Summer time means long days and better weather for most of us. (Sorry, Seattle, I am enjoying the California sunshine.) As far as bike clothing for women is concerned, it also means riding around town in your favorite skirt is as easy as 1, 2, 3.
1. Address the basics
Do you have a top tube or a step through style bike? Step through style frames offer and easier on/off and naturally accommodate a wide range of styles. If your bike has a top tube, you most definitely can still ride in a skirt. It will just require putting some of your flexibility from yoga class into action in the real world.
On and off
If you’re like me ride and “boys” frame, you’re going to have to figure out how to get your leg over the bike without giving everyone a show. Before hopping on, take a quick look around you and orient your body so you’re not facing anyone directly. Stand facing the bike with one hand on the handlebars and the other on the frame. As you swing your leg up and over the back of the bike, take the hand from the frame and grab the skirt between your legs as if you were making temporary shorts. You can also stand at the curb with your bike just a few inches lower on the street in front of you to reduce how high your leg needs to go.
Depending on your bike, you may also find that it’s actually easier to throw your leg over the other way around the front and over the handlebars.
Stopping and standing
Think about how you stop and wait at a red light. Do you typically stand over the tube? Sit on the seat with one foot on the ground? Give your skirt-bike combo a test run in the privacy of your own backyard or on a short ride to avoid any peekaboo-boos. This will also show you whether the back of your skirt is likely to get hung up on the front part of the seat as you slide back and start pedaling again.
Feel the breeze
Coasting down a hill is one of the most enjoyable parts about riding, so don’t let your fashion choice ruin the fun. Light fabrics tend to catch air more easily. If the skirt is roomy, there’s usually enough fabric that you can make a tuck between your knee and the top tube or between your butt and the seat. If you want to eliminate all possibility of flashing, throw on a pair of leggings, shorts, or a bike garter underneath. You can always take stuff off again when you get to work or wherever.
2. Pick a bike-friendly skirt shape in a bike-friendly fabric
A-line skirts tend to be my favorite style of skirt for riding a bicycle because they flare at the hem and allow a wide range of motion when getting on and off the bike.
As with the A-line, the generously cut circle skirt is a natural choice when riding. It’s easy to wear and very forgiving on a bike. These skirts often fall near the knee and lend an element of sophistication when you’re on two wheels.\
Bubble skirts also fare well and help maintain modesty by staying close to your legs in a breeze. Look for one in cotton blend for a little extra stretch.
A long, flowing gypsy skirt is probably as feminine as it gets. If your bike has a chain guard and a skirt guard or fenders, you’re probably ready to rock this look. In a long skirt, you don’t have to worry about the wind sharing your, ahem, bare essentials with the world.
Unless you have a step through frame, avoid attempting to ride in a pencil skirt or a tube skirt. You’ll probably be fine once you’re on the bike saddle, but getting to that point can be very tricky. And the last thing you want to do is topple over while getting on your bike and wind up underneath your bike on the sidewalk. (Let’s just say I learned this lesson for you.)
3. Ride in style
Choosing to ride in a skirt is about making your bicycle part of your daily life. Wear what feels good and looks good rather than a set of fancy cycling gear. Spread the love to fellow women riders by letting them know how great they look and smile with confidence when non-riders ask you whether you’re going to ride in “that!”