of course, at the end of the day, this post is a bit superfluous. About 8 and a half minutes after the Safety bicycle was invented about 120 years ago, there was a woman riding it in a skirt. And then another one. And so on.
Cycle Chic Guide to Cycling in a Skirt
History repeats itself or history never stopped doing it?

Which begs the eternal Cycle Chic question... if it's normal and has been normal for over a century, why are people out there trying to sell you "cycling clothes" and all sorts of crap you don't need?

Anyway, here's a unique Copenhagen angle to the Cycling in Skirts and Dresses question. The advantages of cycling on a cargo bike are many, and Copenhageners, if anyone, have discovered that. There are about 30,000 cargo bikes in the city. Demographically, it is mostly families who have one. But the cargo bike provides the Supermums of Copenhagen with an added feature. If you're wearing a short skirt, you are conveninently placed behind the cargo bay, which is handy if you're the type who worries about wind gusts et al.
Cycle Chic Guide to Cycling in Skirts
Cargo bike protection.

As you all may have noticed I have quite a few photos of people cycling in Copenhagen. For this post I went through my Cycle Chic set on Flickr to look for illustrative photos of Copenhageners cycling in skirts. I found... um... over 250. Including photos from Paris, Japan and other countries. I probably missed some but I wasn't really concentrating. Nevertheless, I put them in an independent set. You can see it in a slideshow right here. Make a cup of coffee, lean back and be inspired. Photos tell the story.

If you're pressed for time, I narrowed the 250 down to a Director's Cut of my favourites. 42 in all, also viewable in convenient slideshow format for your viewing pleasure.

And ladies, let's hear from you about riding in skirts or dresses!


Unknown said...

Hey- I was hoping you'd make a post like this! I have read in other places on the net that if you take a stretchy headband and place it on your upper thigh, you can attach it to your skirt via a safety pin. This will provide ample protection against wind gusts while still letting you look chic in a skirt!
Hope this helped

Katrine said...

what a lovely post! made me terribly jealous of you and your city. hand on the thigh is usually my method of choice whilst bicycling in a skirt, especially the loose, billowy type.

my hyggelig said...

the basket is also a skirted girls best friend...

Cosmo said...

I was really excited today to take my first bike ride in a skirt. I found myself doing the knees in thing and the hand in lap before I even found this lovely post. I am glad to know that I am not a skirt cycling freak. I am trying to cycle more and wear skirts more. Yay for this awesome blog! I'm going to have to link to this post on My new blog.

Adrienne Johnson said...

Let 'em look up your skirt. It is a public service. Just wear clean undies and all will be well

Tapia said...

Three cheers for the reality check!!! Riding in a skirt is no more difficult than riding in spandex and neon whatevers. Even here in Alaska, I ride all Winter long in skirts and dresses. The key in winter is my fabulously tall sheepskin boots, some funky knitted stockings, and my handlebar coffee cup holder! Long live the sexy cyclists;)

Colville-Andersen said...

after a few decades of branding cycling as a male-dominated, gearhead bike freak sports activity, it's great to hear you're all keeping it normal, real and feminine, ladies!


Lovely Bicycle! said...

Cute article, but a little condescending. I think the concerns about skirts go beyond the "Oh my Gawd, will they see my underpants?" issue.

I cycle in skirts, and here are at least 2 real problems I can report:

1. Flowing skirt goes into the spokes. This happened to me the very first time I tried to ride a bike without a dress-guard while wearing a fluttery skirt. This does not happen with all skirts, but with some it does, and it is dangerous.

2. Short skirt catches the back of the saddle when rider tries to dismount. This is extremely dangerous and I have seen women fall off their bikes this way. When the woman stands up to pedal, or even while sitting, the back of a short skirt can travel up and out from under her butt, so that the hem falls over the back of the saddle. The woman does not notice -- until she tries to dismount and the hem catches on the saddle, making her lose her balance and fall down, together with the bike. When I wear a short skirt, I have to constantly check with my hand that the back hem is under my butt and not over the back of the saddle, and after I stand up to pedal, I have to physically guide the skirt into proper position before I sit back down.

I wear skirts and dresses almost every day and am all for cycling in them. But there are real safety factors to be aware of while doing this, and not just silly stuff like whether your underwear will show.

Colville-Andersen said...

I think 'dangerous' is an extreme exaggeration.

