Bicycling in a long dress is possible! In fact, with the right set-up, it’s downright simple. Some may ask, “Why even bother biking in a long dress?” My response is that my bike is transportation and I do not want it to dictate what I wear (except pencil skirts, those are crazy – unless you convert it!).
If you are interested in learning how, read on!
Three major factors determine how successfully you can bike in a long dress: the dress, the bike, and the technique.
Must allow enough freedom to move your legs in a cycling motion. The skirt needs to be relatively full or made of stretchy material with a slit, such as the one pictured above. Test the dress’s bike-ability before leaving (or purchasing) by doing some knee-lifts.
Must have several characteristics to work with a long dress, unless you tie your dress up by your knees. First, a step-through frame (has anyone done this with a diamond frame??). Second, a covered chain to keep the skirt from being eaten and/or greased up. Third, a skirt guard if the skirt is full, so it won’t get pulled in the rear wheel spokes. Note that this was not an issue with the dress and bike above. Fourth, fenders, otherwise your skirt will rub against the rear tire. Finally, a clean frame is a good idea, since your dress will rub against it a fair bit.
For the most part, you can bike as normal. You may benefit from hitching the skirt up a bit, to provide more give around the thighs. Experiment to determine what works best for each dress. You may also want to dismount fully at stoplights, to reduce stress on the seams of the skirt.
Here is a quick video that covers the topic. I did this on the fly yesterday, since I happened to be wearing a long dress. I’m not a professional film-maker, so not the best quality video ever, but I hope simply seeing someone bike in a long dress is helpful.
Have any of you biked in a long dress or skirt? I’d love to hear stories and additional tips in the comments! Please feel free also to share photos, via either html or links.
Fall is the most fun season to dress for, in my opinion, whether on a bike or not. Tights, scarves and boots all come into play, but in a fun and casual way, not the oppressive way of winter.
Last year we wrote a How To for fall cycling style. In Paris, Trisha demonstrated the effortlessly chic look that’s so spot on for this time of year.
Trisha demonstrates fall cycling on a Velib in Paris
Note the main ingredients that we discussed in last year’s advice column: a dress made season-appropriate with a pair of fun tights and a breezy cardigan. Such an outfit is a perfect mix of style and substance. Tres velo chic!
I embarked on a new adventure this year by enrolling in a guitar class. I was worried about transporting the guitar for two miles, but turns out it’s easy peasy.
Cycling with a guitar on your back is the kind of simple trick that only looks difficult. The case fits on like a backpack and the guitar is pretty light. The bottom of the guitar stops at the top of my saddle, so there’s no interference. The top of the guitar is slim, so it does not obstruct my view looking back.
I already get looks simply for being a woman, on a Dutch bike, in a dress, in extremely cold temperatures. Add a guitar on top of that and I feel like a regular circus freak. Life on two wheels: always an adventure.
I’ve been out of town for a few days, but I’m looking forward to getting back and spending more time with the Flik. It’s a pretty sweet ride so far, and a real conversation starter. Before I left, I recorded this brief, bare-bones video of the folding process over my lunch break — couldn’t pass up the opportunity to spend some time outdoors in “Dragon Park” on such a beautiful fall day! Apologies for the lack of close-ups — a full review is coming soon.
p.s. if you haven’t found it yet, check out our YouTube channel. From the whimsical to the informative, we’re adding all sorts of things to it these days.
Ourpostsaboutgrouprides nearly always draw comments like “I wish we had one of these in my city” or “I’ve been wanting to organize something like this, but . . . [insert excuse here].” I used to be one of those commenters, until the Garden Party Ride here in Nashville showed me that yes, Virginia, we could host our own cycling event.
The Nashville Garden Party Crew
You can, too! And you should. Group rides like these are a lot of fun, and in my opinion they’re even better than Critical Mass for raising community awareness of city cycling. Here’s how to get started.
Attentive readers might remember Dottie’s passing mention of us filming a how-to video when I was in Chicago two weeks ago. We decided to start with the basics and demonstrate how to start and stop properly. As befits a LGRAB production, it’s a little goofy and definitely unscripted, but we think we shared some useful information — and hey, if nothing else, you get to see Dottie’s beautiful bikes in motion! This is just the beginning of our YouTube adventures, so stay tuned: we’ve got a channel to fill. And now, without further ado, our video debut: