Bicycling in a Wedding Dress

My friend Jeremy is planning his wedding and wants to ride off afterward with his new bride on their tandem bicycle. They have a very cool set-up where they commute to work together 20 miles on their drop bar tandem, so they are experienced tandem riders (in fact, they have a whole blog about tandem cycling, Honking in Traffic). The problem is how to secure her wedding dress to prevent it from getting wound up in the drivetrain.

Extra complication: there’s a chain on both sides in the stoker’s position, drivetrain on the right, timing chain on the left. Alas, the tandem is not equipped with chain- and wheel-guards and step-through frames…

You can read the full explanation here.

Wedding Tandem

Wedding Tandem

Weather Girl via Great Full Day

Imagining how best to wear a wedding dress while riding a bike is hard for me, as my wedding dress had a very full skirt with multiple layers of silk and chiffon. Pedaling a bike – especially one with an exposed chain – would have been pretty much impossible.

The Dotties

The Dotties

Depending on how full her dress is, she may be able to hike it up like this lovely tandem bride.

If her dress is simply too full, there are ways to incorporate a bicycle that don’t involve drivetrains and pedaling. For example, she could ride in a cargo bike while he pedals.

Or they could both ride in a pedicab, like this bicycle wedding.

Wedding Pedicab

Wedding Pedicab

She could change into a traditional going-away outfit with a shorter skirt. This would solve all the problems, but would not be nearly as fun as riding in full wedding attire.

Real life wedding tandem

Real life wedding tandem

6:8 Photography via Intimate Weddings

Shorter dress, no problem

Shorter dress, no problem

Laura Normandin via {frolic}

Trisha pointed out that they could create a temporary skirt guard in their wedding colors for the occasion. There are a couple of DIY skirt guard tutorials out there on the web: Instructables and Cycling Chicken both have examples. Also, she could tell the shop creating her bustle that she’ll be biking in the dress, and they could construct something a little different, or at least make sure it pins up high enough in the back that she won’t be sitting on it in the saddle.

Does anyone else have any ideas or tips? Has anyone incorporated bikes or cycling into their wedding? Someone out there must have thought of this before! :)

EDIT to add: The top idea contender may be Hannah changing into a special wedding-themed cycling outfit. This idea has so many possibilities! Thanks to reader Ruth who send us this fab picture of her own wedding tandem ride. Very cool!

Ruth's Wedding Ride!

Ruth's Wedding Ride!

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24 thoughts on “Bicycling in a Wedding Dress

  1. Melanie says:

    I think a cargo bike would serve well here- toss the bride in the bucket of a Madsen (www.madsencycles.com) or on the plank of an Xtracycle (www.xtracycle.com) and certainly she would be good to go- and what better way to start life together than with a highly functional cargo-bike?

  2. Lorenza says:

    I like the idea of cargo bike too :) I’d love a Christiana danish cargo bike ;)

    Since going to Copenhagen I’ve been wanting one ever since… now I need to convince PB I’ll be using it every day… ok maybe he will with me in it ;) x

  3. Katie says:

    Well, I’ve certainly never ridden in a wedding dress, however, I often ride in very full skirts. I have to prevent them from getting caught in my back wheel, and it was a glorious day when I discovered my now tried and true method. A clothes pin. I gather up all of the extra fabric and pin it on the front, kind of mid-thigh region. It works really well and stays in place even as I vigorously peddle uphill, standing up, etc. So, I suppose that Jeremy’s betrothed could utilize a series of strategic clothes pins.

    Oh! OR. Is she going to bustle her dress/train for the reception? She could get her seamstress to do a “bike bustle” and have it gathered and secured at the right places, then maybe undo them at the reception and leave only the more traditional bustle.

  4. pomocomo says:

    Thanks for the long post and all the great ideas. I also love that one of the videos you posted was shot right on Franklin St in Chapel Hill. You ladies are too good. The cargo bike is fun idea, though we already fight the sexist stereotype that the man up front on the tandem does all the work (I don’t) that, as much fun as it would be to bundle my bride in the cargo bucket, we should probably ride together! We’ll keep you posted.

    • dottie says:

      The sexist stereotype of men’s and women’s roles in tandem riding sounds interesting. I’d love to hear more about that. A guest post by Hannah, perhaps?

      I didn’t notice that the first video was on Franklin Street. Chapel Hillians are too cool :)

  5. Impressive! I must say that I would not be able to commute for 20 miles every day on a tandem, especially as the stoker.