Tipping over while dismounting? "Extremely dangerous?" Come on. That would make walking down stairs in a tight skirt and heels "death-defying", I suppose.

You say it yourself; You check your back hem. Women in skirts check their hem when they sit down at a café, of course they're going to do it in other situations. I doubt they'll "forget" this reflex when mounting a fine velocipede.

Flowing skirts are best served with a skirtguard, yes. Or as it's called in Denmark, "coat guard". But seriously, you may ruin your hem but that's about it. 120 years of skirts on bikes. If this was a problem, we would have heard about it, I'm sure.

At the end of the day, hundreds of thousands of women, if not millions, who cycle daily all over the world in skirts and dresses can't be wrong.

While skirtguards are standard issue on new womens bicycles, if you look at the slideshow you'll see that many Copenhageners don't have them. They manage just fine.

Lovely Bicycle! said...

Indeed, women who cycle in skirts and dresses are not "wrong". As I wrote earlier, I wear skirts almost every day.

But those of us who do it (including, I am sure, Dutch women) have consciously or unconsciously adapted a variety of gestures, maneuvers and tactics to make this practice safe. Your article makes no mention of that.

While I understand that your goal is to present cycling as something fun and risk-free, I do not always agree with your style of commentary and method of advice-giving. There is more to cycling in a skirt than "Step away from the trousers/ Put on a skirt/ Mount a bicycle/ Good girl!"

With all due respect and admiration.

Lovely Bicycle! said...

typo: the above comment was meant to say "Danish and Dutch women" in parentheses in the 2nd par.

Ahoy! said...

Been falling a couple of times biking in my spandex tights, but I've (surprisingly?) never fell biking with a skirt! I suppose it's because I bike slower with my office clothes; I'm more careful not to scratch them or dirty them, so consequently, I bike more carefully.

I guess if you bike often enough, you can avoid falls better too, regardless of what you're wearing. The hem of my rain jacket (which I wear when I do bike tours in spandex) snag at the back of the seat, but since I already know this could happen, I'm more careful when I dismount. Snagging skirt hems have never happened to me, however. Maybe it depends on your saddle type?

Colville-Andersen said...

The article doesn't mention 'safety' simply because homo sapiens have a fine, built in ability to assess their own risk. Cycling in skirts or dresses does not, for me, constitute anything remotely dangerous.

If I wished to condescend, I would have mentioned 'safety' and, in the process, I'd be telling these intelligent women that they're too stupid to figure it out for themselves.

I don't wish to do that.

Nærmest Løkkelig said...

I always wear a skirt and I have been biking almost every day since I was a child. I have never experienced either of these socalled dangerous situations.
But of course I - like most other women here - ride a classic sit up and beg style bike. Or as we call them: bedstemorcykel = grandma bike :-)
But really, I think you are overcomplicating something very simple. Mikael is right, there's nothing more to it than to get on the bike and to get on with it.

Anonymous said...

Well, I for one appreciate the little safety tips. Not because I think skirt + bicycle = death. But they are a couple of things I've never thought of. Nothing wrong with someone giving a "heads up" about a couple of possible complications.

Lovely Bicycle! said...

There are things that feel like second nature to some people -- because they grew up doing those things -- but are not necessarily obvious to others. If you feel that to be unreasonable, I guess there is no arguing with it. Fair enough.

Anonymous said...

Ah, so that's how they do it!

Anonymous said...

As it happens I have ridden in a leine (Scottish/Irish men's dress) and brat (the cloak that ironically evolved into a man's skirt); as well as a Fijian lava lava.

Kimono too ( I have thing for traditional eastern dress).

I don't do the kilt thing. It isn't Scottish, it's British military ( which is why there are all those silly "rules" about wearing one "correctly"), but that's a rant for another day.

Being of the gentlemanly persuasion I haven't exactly been doing this all my life and have found the general technique to be - mount the bike, push down on the peddle thingies and the wheel thingies go around.

Yes, there are indeed little tricks and adjustments to be made. Yes there is the odd pitfall to be avoided, but they tend to be specific to a garment.

Thus one learns them, as one inherently must, the way these things have always been learned - get on with it and adapt while doing.

Oddly enough the only garment that gives me real trouble on a bike is my masculine long riding duster, and that because it is made for riding. The split tail does tend to foul in the spokes. I might have to stick to the short one; or apply a coat guard.

dyrlægen said...

