Pants on Bikes

I dislike bicycling in pants.  I was reminded of all the reasons why a couple of days ago.  Pants rub uncomfortably against my thighs, bunch up around my saddle, and drop low on my waist when I lean forward even slightly.  Plus, they force me to wear goofy ankle straps on both legs.  (Chain cases don’t help; the problematic part is the crank arm, which has ripped more than one cuff.)  Not a good look and annoying to fiddle with!

The only pants I’m comfortable cycling in are jeggings, but since I can’t wear them to work, they don’t come out often.

Therefore, I wear a lot of skirts and dresses, with tights and leggings to carry me through the winter.  This is 100% practical.

I think the concept of cycling in skirts may seem silly to outsiders or newbies, but once women experience cycling in different clothes, they must appreciate the comfort of skirts, right?  And since more women are riding bikes for everyday transportation,  perhaps skirts on bikes are slowly becoming the new normal.  A couple of days ago Lovely Bicycle posted about normal-clothes preferences while bicycling, starting with a conversation she overheard of women shopping for bike-friendly skirts, and several women in the comments mentioned that they like cycling in skirts.

Ladies, which do you prefer for cycling – skirts or pants?  How do you make pants comfortable??  Gentlemen, are you envious that society generally keeps you from wearing skirts (seriously, I wanna know)?

  • http://www.bikestylespokane.com BarbChamberlain

    I started out on a freakishly obsessed hunt for pants I could bike in (worth an entire week of blogging starting here: http://bikestylespokane.com/2011/10/03/the-quest-for-the-perfect-pants/). But I’ve realized I’m much happier in skirts and tights most of the time–greater freedom with less chafing and no chain snags at the cuff, and I definitely feel more put together for work in an outfit that involves a skirt.

    I still find days with so much road splatter I’d really prefer to have my legs covered but this winter in my city (Spokane WA) has been outstanding for open riding through the winter and it hasn’t been a major deal.

    My basic ride is pretty short–5 miles round trip–so the comfort isn’t a huge issue. A day with lots of meetings and errands may rack up 7-10 miles but those are in bits of 1-3 miles so it isn’t enough prolonged riding to create a major problem even if I do wear pants.

    My favorite, favorite thing? Pedal Panties under everything (http://bikestylespokane.com/2011/07/07/happy-bottom-pedal-panties-review/). They provide a cushion from the inseam without forcing me to wear a big fat diaper under work clothes.

  • http://pin-hole.tumblr.com Dave

    I used to have the problem with pants snagging on my cranks, until I got them hemmed to the right length :) now they don’t drag on the ground when walking either, which is helpful, especially when it’s wet out.

    I feel like a skirt would be too breezy for me, personally… But then, I’ve never tried it :)

    • http://letsgorideabike.com/blog Dottie

      Unfortunately, hemming to the right length doesn’t help the situation for (most) women because the right length is where the pants skim the ground and my dress pants are optimized for wearing with heels. Add to all this the fact that I usually wear flat winter boots on my bike and the “right” length is not helpful.

      The breeziness of a skirt is great during the summer. :)

      • http://pin-hole.tumblr.com Dave

        Yeah, that’s true, if they’re cut the right length for heels and then you wear something with flat soles….

        Well, I certainly don’t blame you for tying up your pant leg, it’s super annoying when your pants catch on the cranks – I ripped the hem out of a pair of jeans that way.

        And I totally understand how a skirt could be more comfy for riding – I do have one pair of jeans that’s a little tighter than I’d prefer, and slightly low-waisted, and I totally get the binding and sliding down…. Though most of my pants are typically fine in that regard. Probably there is some difference in how men’s and women’s pants are typically cut, which could make a lot of difference in riding comfort.

      • http://pin-hole.tumblr.com Dave

        Yeah, that’s true, if they’re cut the right length for heels and then you wear something with flat soles….

        Well, I certainly don’t blame you for tying up your pant leg, it’s super annoying when your pants catch on the cranks – I ripped the hem out of a pair of jeans that way.

        And I totally understand how a skirt could be more comfy for riding – I do have one pair of jeans that’s a little tighter than I’d prefer, and slightly low-waisted, and I totally get the binding and sliding down…. Though most of my pants are typically fine in that regard. Probably there is some difference in how men’s and women’s pants are typically cut, which could make a lot of difference in riding comfort.

  • http://aprillikesbikes.wordpress.com/ April

    I am known for wearing dresses in my circle of friends, which I find funny because I wear pants most days. I guess I just like dressing up for parties and get-togethers…

    I do know that I’m tempted to give up on jeans entirely. Yeah, they make it easy to get dressed without a single thought in the morning. And my black skinny jeans didn’t catch on anything ever. But both pairs of my jeans have developed holes and rips in the last few months, either on my very upper thigh next to my crotch, or on my butt cheeks, presumably from rubbing against my saddle. Those are hard to patch invisibly! On the other hand, I’ve owned both pairs since about 2008, so they’ve lasted an awfully long time considering how often I wore them. Maybe I’ll head to Buffalo Exchange (secondhand shop) and just get more…

    I do have a pair of polyester knickers that I wear, but even with them, they’re oddly shiny on the spots that get more friction. And they’re not nearly as flattering.

