A typical conversation in my day:
Friend: “Oh, you biked here?”
Friend: “But, you’re wearing a dress!”
Friend: “How do you do THAT?!”
Biking in a dress:
I’m here to tell you that you can ride a bike in anything. My only disclaimer: there are certainly some clothing options that would be less comfortable (skinny jeans), but not impossible.
If you read my guide on Fashion for the Curvy Mom, you may remember that I wear dresses or skirts most of the time, especially for my work attire. I also commute by bike to work fairly often. When I first began biking to work, I wore “athletic clothing.” I packed my business-dress clothing in a bag and changed in a bathroom when I arrived. At some point I gave riding in my work clothes a try, but it didn’t go well. I was sweaty and gross. The problem was the amount of clothing I was wearing, so from that point forward I had two goals: eliminate the need to change clothes at work and do not overheat.
My solution to this problem:
Dresses – flowy, feminine, cute and cool dresses. But how does one deal with a skirt flapping up in the wind accidentally exposing everything? Here is where things get fun!
There are many ways to stay lady-like while on your bicycle:
Penny in Yo’ Pants – this option is certainly the most fun when it comes to its name and silly video! I gave this method a try when I first began biking in skirts and it was a major fail for me. I have thick thighs and unless I was wearing a skirt with A LOT of fabric, it was impossible to wrap the skirt around my legs. The general premise is to gather your skirt’s fabric between your legs and tie it up with a hairband wrapped around a coin.
Skirt Weight – A favorite site of mine, Bike Pretty, sells this skirt weight for $18. You clip it to the front of your skirt and the weight stops the wind from lifting your skirt.
Skirt Garter – Many bike shops have bike garters for sale and the price is around $12, a reasonable cost. It wraps around your thigh and clips onto your skirt similar to the way garter belts clip onto nylon hose. I have some friends who are big fans of this method while biking in a dress, but I don’t trust the elastic to survive its grip of my thick thighs.
Slip Shorts/Bike Shorts – I mentioned my love for slip shorts in my fashion guide as a solution for “chub rub,” but I love them for biking, too. Sometimes the shorts can feel more like underwear. In that case, I’d recommend using run-of-the-mill cotton bike shorts (or spandex, if you dare). If you don’t need them to stop chafing, you can slip them off when you arrive at work.
Will you give it a try?
Hopefully you’ll find one of these methods is workable if you’re interested in biking in a dress! Wearing a dress encourages drivers to treat me with more caution than if I was decked out in cycling gear. Plus, I tend to bike more slowly and stay more visible this way. Safety first!