My uncle was a doctor in a scottish regiment.
He used a ladies' step-through bicycle for modest dismounts, and in windy weather advocated placing something heavy in the sporran.

I hope this is of help.

Anonymous said...

". . .peddle. . ."

My proof reader has been sacked.

lagatta à montréal said...

I love riding in a skirt - I don't wear shorts except for doing housework or athletic stuff, perhaps I'd cycle in shorts in the countryside but not in town, and trousers are very hot in the summer. And skirts are much more practical on cold, rainy days, with warm tights or leggings - so much easier to take another pair of those than to change trousers, or goddess-forbid, wear those hideous plastic things that cover your trousers.

No mini-skirts for me in my 50's and not a long Nordic goddess type; at the knee or a bit longer and fuller.

I do agree that the safety tips are handy for those of us who have not cycled every day since childhood. I grew up not being allowed to cycle as a little girl (my brother could, of course). At least we are over that double-standard nonsense.

With the new bixi scheme here I see more and more women cycling in skirts - and well-dressed men on bicycles as well.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, my experience was not a happy one. I had on a lovely, loose red patterned skirt, one of my favourites. It got caught in the back wheel spokes at a most inopportune time - while surrounded by heavy traffic and dodging potholes. But the most distressing part was that I got black grease on the skirt that now won't wash off. If the Copenhagen women have any tips on getting grease off your clothes, I would be most grateful for the information. In the meantime, no skirt cycling for me until I figure out a way to put skirt guards on my bike (which, of course, are sold no where in Canada).


Anonymous said...

White vinegar or lemon juice will do the trick. Depending on the fabric and dyes you might want to dilute it a bit and remove the grease over a few goes, presoak before gentle hand washing of the trouble spot. PAT the surface grease off, Rubbing will only work it into the fabric fibers.

Again depending on the fabric, tie tacks and small souvenir pins can be used to make temporary fasteners to keep flowing garments under control. For fabrics that will show holes if you stick a pin through them binder clips work great, if a bit less fashionable.

A small coin and a piece of string can also be used to make a temporary, no hole, no sewing button. Just put the two layers of fabric together and push the coin into them. On the other side tie a loop of string around the coin. Untie the string, back to normal.

Colville-Andersen said...

what we do here Chez Cycle Chic is soak the spot in dish detergent overnight and then wash it as normal.

Jenn (TinyChoices.com) said...

First off, I can't find a skirt/coat guard in the U.S. to retrofit for my bike-- if anyone knows of a resource, I'd be much obliged. So yes, this is a bigger issue for us stateside riders than for you in true biking cultures-- only very specialized new and expensive bicycles are sold with skirtguards. I keep a rubber band on my handlebar to gather up long skirts in a bunch, so they don't go into the spokes-- works well-- but long coats are another story.

ashley said...

The first time I had been on a bike since the age of five was a few summers ago. I was determined to wear my new wrap skirt and, while biking, was pleased with my progress until a gust of wind lifted my skirt nearly up to my face. In front of a baptist church. As everyone was exiting at the end of the service. Needless to say I invested in a high quality bike accessory: the safety pin. :)

Anonymous said...

Here is a place where you can order a skirt guard in the US:

I think its also pretty easy to sew one up or use some netting. I made one for my bike

rosemary x said...

i have to say, with the title "how do you ride a bike in a skirt?" i too was confused as to why there was NO mention of safety issues. it never even really occurred to me that the post would be about exposing ones self.

i ride a bike every day, to and from work, and everywhere else. and i wear skirts almost exclusively. i have had several mishaps with longer flowing skirts. the worst was when it was caught in my back brake, not my spokes. it was close to disastrous. i'm not saying that bicycling in a skirt is overly hazardous, but i was still glad to see the suggestions people made in the comments! yay!

if someone needs tips on how to keep their panties from showing then why wouldn't they need tips on how to keep the skirt from the spokes? doesn't that lack of knowledge about skirted bicycle riding kinda go hand in hand?

love the blog. its one of my favorites...keep it up!


Caroline said...

I'm surprised no-one's mentioned that biking in a dress or skirt is WAY more comfortable than riding in jeans or other pants. No inseams, no excess fabric bulging above the foot, and esp during the summer: YAY for that breeze all over (or in this case, I guess, under.)

Eva said...

Lovely post! I often wear a pair of thin, soft cotton exercise shorts underneath my skirts. This combats the riding-up and Marilyn Monroe problems that can occur with tighter and more flowing skirts respectively. More to the point, the shorts wick away sweat when I'm pedaling hard, leaving my skirts. I don't mind flashing my knickers on occasion, as the wind decrees, but the shorts eliminate the distraction of keeping the skirt in place when I've got to pay attention to heavy traffic.

Thank you for not being so concerned with 'safety'. I agree with your assessment that this is a personal and garment-specific issue, and I've found that long coats and wide-legged trousers present as much or more of a safety hazard as skirts. I have had my short pencil skirts catch on the saddle occasionally (in the front, not the back...um... I ALWAYS notice if my skirt isn't under my bum anymore!!), but I'm not sure I'd classify that as 'dangerous' so much as 'embarrassing'!

mir said...

When I bike in full length skirts or dresses I grab the hem at each side seam and tie the fabric in a loose knot around itself. Its the perfect way to prevent a garment from getting caught in spokes or an exposed chain (though often results in friendly/creepy whistles). When I wear minis - I always sport a pair of short-shorts underneath (which, unsurpisingly is also a whistle generating look).

deadpossum said...

my biggest (and maybe silly) question is... how can i ride in a cute skirt and look fabulous on a bike with a horizontal top tube? please say it isn't an impossibility!

Anonymous said...

It isn't an impossibility. Simply keep it short and wear something under your skirt that looks fabulous.

See Ms. Johnson's comment.

MELI. said...

I dont think I've worn pants in about 5 years, so why should I wear any different clothes when riding my bike?! ;-)
gret post, now boys go look crisp too, Im always on the lookout, you hear that sf mates!??

Spencer said...


Any suggestions as to what constitutes, "crisp" on men (on bikes)? For those of us lacking an innate sense of style. :)

Anonymous said...

Oh your slideshow of women in skirts is just gorgeous and inspirational! (Plus, I'm drooling over those eurochic bikes) I fell just a teeny bit in love with you when you said "wifealisciousness" on one of your photo comments. I showed my husband-maybe he'll say that to me now ;).

About riding in skirts...it's delighfully fun, feels incredibly feminine, and the mild challenge and mystery of it (since you are throwing all care to the wind) makes it even more alluring.

Kristijoy said...

I am an American woman who has been riding in skirts for a young age (I grew up in Davis CA you see.) I have a DIY skirt guard on my bike I piked up from this indestructables tutorial: http://www.instructables.com/id/Quick-&-Easy-Bicycle-Skirt-Guards/

Also, to remove some of they mystery of how all those European woman avoid skits in wheels and the like, most of their bikes come with skirt guards.

Americans tend to go for sporty bikes not euro style bikes and there is a huge difference. Euro bikes are harder to find and pricey,(but lovely!) So, mod your bike ladies! It's cheep and easy! =)

I do many of the mentioned things, plus, I will wear shorts under a skirt if I really want to avoid flashing. American apparel has thin bike shots in several colors for cheep. Bloomers or tap pants are also classy cute ways to go if you are afraid of flashing.

You can also, with long skirts, turn them in to pantaloons with a large safety pin by pulling the back hem up to your front.

Safety? I have never had issue. Mussed skirts or dresses? I messed up one dress when I was 14 and have been careful ever since about tying up longer skirts until I found the DIY skirt guard. Love.

Anonymous said...

Hello. I'm Jessica and I live in windy Norwich in the UK. I use my bike for both pleasure and for work...when it's not wet!, and I nearly always wear a skirt when I ride. Usually it's either a knee length or longer flared black skirt (for work) or a shorter flippy style skirt (weekends). To avoid those embarrasing "knickers" moments I wear a slip under my skirt which usually works. I would recommend it to any lady who wants to maintain her modesty whilst riding a bike in a floaty skirt.


Anonymous said...

i am trying to convert into a bike commuter but, because i mostly wear flowy skirts, ive had trouble making the change...im really in need of a skirtguard

fortunately, i just found out that you can buy skirt guards in US from http://www.theurbanbicycle.com/

just found the site so i cannot comment on their services....

Sido said...

Has anyone had any experience with the metal skirt guards sold by Morgan Imports, LTD? They offer a set for $9.95 and I was wondering if they were worth getting.