    I admit that I am hard on my jeans, as I like them to be really form-fitting. I don’t have much of a problem with bunching, but I might just be used to it!

    Biking in a skirt or dress in hot weather….that’s one of the finest pleasures in life. I feel sorry for most dudes for missing out.

    On the other hand: skirts catch on saddles–I dismount whenever I stop. Or worry about them getting caught in the rear brakes etc. And if the skirt is full enough (as is my style), windy days can mean I’m much slower. Not to mention the risk of flashing people.

  • Tom

    Binder clips! I use them to peg my pant legs. They are invisible in use, cheap and readily available (if you work in an office).

    • http://mavenhaven.blogspot.com Maven

      I use binder clips to wrangle ALL my clothes on a bike!

  • Tom

    Binder clips! I use them to peg my pant legs. They are invisible in use, cheap and readily available (if you work in an office).

    • http://mavenhaven.blogspot.com Maven

      I use binder clips to wrangle ALL my clothes on a bike!

  • John h

    Whats with the good morning face, coffee not kick in yet?
    Why not throw some old ski pants over top?

    • http://letsgorideabike.com/blog Dottie

      Ski pants would be too hot and unnecessary.

  • Joe

    http://shop.outlier.cc/shop/retail/dailyriding.html

    Their climbers are my Go To pants for work or play. Close cut cuff, no catching on crank or chain case (my bikes are belt drive). Amazing fabric, stretchy, water repellent, breathable. If you get soaked on the way to work they dry within 20 min. Comfort range for me is temps below 70. Below 40 I start using base layers. With a mid weight tight underneath I can go down to zero. They are pricey, but worth every penny.

  • Joe

    http://shop.outlier.cc/shop/retail/dailyriding.html

    Their climbers are my Go To pants for work or play. Close cut cuff, no catching on crank or chain case (my bikes are belt drive). Amazing fabric, stretchy, water repellent, breathable. If you get soaked on the way to work they dry within 20 min. Comfort range for me is temps below 70. Below 40 I start using base layers. With a mid weight tight underneath I can go down to zero. They are pricey, but worth every penny.

  • http://www.anniebikes.blogspot.com anniebikes

    For transportation where I’m on and off the bike, definitely leggings and a short skirt. For my long commute (22 mile round trip), bike shorts and or tights because I change when I get there.

  • Dukiebiddle

    Heh. I wouldn’t say “envious,” but I totally buy into your reasoning that skirts for cycling is more practical than pants/trousers. For ages, fed up with rolling up my pant legs, I wanted a bike with a chain guard so I wouldn’t have to bother with that anymore. It was pretty frustrating when I got one and I realized chain guards really don’t help that much. My pant legs always find a way to get snagged up on something dirty if I don’t roll them up. I’m not twenty-something enough to pull off skinny pants with dignity. Although I’ve never experienced any uncomfortable thigh rubbing, saddle bunching or waist dropping; but that may have something to do with how differently men and women are shaped.

  • Dukiebiddle

    Heh. I wouldn’t say “envious,” but I totally buy into your reasoning that skirts for cycling is more practical than pants/trousers. For ages, fed up with rolling up my pant legs, I wanted a bike with a chain guard so I wouldn’t have to bother with that anymore. It was pretty frustrating when I got one and I realized chain guards really don’t help that much. My pant legs always find a way to get snagged up on something dirty if I don’t roll them up. I’m not twenty-something enough to pull off skinny pants with dignity. Although I’ve never experienced any uncomfortable thigh rubbing, saddle bunching or waist dropping; but that may have something to do with how differently men and women are shaped.

  • Bobbin and Sprocket

    I have the same problem with cuffed pants legs catching on the crank arm. I’ve re-hemmed several pairs without cuffs and now they don’t catch. But like you, jeggings FTW! Luckily I can wear them to work. :)

    • http://myaudienceisowls.blogspot.com/ Dottie

      All my pants that caught on the crank arm were without cuffs.

  • http://twitter.com/BobbinNSprocket Amy Gawthrop

    I have the same problem with cuffed pants legs catching on the crank arm. I’ve re-hemmed several pairs without cuffs and now they don’t catch. But like you, jeggings FTW! Luckily I can wear them to work. :)

    • http://letsgorideabike.com/blog Dottie

      All my pants that caught on the crank arm were without cuffs.

    • Aimee Miles

      I don’t like skirts for a silly reason- weather and air conditioning. I learned to wear pants a lot because I hate sweaty legs sticking to seats, and I hate cold air blowing on my skin. When you go from comfortably hot outside to freezing cold air conditioning inside, the change is drastic and I didn’t like it. It became a thousand times worse once we moved to Florida humidity. I love the looks of skirts and dresses, and will try to get used to them slowly now that we are in a much better climate. There are so many sewing patterns I want to use to make nice things to wear!

      • Jax+Puzzle

        I have a similar problem to Aimee’s – I live in Florida and it’s always hot and humid outside (well – not always, but most of the time. I never end up riding in temps below the mid to high 30′s. I consider this absolutely freezing and intolerable – I’m not a winter champ like Dottie!), then extremely cold inside, due to people that are heavy handed with the air conditioning.