    The idea of a tandem wedding is super romantic. The ultimate tandem wedding photo:

    Sheldon Brown (RIP) and Harriet Fell

  6. Ghost Rider says:

    Roll that skirt up to knee-height (or a bit higher), clothespin it in place and let it rock.

    Some of my best friends rode off to their honeymoon on bicycles, but they changed into appropriate gear beforehand. They still dragged cans and streamers behind their bikes, but didn’t have to contend with skirts or tuxedo pants.

    And congratulations to the soon-to-be-married couple!

  7. Ruth says:

    My husband and I rode our tandem from our church ceremony to the reception, about 20 miles away. I had a long wedding dress and didn’t want to worry about getting grease on the fabric. I ended up keeping my veil on, and changed to a white jersey and a white tennis skort (with bike shorts underneath). It worked out perfectly and the white outfit and veil was enough for everyone to notice. It was our most memorable bike ride, with cars honking as the passed by and other cyclists that we passed wishing us well. It also gave us some time alone together to just enjoy the fact that we had just gotten married.

    When we got to our reception site, we changed back to our formal wear.

    Here is a picture on the ride:

    http://tinyurl.com/l9u8wr

    • dottie says:

      Ruth, that sounds awesome. I love the idea of getting to spend some alone time together amidst the madness of a wedding. The picture link is not working for me, but if you want to email, I can post it – letsgorideabike [dot] wordpress [at] gmail [dot] com.

    • pomocomo says:

      Hannah, my fiancee stoker, likes this idea a lot – a whole separate bridal-ish cycling outfit, since she’ll be wearing her mother’s dress that has a long train and skirt.

      Plus, we’ve also discussed how appealing it would be to have that alone time to reflect on the bike after the ceremony. I’m glad to hear you had such a wonderful experience.

      • Ruth says:

        After all the craziness during the ceremony and picture taking, I was really thankful for that bike time. You’re never really alone together again until that night ;).

  8. 2whls3spds says:

    If the wedding dress hasn’t been chosen yet… I was at Bridal Mart a few weeks ago and saw a dress where the heavy, bulky lower part was removable and there was a smaller skirt underneath. If interested I can see if my bride remembers the designer/label of it.

    Gazelle also makes a tandem that comes with full chain covers, but I have yet to find one in the US or how to get one over here in a cost effective manner.

    Aaron

  9. 2whls3spds says:

    Oops that should have read Bridal Market…one of the big shows that all the vendors go to. The Chicago show is coming up Oct 3-6.

    Aaron

  10. Charlotte says:

    If she has any train at all I think it had better get attached to her wrist. I’d want a full skirt guard and some side bustling – I remember back in the day there were tablecloth pins that were strips of fabric. She could use that to lift the sides of the skirt and the train essentially wrapping around to the front.

    All basically to accomplish the shorter skirt that would make this easy, while ruining the line of her full wedding look. I changed my outfit for the getaway, but that is what I’d always wanted. If she really wants to get away in full gear, there will be a way.

  11. E A says:

    That sounds like the ultimate in wedding plans — riding off on a bike! :-) Congratulations!

  12. The Opoponax says:

    Two ideas which possibly go hand in hand:

    1. Choose a slightly less formal wedding dress. If your wedding is casual enough to involve a tandem bike, it’s casual enough not to wear miles of crinoline. I assume, for instance, that the groom will not be riding in a tux.

    2. This is what skirt guards were invented for back in the dawn of the “safety” bike (i.e. the non penny-farthing). Anything short of Scarlett O’Hara should be fine, especially if it can be bustled.

    By the way, I lovelovelove that second to last photo, of the bride with the shorter wedding dress. If I ever get married, that’s exactly the sort of dress I’ll choose.

  13. Sam says:

    I can’t speak highly enough of the pedicab. When Sarah and I were first talking about getting married, we talked about riding our recumbent tandem, which would have been a lot of fun, but we decided that designing the dress around a really short bike ride would increase the cost of the wedding significantly. Enter the pedicab! We got to bike parade in style, with our fancy clothing protected from the falling rain by the zip-on front the pedicabber provided. The picture you see above was taken after we sat down, but before it started raining, which means you can see us clearly, but you don’t get to see one of the better features. We had an amazing time despite the rain, and we would have on the tandem as well, but man, was that pedicab great. Big ups to Roger Rickshaw and crew!

  14. [...] featured along with other two-wheeled wedding wackiness on the Let’s Go Ride A Bike [...]

  15. [...] Bicycling in a Wedding Dress [...]

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