Christa said...

"biking in a dress or skirt is WAY more comfortable than riding in jeans or other pants. No inseams, no excess fabric bulging above the foot, and esp during the summer"

So true! It seems that many new cyclists don't understand this.

Christa said...

Skirtguards are rare in the US. Many stores don't sell bikes with them so many just don't know about the option.

I usually do one of two things when cycling in a long, flowing dress:

1. Tie the skirt at one side thigh with a rubber band, or

2. Tuck in a part of the skirt while sitting. This gets complicated when you have to dismount often. (It doesn't always work and makes me nervous.)

If one has cycles with a skirtguard, does the skirt still get dirty from touching the bike? Very curious.

Sara C. said...

I think one of the only really good things I learned from Catholic School was how to ride a bike in a skirt!

Question, though - is there a way to ride a bike in a tailored pencil skirt? It's easy to hitch up a tight skirt that has a little stretch to it, but otherwise...?

Anonymous said...


"If one has cycles with a skirtguard, does the skirt still get dirty from touching the bike? Very curious."

I've got a skirt guard on my bike and tend to wear skirts daily during my commute. I've been doing it for about 5 mos since I got the skirt guard, and as far as I can tell, the guard seems to do a good job of keeping my skirts clean. no grease spots or anything that i've ever noticed. And that goes for all skirts...from floor length to short.

I really recommend it. That plus a step through frame really makes a difference.

Anonymous said...

Whatever the type of skirt or dress worn when cycling, I think it should be arranged over the saddle so that the knicker covered bum is in direct contact with the saddle.
In this way the skirt does not get marked or creased by the saddle and therefore does not look "worn" so looks better.
As for dismounting, if the saddle is positioned so that the rider can put a foot down on the road before dismounting, there is no danger of an accident.
I have seen continental women mount their bikes and then drape their skirts over the saddle after riding off. It all adds up to a sensible and safe way to preserve the appearance of skirts and dresses.

monabhee said...

ahm, hello... i think riding a bike wearing skirt is very dangerous 'cause the bike's bearing may eat up the end of your skirt and it may cause an accident...

Betsy from Vermont said...

When I was a student in England we actually rode our bikes in long formal dresses. We definitely performed a few "public service" underwear flashes, but really, it was just fine. Just a little cold with the skirts hiked way up and our pantyhose the only thing between us and the elements...

Anonymous said...

I have been cycling in skirts and dresses for years and when the need has arisen, I've done the hand on lap. But today it was SO WINDY and my modesty went out the window every two seconds. I actually had to go home and put on jeans. Think I may try the garter/safety pin trick..........

Anonymous said...

Fun article, but what's up with the peroxide blonde, texas, trailer trash mamma with the gun...?

uuuuuh come on

Emilie said...

regarding safety issues; i have never had my skirt caught in anything, however a pair of my boots had laces which get caught in the pedals, and wide legged trousers. Safety shouldnt be a matter in biking in skirts, but being careful and making sure you get the things out of the way which be problematic. that being stirring you skirt with and elasticband, making a double knot on your shoeslaces, or putting your socks over your trousers. easy as.

Anonymous said...

Terribly jealous of all you skirt wearing types, but I just can't seem to get away with it cycling the 7km to and then again from work. Besides the wind pulling it up, the frozen legs (living in Ireland we get a lot of that freezing east wind), the heckles, I'm a complete sweaty Beatty by the time I get in due to the hills, and therefore have to shower & change utilising my cycle bag. So I'll stick with the trackie bottoms till my job is on a flat route from my house!

Tankini said...

I rode to work the other day in my normal bike shorts outfit, then after showering and changing for work, later had a meeting a half-mile down the road so I figured I could bike there in dress and heels. I certainly could, but the dress that had been plenty modest at work became rather less so on my men's bike with the top tube (I am too tall for women's bikes so my only option is a man's bike). And of course, just my luck, there was a lot of construction going on in that one tiny half-mile stretch, and every single guy stopped working and ogled my way over-exposed thighs... which actually now that I think of it, wasn't such a bad thing :)

One thing that was not good at all was that my heel got firmly wedged in the top of my pedal cage, but luckily I caught it in time and was able to pull over and pull it out. No falling over at a stop light for me!