        I am definitely a skirt/dress girl, and I enjoy commuting in my regular clothing. My biggest issue with attire (which is unrelated to my bike) is that my workplace is SO cold! It’s about 67-68 degrees maximum inside, occasionally several degrees lower, and I often can’t stand to be bare-legged for hours on end. Sometimes tights help if I am wearing a skirt, but obviously I can’t wear those when it’s 95 degrees outside, and honestly it would need to be about 10 degrees warmer inside my building for me to spend the day not bundled up. Riding my bike in is great, because I stay warm for about an hour. But after that, I need to be in pants and a warm sweater. So most of the time I wear very dark blue skinny jeans and a nice blouse, and then top that with a cardigan, and once I’m inside, a warmer sweater.

        I have a bunch of beautiful skirts and dresses that regretfully are usually only worn on weekends when I am more in control of the temperature!

  • Cycler

    I have a hard time finding pants that I find flattering to begin with- I have large hips but a small (relative to the hips) waist, so if I buy pants that fit the hips, they’re enormous at the waist, and I’m too lazy/ cheap to get them taken in.

    I just feel like it’s so much easier to look put together and professional in a skirt or dress, and if I’m wearing a dress, I don’t have to mix and match- I just put it on. The main exception is that I have to go to job sites sometimes, and then I have to wear pants- because I might have to climb a ladder, and often end up sitting on the floor.

    On weekends I may wear leggings or skinny jeans with boots around the house/ on the bike. Cottered cranks are even worse than regular cranks for catching cuffs, but If I’m riding in jeans, often I can cuff just the outer edge and that keeps things clear. I often wear heeled dress boots with pants, so I sometimes will tuck the bottom couple on inches of the pant into the boot and zip that up to contain the pant leg.

    But in general, my default is definitely skirts and dresses. I got a couple of really cute dresses from the Jason Wu Target line that I can’t wait to wear once the weather warms up a bit :) They even have pockets!!!

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      Dresses with pockets are the best!! I get so excited about dresses with pockets. :) The Jason Wu for Target line looks fab. I really want to order this dress,
      but I’m trying not to spend money on clothes at the moment.

      Finding pants that fit well is a challenge for me, too. Especially now that I bike all the time, pants are always too tight around my thighs. I agree that wearing a dress is the easiest way to look put together, super helpful in the mornings when I’m in a rush.

      • http://pin-hole.tumblr.com Dave

        The jeans I have that are too tight are tight in the thighs as well, I was just thinking about that the other day.

      • http://pin-hole.tumblr.com Dave

        The jeans I have that are too tight are tight in the thighs as well, I was just thinking about that the other day.

    • http://pin-hole.tumblr.com Dave

      My wife has the same problem – if she gets pants that fit her hips, they are sometimes inches too big for her waist, which makes for a really awkward fit. It’s frustrating for her too, that when people design clothes for people larger than, say, size 14, they don’t change the shape at all, they just up-size the pattern.

      She also gets so excited about pockets in dresses and sweaters – she’ll almost not buy ones without now, she loves them so much.

      • http://aprillikesbikes.wordpress.com/ April

        I’m a size 6 or so, and I’ve been told I have a thick waist compared to my hip measurement, and I *STILL* get the waist-gap-thing in the back. I don’t know a single woman who doesn’t, no matter what their size. It’s messed up.

      • http://aprillikesbikes.wordpress.com/ April

        I’m a size 6 or so, and I’ve been told I have a thick waist compared to my hip measurement, and I *STILL* get the waist-gap-thing in the back. I don’t know a single woman who doesn’t, no matter what their size. It’s messed up.

        • http://bicyclesinnewcastle.com/ Vicki

          I like wearing a skirt on my bike, I find that pants feel restrictive around my calves and a skirt, in comparison, is bliss! The other day I was wearing a long flowy dress that I wouldn’t usually wear on the bike, but I had to go out and didn’t want to change so I just wore the dress and it was fine. I do have a skirtguard but the dress didn’t even come close to the wheel anyway.

  • http://mavenhaven.blogspot.com Maven

    I have to shower/change at work after my ride because I am a sweaty beast (there are like 2 weeks of weather during the year when I can do my commute in my work clothes without having to shower/change), but I actually have a skirt that’s specifically for winter riding. It’s a bit heavier and I just wear it over wool leggings or winter running tights. Somehow it’s warmer than an extra layer of pants and I prefer the look/comfort. I tend to wear skirts and dresses every day anyway, but when I do wear pants I like short, wide leg ones, which work okay for biking but tend to grab my water bottle cage unless I clip them with binder clips.

  • http://mavenhaven.blogspot.com Maven

    I have to shower/change at work after my ride because I am a sweaty beast (there are like 2 weeks of weather during the year when I can do my commute in my work clothes without having to shower/change), but I actually have a skirt that’s specifically for winter riding. It’s a bit heavier and I just wear it over wool leggings or winter running tights. Somehow it’s warmer than an extra layer of pants and I prefer the look/comfort. I tend to wear skirts and dresses every day anyway, but when I do wear pants I like short, wide leg ones, which work okay for biking but tend to grab my water bottle cage unless I clip them with binder clips.

