September 25, 2013

How to Bike in a Mini-Skirt (& Other Bike Stylish Tips).

Following last week’s blog, Can’t be Stylish Biking? My 38 Days of Bike Photos Will Prove You Wrong, I received a lot of questions both from the Elephant Journal and friends how exactly I could bike in some of those outfits.

A few even suggested that I didn’t really bike in a few of them (which really grinds my gears). I can assure you I do bike in all of my stylish outfits.

Here is a quick rundown what I’ve learned during my time biking stylishly.

Biking in a mini-skirt or short dress

Riding with a lady bike (sloping center bar like Amy Ippoliti rocks around Boulder) makes avoiding flashing your skivvies while you ride and when you get on and off your bike easy (sorry, boys).

  • Find a wall or an alleyway to hop off your bike near your destination. Remember flashing a wall is fine. This is my daily go-to move.
  • Wearing shorts under your dress/skirt is always an option. These can be taken off easily when you arrive at your destination as I did here or just worn under your outfit. I recommend short spandex shorts as they are often not even noticeable under your outfit.
  • If your skirt is super short and tight, you may need to hold down the center of the skirt to your seat with one hand while you ride. I had to do this move with this mini-dress. There is no getting around the awkwardness of this move and it can be tricky and possibly dangerous…so I recommend wearing short spandex shorts in this situation.

Biking in heels

  • Place toe section of your heel and start pedaling slowly. When you stop at lights take your time repositioning your heel before you start pedaling. If you’re not careful you can slip into the section between your toe and heel and hit yourself on your center bar or tip over. Wedges are best for biking.

Biking in a medium to long skirts or dresses

  • Tie the extra material in a knot at the side of your thigh so it doesn’t get caught in your bike or get greasy. (I did this with this blue dress.)
  • When you hop off your bike, grab the extra material between your legs and you can get off without flashing anyone (this can be the same material that may have just been knotted).

Tips for being less awkward & sweaty

Photo: Handsome Man Society, Graham Markel founding member.

  • Dress in layers. When I’m going on a longer bike ride especially, I will try to wear something that is a tank top underneath. I bike in the tank top and roll up my nice shirt so it doesn’t get sweaty.
  • Choose your route carefully. Can you avoid hills and difficult terrain that requires more effort?
  • Arrive early so you have a few minutes to cool down, splash water on your face, and or the ever so classy bathroom paper towel pit-dry dab.
  • If you’re going really far, you can always bike in a non-stylish and change when you arrive. I recommend rolling your clothing to avoid wrinkles. Also using hand dryers and a little water can give your clothes a quick faux-steam clean.

Avoiding greasy on your pants

  • Rolling up your right pant leg—effective and is straight hipster style (see photo of my hipster friend Robert Champion above).
  • During the winter wear knee-high socks under your pants so your ankles don’t get cold.
  • You can clip down your pant leg with a rubber band or strap, although I’ve been told this is not in fact stylish.
  • Editor’s note: none of the above are hipster-approved. If you’re going to bike every day, get a gaddamned chain guard. Boom. Commuting to work and play and bars and farmers market etc is all about jump-on-the-bike-and-go.

Biking in rain or snow

  • Buy fenders to put on your wheels. Baskets also help blog splash.

  • Wear glasses, the rain and snow make it difficult to see while you’re riding
  • Make yourself seen: wear bright colored jackets and use bike lights.

Biking at night / if you’ve been drinking

  • At night bike lights are necessary, cars can’t see you without them. Bright clothing  to make yourself easily visible is a great addition to lights, but lights are the best.
  • Perhaps if you’re biking at night you may have had a drink or two. If you’ve had too much tequila, you will end up in a bush, hard lesson learned. With drinking and biking you can hurt yourself, potentially cause accidents, and get in trouble (see legality of drunk biking), so be smart biking if you’ve been drinking. You can always walk or lock your bike and take a cab. That said, if you choose to drink moderately and bike, I recommend neon and wigs as accessories.


Avoiding helmet hair

  • I have crazy curly hair, so helmet hair is kind of my look all of the time. I usually just shake it out and go. But maybe bring a small comb / brush and run it through after removing your helmet. I would love suggestions in the comments below as to how to handle helmet hair.
  • Editor’s suggestion: don’t wear a helmet.

I want to hear from you! What tips do you have for getting around on your bike stylishly? What other concerns are preventing you from getting on your bike today? Comment below!


Like elephant bicycle on Facebook.

Ed: Bryonie Wise


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JessicaD Jul 27, 2014 1:57pm

A great solution for dealing with mid-length to long skirts and biking: http://vimeo.com/98808131 (It's called "penny in yo pants"–simple, but works really well!)

Valerie Mar 6, 2014 11:35am

When I bike in a long skirt, I hike the lower section of it up to waist level and then wrap a belt around it to keep it up. I find this easier than tying it to the side, especially when the skirt has a lot of material!

Jenn Calaway Jan 18, 2014 4:46pm

I use an over-the-shoulder commuter bag and, when I’m riding, I let the bag fall between my legs. It is sized just so that it doesn’t inhibit leg motion but covers my under things while allowing me the use of both hands when riding in a skirt.

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Jeanne Eisenhaure

A pragmatic idealist with a background in creative production and communications, Jeanne has seen firsthand how for-profit businesses can be vehicles for social and environmental improvement in addition to creating long-term sustainable financial growth. Jeanne works with her creative agency Jett DIGiTAL to produce creative content and strategic commutations strategies for businesses who want to change the world for the better. Why just build a business, when you can build a movement?

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