I think cycling in a dress/skirt would work for me if I had one of those girly beach bikes with no top tube, and if I weren't going too far or up too many hills (sweaty). Even then I think I'd wear padded *women's* bike shorts though because they keep me from a lot of painful discomfort, which I've learned the hard way - men's bike shorts' pads are distributed in different ways. Plus that could prevent the undies-flashing issue.

Anonymous said...

The stereotype of a peroxide blonde Texan trailer trash gun owner made me sad......I have in fact lived in a trailer in rural Texas, own a gun. I still managed to cycle to work and then do my shopping on my bike in a dress today. That coincidence of things does not necessarily exclude one from either being a cyclist, or (occasionally, in my case) chic.

However, I may have to install a skirt guard. That looks like a savior of a device in our Texas winter rains.

Anonymous said...

Riding with one hand in my lap is not my idea of cycling. Wearing opaque tights or a pair of cute "boy-short" undies under the skirt lets a girl be carefree.

Anonymous said...

So Silly - biggest problem is the cycle clothing industry - no nice, simple biking shorts for 'mature' and larger figures to be found! All are TOO short for those of us who like knee length casual skirts - including the golfing ladies. Perhaps the male dominate clothing industry needs to actually TALK to some of the general market! I am resorting to making my own 'wrap' skirt that I can wear on the bike - and also takes me into restaurants, etc when we want to bike and dine! There are NONE on the market for plus sizes!

Kelly said...

Bike shorts under the skirt is my idea. I do it a lot anyway because I have big thighs and they rub and hurt and I refuse to let this keep me from walking a lot and wearing skirts.

Iudith said...

I miss the 'how to ride a man's bike with a skirt?' part! That's what I do - ride a man's bike every day, in a skirt or dress regularly. Very long or tight ones make mounting and dismounting a bit of a challenge (pull skirt up, hold bike a bit sideways towards you), but you are sure to make some men smile :) First I felt a bit silly, but now that I've gotten the hang of it and can do it with a careless air, I enjoy it actually! And the combination of a heavy Kronan man's bike and a cute girly girly skirt makes me just feel too cool :D

Tricia said...

Hello all! I appreciate all the interesting and informative comments. The thing I've heard the most from this forum is that it's just a natural thing to do. Well, I was an extreme tomboy growing up and never developed the necessary mannerisms that come with skirt wearing, so now that I'm almost 30 and trying to get more in touch with my feminine side, combining the skirt-wearing and bike-riding is a daunting idea!

I decided to do this one day and it was extremely fun! And nerve-wracking...but I would like to do so again when the weather gets warmer. I really appreciate all the tips. I heard that for a flowy mid length dress that a binder clip to convert the skirt into pants help the dress from shifting or getting caught, but I like the safety pin/hair tie idea...

plotrick said...

Cute article, but a little condescending. I think the concerns about skirts go beyond the "Oh my Gawd, will they see my underpants?" issue.

Unknown said...

My problem is with medium to long skirts CONSTANTLY becoming entangled and stuck fast in my back brake. I was hoping this blog would talk more about this. Thank you for the few people who did bring this topic up.

Exposure problem easily solved: wear bicycle shorts underneath skirts each time you wear a skirt. That easy. Even off the bicycle wind can be a nemises so I also wear leggings.

Colville-Andersen said...

Once again, wear whatever you like. We're just debunking myths here. Regarding wearing bicycle shorts, I doubt that any more than 1 or 2% of the million or so daily female cyclists in Denmark and the Netherlands wear them or even know where to buy them.

becktesch said...

I try to wear my stretchier skirts for riding and just above knee length with a little flare is great. Some skirts just lend themselves well to it and some don't. Try out your skirts and see which are best. I sometimes wear the padded shorts under the skirt. Then if the skirt flies up they see that you're a serious athlete with the right gear! sexy with out the exposure! I do have a few skirts that are too tight or get caught on the bakc of the saddle and I just try not to wear those on days I;m riding. If I do need to wear them I just wear the cycling spandex underneath and hike the skirt up for riding and then down again for my off-bike activities. :)

ALBERTO said...

Great post! I found it very useful. Love the final result. Thanks for the inspiration and the tips. Russell

Akania said...

I live in a city with lots of hills. I need both hands to brake as cars try to mow you down and for going downhill. We don't live in a city where bikes have priority. So one hand in the lap doesn't work and is awkward the rest of the time. I need to concentrate.