  • Lauren

    I’m still afraid to wear a skirt on my bike – I don’t have a chain guard or fenders or anything like that, so I’m terrified my skirt is going to get caught and rip up :( Is it possible to ride a bike with a (knee-length, non-swishy) skirt and not have those add-ons, or am I just asking for trouble?

    I like cycling in pants, but obviously that’s my only option right now haha!

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      There’s no need to worry about a skirt getting caught unless it’s calf length or longer. A knee-length skirt won’t come anywhere near the back wheel or chain.

      • Cycler

        A super super full skirt _could_ get stuck in the wheels even at knee length, but it’s unlikely. Fender stays and rack struts help to create a ‘virtual” dressguard even if you don’t have a real dressguard.

  • Lauren

    I’m still afraid to wear a skirt on my bike – I don’t have a chain guard or fenders or anything like that, so I’m terrified my skirt is going to get caught and rip up :( Is it possible to ride a bike with a (knee-length, non-swishy) skirt and not have those add-ons, or am I just asking for trouble?

    I like cycling in pants, but obviously that’s my only option right now haha!

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      There’s no need to worry about a skirt getting caught unless it’s calf length or longer. A knee-length skirt won’t come anywhere near the back wheel or chain.

      • Cycler

        A super super full skirt _could_ get stuck in the wheels even at knee length, but it’s unlikely. Fender stays and rack struts help to create a ‘virtual” dressguard even if you don’t have a real dressguard.

        • Janice in GA

          I can count the times I’ve worn skirts in the last 12 months on one hand. I don’t like skirts, never have. I’ve tried riding a bike in them just to see what it’s like, and I honestly just don’t see the appeal. But the appeal is undeniably there for many!

          But that’s me. I’m glad we can all wear pretty much whatever we want these days, on bike or off!

          • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

            Hear hear, Janet! :)

            I like wearing both pants and skirts on bikes, though it is definitely trickier to find the right pair of pants to cycle in than it is to find the right skirt. Oddly enough, though I’m petite and basically ALL of my pants are too long, I have only ever had one pair get caught in my bike—on Le Peug, which doesn’t have a chain case.

            ~T

        • Citygirlrides

          i prefer to wear skirts with tights or leggings at all times. a-lines and stretchy skirts preferably. not too long, flowing, too tight, or too short. tights and leggings work perfectly with skirts because it serves two functions, as warmth, and as a guard against flashing. i get a lot of discomfort from wearing pants and don’t get the same freedom to move like i would with a skirt. not only that, skirts are more forgiving when you have eaten too much ;)

    • Vanessa

      I wear all sorts of skirts, long and full and I don’t have a skirt guard. The only thing that caused a problem was a hankerchief hem cotton skirt. I do use a pannier on one saide which does act to block material from spokes.

  • http://profiles.google.com/juleskills Julie Hardee

    Luckily I can wear jeggings to work so I’m good. During the summer when it’s hotter I ride in little dresses. Skirts with tights is fun too though!

  • http://profiles.google.com/juleskills Julie Hardee

    Luckily I can wear jeggings to work so I’m good. During the summer when it’s hotter I ride in little dresses. Skirts with tights is fun too though!

  • Amanda

    Skirts for sure! However, pencil skirts DON’T work. Sad. When I do wear pants, I have a reflective velcro strap for my ankles. Not pretty, not so comfy, but it prevents getting grease on my pants.

  • Amanda

    Skirts for sure! However, pencil skirts DON’T work. Sad. When I do wear pants, I have a reflective velcro strap for my ankles. Not pretty, not so comfy, but it prevents getting grease on my pants.

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      I’m sad about pencil skirts, too. I have a couple that I break out when I ride the train.

  • Richard Swaim – Herrington

    If men had any balls they would wear skirts. When looked at from an engineering standpoint men are just not designed for trousers. I’m much more comfortable in my kilt.

    Men are so timid that they won’t even wear colored socks and think a bright colored tie shows how adventurous they are.

    Skirts are best. Although I wear pants and my spouse wears pants I really dislike them.

    • RSK

      Timid with good reason, in the city I live in men have been attacked and killed for far less than wearing skirts (or kilts).

  • Jen

    Pants are bad enough; but shorts are the worst!!! Could it be that, unless pants are tailored specifically to a woman’s body, manufacturer’s still don’t know how to design them to fit our bodies properly? Because they never seem to. Anyhoo, I prefer skirts/dresses, with or without leggings or tights underneath.

    One thing I guess I have never understood is, why do men’s bicycles have the straight bars (sorry, I don’ know the correct term) across the top of the frame, rather than a lower bar like a loop frame or a mixte? Is there a reason for it? I mean, I can get on a men’s style bike just fine by doing the backward leg swing up and over thing, that isn’t the issue. I just can’t help but feel that the high bar and the male anatomy — in a pedal misstep or some other type of catastrophe waiting to happen — are just bad partners. Or am I overthinking?

    Nothing like getting way off topic. ;>

    • http://pin-hole.tumblr.com Dave

      I think generally that bar is there to make the frame more solid, there’s less flex because the structure is stronger that way – I think they really only became known as “men’s” bikes because originally, loop-frame bicycles were made specifically to accommodate skirts (ankle-length skirts don’t work too well with the high top-tube) :)

      I personally prefer riding a bike with a loop frame, simply because I find it more practical, easier to get on and off, more flexible in terms of still being able to get on and off with stuff on the rear rack, etc. And I don’t carry anything heavy enough that the sturdiness of the frame is an issue.

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      I’ve pondered that many times since childhood. Never made sense to me for the same reasons.

    • http://pin-hole.tumblr.com Dave

      And yeah – I have once had a mishap with a top tube… it’s not pleasant :)

      • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

        Eeek.

    • Kagi

      I fix up a lot of old English 3-speeds, and I’ve noticed that on about half of the step-through (“ladies’”) models that come to me, the seat tube has started to bend out of shape at the point where the top tube (or upper down tube, if you like) intersects with it. And if you put more than 20lbs or so on the rear rack of a step-through bike, you’ll definitely notice the rear end whipping back and forth as you pedal, which is not pleasant at all. So yeah, the diamond-frame design is definitely stronger and more practical — except that it makes mounting/dismounting in a skirt something of an etiquette challenge. Some ladies just don’t care and will swing a leg regardless of what they’re wearing, and I salute them.

      As for kilts: a friend and I were once at a party where I guy showed up wearing a kilt. As my friend said: “That’s not cool. That’s Public Radio cool.”

  • Jen

    Pants are bad enough; but shorts are the worst!!! Could it be that, unless pants are tailored specifically to a woman’s body, manufacturer’s still don’t know how to design them to fit our bodies properly? Because they never seem to. Anyhoo, I prefer skirts/dresses, with or without leggings or tights underneath.

    One thing I guess I have never understood is, why do men’s bicycles have the straight bars (sorry, I don’ know the correct term) across the top of the frame, rather than a lower bar like a loop frame or a mixte? Is there a reason for it? I mean, I can get on a men’s style bike just fine by doing the backward leg swing up and over thing, that isn’t the issue. I just can’t help but feel that the high bar and the male anatomy — in a pedal misstep or some other type of catastrophe waiting to happen — are just bad partners. Or am I overthinking?

    Nothing like getting way off topic. ;>

    • http://pin-hole.tumblr.com Dave

      I think generally that bar is there to make the frame more solid, there’s less flex because the structure is stronger that way – I think they really only became known as “men’s” bikes because originally, loop-frame bicycles were made specifically to accommodate skirts (ankle-length skirts don’t work too well with the high top-tube) :)

      I personally prefer riding a bike with a loop frame, simply because I find it more practical, easier to get on and off, more flexible in terms of still being able to get on and off with stuff on the rear rack, etc. And I don’t carry anything heavy enough that the sturdiness of the frame is an issue.

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      I’ve pondered that many times since childhood. Never made sense to me for the same reasons.

    • http://pin-hole.tumblr.com Dave

      And yeah – I have once had a mishap with a top tube… it’s not pleasant :)

      • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

        Eeek.

    • Kagi

      I fix up a lot of old English 3-speeds, and I’ve noticed that on about half of the step-through (“ladies’”) models that come to me, the seat tube has started to bend out of shape at the point where the top tube (or upper down tube, if you like) intersects with it. And if you put more than 20lbs or so on the rear rack of a step-through bike, you’ll definitely notice the rear end whipping back and forth as you pedal, which is not pleasant at all. So yeah, the diamond-frame design is definitely stronger and more practical — except that it makes mounting/dismounting in a skirt something of an etiquette challenge. Some ladies just don’t care and will swing a leg regardless of what they’re wearing, and I salute them.

      As for kilts: a friend and I were once at a party where I guy showed up wearing a kilt. As my friend said: “That’s not cool. That’s Public Radio cool.”

  • Philippe

    I can certainly understand the appeal of wearing a dress (and light, open, foot wear) in hot summer days. And be envious of women for having so much clothing options to choose from. But it’s totaly unrelated to bicycle.
    Other than that, it’s a non issue to me. I’m pretty much the conformist, down to the grey or black socks.

  • Philippe

    I can certainly understand the appeal of wearing a dress (and light, open, foot wear) in hot summer days. And be envious of women for having so much clothing options to choose from. But it’s totaly unrelated to bicycle.
    Other than that, it’s a non issue to me. I’m pretty much the conformist, down to the grey or black socks.

  • http://cris.livejournal.com/ cris

    as a guy, I have worn skirts for … other … purposes in my youth and have always enjoyed the freedom that it brings (ah … airflow) , but I always miss having pockets.

    for regular cycling, I know what you mean about the cuff getting snagged on on the crank arm, and I tend to select my pants with this in mind. I don’t buy boot-cut or similarly flared jeans, and even go so far as to mime a pedaling motion when trying pants on in a dressing room to get an idea for how far the cuff opens (I find that more than an inch on the inside is asking for trouble).

    Still, with that said, I don’t ‘do’ ankle straps because I find that they don’t bind the cuff properly, and also because I don’t look like I’ve been tagged by some wandering anthropologists observing the migratory patterns of the modern urban cyclist. I normally will do one of three things:

    1. ride with a pair of pants that have relatively snug leg opening and do a single or double fold up on the cuff to keep it from wandering (and or raise it above the point where it rubs the crank arm)

    2. if wearing boots, tuck the pants into the boots assuming that the pants are well fitted and not too loose/thick in fabric

    3. wear cycling knickers.

    (oh, and sometimes … 4. if wearing calf-length or knee length socks, tuck my pants leg into the socks. especially useful if pants are too dressy to take rolling up well. I once biked 20 miles from a funeral in a suit this way.)

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      “also because I don’t look like I’ve been tagged by some wandering anthropologists observing the migratory patterns of the modern urban cyclist.”

      Ha! So true.

      Good tips. I swear by boot cut style pants, though, to balance my figure. Not much a concern for men, I guess.

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      “also because I don’t look like I’ve been tagged by some wandering anthropologists observing the migratory patterns of the modern urban cyclist.”

      Ha! So true.

      Good tips. I swear by boot cut style pants, though, to balance my figure. Not much a concern for men, I guess.

  • http://ridinginreno.blogspot.com/ Ridinginreno

    Nope. Not envious at all. Real men wear kilts! Problem solved! Also works when your not allowed to wear shorts due to a dress code, yet women are allowed to wear skirts!

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      We should form a group to lobby for more kilt-wearing in America. I used to love wearing kilt-style skirts, but the older I got, the more I looked a little too much like Mary Catherine Gallagher, so I had to give them all away. :)

  • http://ridinginreno.blogspot.com/ Ridinginreno

    Nope. Not envious at all. Real men wear kilts! Problem solved! Also works when your not allowed to wear shorts due to a dress code, yet women are allowed to wear skirts!

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      We should form a group to lobby for more kilt-wearing in America. I used to love wearing kilt-style skirts, but the older I got, the more I looked a little too much like Mary Catherine Gallagher, so I had to give them all away. :)

  • Aimee Miles

    I don’t like skirts for a silly reason- weather and air conditioning. I learned to wear pants a lot because I hate sweaty legs sticking to seats, and I hate cold air blowing on my skin. When you go from comfortably hot outside to freezing cold air conditioning inside, the change is drastic and I didn’t like it. It became a thousand times worse once we moved to Florida humidity. I love the looks of skirts and dresses, and will try to get used to them slowly now that we are in a much better climate. There are so many sewing patterns I want to use to make nice things to wear!

  • Jfpeduardo

    today i gone to court (i’m lawyer too) with dress suit. Notice: here, in Brazil, the temperature is about 93 F!!! It is summer!!
    So, if you ask me, yes, i’m absolutely jealous that you can use skirts. Mainline when my girlfrind is using her skirts!

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      It’s 20 degrees in Chicago today, so 93 actually sounds kinda nice, but pants suits in the heat are the worst. Sorry about that. :(

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      It’s 20 degrees in Chicago today, so 93 actually sounds kinda nice, but pants suits in the heat are the worst. Sorry about that. :(

  • Braxton

    Kilts.

  • http://bicyclesinnewcastle.com/ Vicki

    I like wearing a skirt on my bike, I find that pants feel restrictive around my calves and a skirt, in comparison, is bliss! The other day I was wearing a long flowy dress that I wouldn’t usually wear on the bike, but I had to go out and didn’t want to change so I just wore the dress and it was fine. I do have a skirtguard but the dress didn’t even come close to the wheel anyway.

  • Cecily Walker

    I prefer leggings/jeggings, but I’m a librarian in a public library in a very casual North American city, so I have no issues around workplace appropriateness.

    Skirts are fine, but being that I’m plus-sized, finding wool skirts and the like is difficult (if not downright impossible). I like stretchy poly-blends. They move well, breathe, and keep their shape very well.

  • Cecily Walker

    I prefer leggings/jeggings, but I’m a librarian in a public library in a very casual North American city, so I have no issues around workplace appropriateness.

    Skirts are fine, but being that I’m plus-sized, finding wool skirts and the like is difficult (if not downright impossible). I like stretchy poly-blends. They move well, breathe, and keep their shape very well.

  • Eimear McGovern

    Skirts definitely, but I’ve been wearing smocks with some form of leggings a lot to go to college. I’ve heard of a lot of people who just wear a tracksuit to cycle in then change, but that’s not very practical. I wear high waisted jeans from Topshop a lot, and I find these are comfy for cycling.

  • Anonymous

    Guess I don’t have any balls, but then I have two other mouths to feed, so no skirts for me. I will however wear a kilt for the first time this spring when I play music for a Scottish wedding ceilidh. Perhaps my balls will finally appear..

    Seriously, I enjoy seeing women riding bicycles in skirts. It’s not something I’m willing to do (lack of balls, you know), but I suppose if I were living in Scotland I’d try it in a kilt. However, I suspect I’d be quickly known as that crazy American. Ah, but then I’d have balls..

  • Stephen Hodges

    Am I envious that I can’t wear skirts on a bicycle? Not particularly, especially here in the Deep South. My legs are quite hairy, and I’m not sure seeing that would be the aesthetic equivalent of seeing a woman’s legs (or at least ankles). Yes, that is not fair. But I suppose it would be fun to try at least once…enjoy it ladies. It’s one of the many advantages of being a woman (from my point of view).

