As many of you already know, I commute to work on my bike. I’m lucky enough to have a fairly short commute (only about 12 minutes each way) so I’m able to commute year ‘round (rain, snow or otherwise) and in my work clothes (skirts, heels, what have you).
I’ve been bike commuting for a few years now and have figured out what works and doesn’t work for my bike commute. Hopefully some of these tips might work for you as well.
Embrace pleats. Trust me on this one. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, pleats can help add volume to a skirt without adding bulk. You want a more voluminous skirt when riding so it can fall (or, as my fellow Oregon bike rider, Val Sparkle, suggests, be pinned) between your legs when you ride. It’ll help protect your modesty. And a full, pleated skirt is, usually, a heavier skirt and less likely to blow around (again, pinning will help with that as well).
My perfect pleated bike riding skirt is the one on this dress:
The pleats are flat and sleek, but there is a LOT of volume hidden in that skirt, making it perfect for bike riding.
Avoid pencil skirts. I know, I know. Everyone loves pencil skirts. So professional. So flattering. So hobbling. You know how you can’t run in a pencil skirt? Well, you really, really can’t ride in them. Trust me, I’ve tried and it’s awkward and strange and if you had to change directions quickly, it could also be dangerous.
But, if you insist on pencil skirts (and sometimes an outfit does), then I suggest knit pencil skirts:
I have ridden in all of these with varying degrees of success. The black is a very tight, thick knit and a little restrictive, but the others are great. Enough give to allow me to pedal without losing their shape for when I’m off the bike. I’ve tried biking in non-knit pencil skirts as well and it was terrible; these are the only pencil skirts I’ll ride in. I save my very few others for those days I drive in.
Knee length, no more than tea length. Bikes, can, of course, be ridden in any length of skirt one wants to wear. However, I suggest knee length, no more than tea length, when riding a bike, for both modesty and practical reasons. With a skirt shorter than a couple of inches above the knee, it can be difficult to pin or tuck the skirt, risking your skirt flipping up and scarring those passing school children for life.
This dress? Not good for bike riding:
If the skirt on the dress were fuller, the length wouldn’t have been as big of an issue, but it’s both just a bit too short and not quite full enough. I may have given the kiddos an eyeful in this outfit.
And with a skirt longer than tea length, you probably won’t have a problem with it flipping up, but it could get caught in your chain or your pedals while riding. If you do wear a longer skirt, I suggest pinning, clipping or tying it up while riding so it doesn’t get caught.
This skirt? Also not great for bike riding:
Although I am a proponent of volume, this skirt is extremely full, which, coupled with it’s more-than-tea-length length, made it very hard to ride in.
And here are some other skirts and dresses that I’ve found do work well for bike riding:
As you can see, they’re all either pleated or full and around knee length.
I also recommend the wearing of bike shorts, pettipants, bloomers, whatever, just in case you do flash a passerby or two.