Saturday, August 15, 2015

Frock and Bike

After 25 years of riding a heavy bike I got from Canadian Tire for $65, my husband bought me a new bike for my birthday. It's from Mountain Equipment Co-op, and has all kinds of fancy features like an integrated hub. Thank you, Jeff!

Despite living in a city that is pretty anti-bike, I cycle almost everywhere in the summer: to work, to get groceries, to visit friends, to go out for dinner or to go to the theatre. I've learned over the years that wearing a skirt or a dress should not be an impediment to bike commuting. 

Here are my tips for riding a bike in a dress:

If you have a longer skirt (ie below knee length), it helps to gather up some of the fabric and tuck it under your bum on the seat. This prevents your skirt from getting caught in the spokes or the chain. It also makes it less likely that your skirt will fly up.

If I'm going a short distance, sometimes I'll cycle with one hand holding the front of my skirt down against the seat.

Another good option is to hold a coin or button behind you, in about the middle of the skirt. Then, take a rubber band or hair elastic and wrap it around the coin from the front of the dress. If this is clear as mud, you can check out this article on Slate for a better explanation.

Finally, you can wear shorts under your skirt or dress for better coverage. This is a good option if you're wearing a tight, short skirt as I've found they tend to ride up as you're pedaling. 

I wore this Club Monaco dress to dinner with my husband a few weeks ago. It's made of silk and cut on the bias, which it makes it really lovely and drapey and flowy. The cutouts are perfect for summer. This dress also comes in pink and a very pretty white and pink floral pattern. I highly recommend it.

A girl and her bike
I love the pretty straps at the back on this dress.
(Husband's fixed gear bike is in the right side of this frame... we're not hipsters, honestly!)
Cycling with my skirt tucked up
New bike even comes with a convenient water bottle/clutch holder!
Exploring new options for clipless pedals
(A word of caution when wearing Charlotte Olympia shoes and cycling: the raised spiderweb on the bottom of the sole actually got stuck on the pedal! It took some very careful wiggling to get it free!)
(Also, if you're curious, the bruising on my back is from cupping.) 
Outfit details:
Dress: Trina Silk Dress, Club Monaco (floral pattern is on sale now!)
Clutch: Arc clutch, Nina Ricci (similar in brown, mine was heavily marked down during Black Friday last year)
Shoes: Day of the Dead shoes, Charlotte Olympia (sold out)
Do you bike commute? Do you live in a bike-friendly city? Have you tried riding a bike wearing a dress?

(PS: I always wear a helmet... just took it off for the photos!)


  1. You make biking look so FASHIONABLE! This SERIOUSLY made me want to job out of my chair, drive to the nearest Target and purchase a bike. I actually used to bike, but I'm so bad at maintaining it, and terrible at picking out a good bike (HEY... This could be a blog post--how to pick a good bike).

    Las Vegas isn't a very friendly city to bike, but honestly, I don't really care.


    1. Thanks! Biking is so much fun. I could see it being more challenging somewhere like Las Vegas though, where it gets really hot and the sun is intense!

  2. Gorgeous dress! You look so chic riding your bike while wearing a dress! I love seeing girls wearing dresses on bikes. It's such a beautiful and carefree image.

    1. Thanks! I love old-fashioned black and white photos of ladies in dresses on bicycles. I love this quote by Susan B. Anthony:

      "Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.”"

  3. I've been waiting for this post! When you said you were going to model a bicycling outfit, I wasn't expecting a hot little cocktail dress! The cut-outs are sexy but still so sophisticated and demure. It's the perfect LBD on you. I appreciate your tips for riding a bike in a skirt because, as you know, I practically live in dresses and skirts. I'm glad I have options besides bike shorts layered under my skirt!

    Such an awesome and thoughtful birthday gift from your husband!

    <3 Liz

    1. Thanks, Liz! Sorry for the delay on the post (and the reply to your kind words).

  4. I wish I could bike commute! I actually know quite a few people who do bike to work, and I'm rather envious of them. I live ~26km away from my work, and there's no shoulders to accommodate someone who isn't going 70+ km/hour.

    Also, that penny in your pants hack is absolutely brilliant! I'd never heard of it before. I'm going to send it to one of my friends who bikes to work in skirts.

    1. Ugh. Lack of shoulders on roads is very scary for bikes! My husband works in the industrial park, and his commute can be pretty scary with semis blasting past him.

      Glad the penny trick is useful!