  • Janice in GA

    I can count the times I’ve worn skirts in the last 12 months on one hand. I don’t like skirts, never have. I’ve tried riding a bike in them just to see what it’s like, and I honestly just don’t see the appeal. But the appeal is undeniably there for many!

    But that’s me. I’m glad we can all wear pretty much whatever we want these days, on bike or off!

  • Citygirlrides

    i prefer to wear skirts with tights or leggings at all times. a-lines and stretchy skirts preferably. not too long, flowing, too tight, or too short. tights and leggings work perfectly with skirts because it serves two functions, as warmth, and as a guard against flashing. i get a lot of discomfort from wearing pants and don’t get the same freedom to move like i would with a skirt. not only that, skirts are more forgiving when you have eaten too much ;)

  • http://twitter.com/bikeyourlife Bike Your Life Green

    Totally prefer skirts. But not until I started reading your blog and realized it could be done. I had to experiment with different styles of skirts, but I now LOVE skirts and abhor pants. Thanks, Dottie!

  • http://selfpropelledlifestyle.wordpress.com/ DummyDiva

    I don’t own a skirt! I wear mtb shorts or cycling shorts with knee warmers, or cycling knickers and change at work.

  • http://selfpropelledlifestyle.wordpress.com/ DummyDiva

    I don’t own a skirt! I wear mtb shorts or cycling shorts with knee warmers, or cycling knickers and change at work.

  • http://www.rookblog.com/ leila@rook

    It’s all about skirts and leggings for me! I have some silk long johns that I wear in the winter as leggings and they are purrfect! I really dislike wearing pants – even yoga pants!

  • Diana

    I prefer to wear nothing but skirts and dresses with leggings, especially while cycling….it’s just SO much more comfortable! I avoid wearing pants as much as I can, on and off the bike. :)

  • http://www.primacyclorina.com/ Prima Cyclorina

    Although I do not own enough skirts / skirt suits to *always* bike commute in a skirt, I do plan to wear skirts on bike-commute days (Monday-Wednesday), and intentionally “save the pants” for Thursday, the carpool/shuttle day. Friday is at-home-skinny-jeans-day, so I don’t have to worry either way.

    And, I know what you mean about the pant-cuffs getting caught in the crank arms. That is the #1 reason why I prefer skinny jeans and skirts on bikes.

  • Anonymous

    Picture from report that shows 10 reasons for biking here in Brazil:
    http://noticias.uol.com.br/ultnot/cienciaesaude/album/1202_pedalar_album.jhtm#fotoNav=4
    I know this report is in portuguese, but, for you in cold weather, give a look the picture 4. I can’t post de picture here.
    José

  • Vanessa

    I hate being cold so I do tend to wear pants more in winter. But I have a hard time finding pants that fit. I don’t work much ( this year has been a bust on my per diem schedule) and so I wear skinny jeans pretty much everyday that I wear pants and they don’t get caught. I have a ankle strap but never use it. I do prefer riding in skirts though. I prefer being in a skirt for most things.

  • Guest

    I rarely wear skirts in general, although I’ve been trying more when the weather allows… but I have yet to find a skirt that is not too tight to pedal in or so loose that it gets caught in my back wheel. As a result, I find your aversion to biking in pants utterly baffling, because skirts have proven to be totally impractical in my experience. To keep pants out of the chain etc. I roll them up, tuck them into boots, or use reflective velcro straps. Yeah the straps don’t look chic but I really don’t have an alternative.

  • E A

    I prefer pants… just how I roll. ;-)

  • http://twitter.com/bikelaneliving Bike Lane Living

    I need to start wearing more skirts. The bottoms of my khaki’s are getting ruined from the chain grease. Yuck! Thankfully, the weather has been pretty warm lately so I should be able to switch over soon. :)

  • http://twitter.com/bikelaneliving Bike Lane Living

    I need to start wearing more skirts. The bottoms of my khaki’s are getting ruined from the chain grease. Yuck! Thankfully, the weather has been pretty warm lately so I should be able to switch over soon. :)

  • http://carolynsflightoffancy.blogspot.com/ Carolyn Ibis

    I wear pants while riding, but I do agree that it’s tricky finding a pair of pants that works. I’ve ripped pants while riding on my bike, and that’s annoying. Pants that are too wide at the bottom don’t work at all! The best pants that I use are MEC canoe pants that I also use for hiking. They are narrow, so no chance of getting those caught on things. But they are casual. Finding more formal pants that work is extremely hard.

    I don’t really wear skirts, but I can see the appeal of them, especially since it is challenging finding pants that I can bike with. It probably is much easier finding skirts to ride with then pants!

  • http://carolynsflightoffancy.blogspot.com/ Carolyn Ibis

    I wear pants while riding, but I do agree that it’s tricky finding a pair of pants that works. I’ve ripped pants while riding on my bike, and that’s annoying. Pants that are too wide at the bottom don’t work at all! The best pants that I use are MEC canoe pants that I also use for hiking. They are narrow, so no chance of getting those caught on things. But they are casual. Finding more formal pants that work is extremely hard.

    I don’t really wear skirts, but I can see the appeal of them, especially since it is challenging finding pants that I can bike with. It probably is much easier finding skirts to ride with then pants!

  • Les Connally

    As a male cyclist, my legs are not so embarrassing (though I am pale & Irish) that I wouldn’t wear a kilt, but a kilt that looks real and not ridic costs a fortune.
    Ankle clips are quaint though, and I can’t say pants bother me a bit.
    You never change clothes once you get to work??

  • Les Connally

    As a male cyclist, my legs are not so embarrassing (though I am pale & Irish) that I wouldn’t wear a kilt, but a kilt that looks real and not ridic costs a fortune.
    Ankle clips are quaint though, and I can’t say pants bother me a bit.
    You never change clothes once you get to work??

    • Les Connally

      PS. I dont ride in dress pants. I change once I get to work. I ride in leggings and tight snug-ankle winter cycling pants.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=16306886 Melissa Rosales

    Skirts and Dresses! Mainly for the same reasons you outlined.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=16306886 Melissa Rosales

    Skirts and Dresses! Mainly for the same reasons you outlined.

  • Redheadwiththread

    I wear skirts every time I ride. Leggings, tights and in the summer, shorts underneath, because-the Chicago wind will blow your skirt up at some point of the ride.

  • Redheadwiththread

    I wear skirts every time I ride. Leggings, tights and in the summer, shorts underneath, because-the Chicago wind will blow your skirt up at some point of the ride.

  • Cin City Clyde

    Unfortunately I have lost so much weight that my kilt no longer fits, but it was a wonderful experience while I had it. Now I will use Velcro straps on my legs or good tights under some shorts.

  • Cin City Clyde

    Unfortunately I have lost so much weight that my kilt no longer fits, but it was a wonderful experience while I had it. Now I will use Velcro straps on my legs or good tights under some shorts.

  • ampyali64

    Skirts, absolutely! My problem is that I am a medical professional who makes home visits by bike and I live in Portland, Oregon. If it’s really, really pouring hard, I need to put on rain pants so I don’t arrive at my appt. looking like a drowned rat. I hate wearing the waterproof pants, but at least then I don’t drip on my patient’s carpets. If its not raining, I will be in a dress or skirt 99% of the time.

  • Savanni D’Gerinel

    I wear skirts frequently, but always as something I put on over my bike clothes when I get to my destination.

    A skirt on a recumbent bike is totally impractical. However, recumbent seats are the ultimate in bicycling comfort (I will *never* go back to an upright bike), so I just wear a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. With the shorts that I’m wearing now, I can even put on a pair of pants over them and I don’t even see lines or weird bagginess.

    Bear in mind that my *minimum* travel distance to two miles to the grocery store. Other than the grocery store, it is five miles to anywhere I want to go. Work is eleven miles. I sacrifice fashion pretty often to just be comfortable on the trip and then add fashion (or dress code) when I get to my destination.

  • Savanni D’Gerinel

    I wear skirts frequently, but always as something I put on over my bike clothes when I get to my destination.

    A skirt on a recumbent bike is totally impractical. However, recumbent seats are the ultimate in bicycling comfort (I will *never* go back to an upright bike), so I just wear a pair of shorts and a t-shirt. With the shorts that I’m wearing now, I can even put on a pair of pants over them and I don’t even see lines or weird bagginess.

    Bear in mind that my *minimum* travel distance to two miles to the grocery store. Other than the grocery store, it is five miles to anywhere I want to go. Work is eleven miles. I sacrifice fashion pretty often to just be comfortable on the trip and then add fashion (or dress code) when I get to my destination.

  • Shecyclesnairobi

    Nice post on cycling and wardrobe. Was planning to post my own experience cycling in dresses vs. trousers next week. It’s very hot in Nairobi, Kenya right now and chiffon and cotton linen and cotton tees are best.

    • http://letsgorideabike.com LGRAB

      Wow, welcome from Nairobi! I’d be very interested to read about your experiences when you write the post.

  • Pingback: Makeshift Trouser Cuffs | Prima Cyclorina

  • http://www.madisonbikelife.com/ Alyson Herreid

    I’m with you Dottie- I wear pants maybe once a month. I find skirts are more comfortable and, when coupled with knit tights or leggings, warmer in the winter.

  • http://www.madisonbikelife.com/ Alyson Herreid

    I’m with you Dottie- I wear pants maybe once a month. I find skirts are more comfortable and, when coupled with knit tights or leggings, warmer in the winter.

  • Mark

    FYI I invented a product called the Leg Shield which fully protects your pants from the chain and chain grease.
    http://www.bikelegstrap.com/

  • Mark

    FYI I invented a product called the Leg Shield which fully protects your pants from the chain and chain grease.
    http://www.bikelegstrap.com/

  • bobfairlane

    I’d wear a kilt sometimes if I wouldn’t constantly have to go Roddy Piper on some dumbass for calling it a “dress” or something. Heck yeah, it looks comfortable and sometimes pants are annoying especially in hot weather.

  • bobfairlane

    Why not wear slacks from Goodwill or cycling tights? Women look really good in yoga pants, you might try that, even under your skirts. I usually wear dress slacks that I get second hand, with trouser bands made from old bicycle tubes so the black matches the pants. Someone mentioned office clips, and that sounds cool, too, but I don’t know how well they will hold some synthetic fabrics.