Tuesday, April 29, 2014

How NOT to Bike to Work in a Skirt

I mentioned before that you really do not need special clothing or shoes to ride your bike to work.  Although more and more companies are catering to women bicycle commuters who desire functional but office appropriate attire, most of what you own in your wardrobe will work. I say "most" because some pieces work well and others not so well. And that is something you will find out on your own as try to bike in your work clothes. Hopefully NOT the very same morning when you are about to hop on your bike and pedal off to the office!! Because that's exactly what I did this morning.
Is an A-line skirt bike friendly?

You see, it has been a good three months since I started regular bicycle commuting so by now it has become a habit. I wake up, get dressed, pack my lunch and bags for my bike, swing my leg over the saddle and pedal down the hill. And always with a big smile on my face, of course! Well...sometimes it is a grimace, because the first and immediate 3/4 mile descent down 9% grade can be chilly in the winter and spring mornings.

This morning was no different than any other. I dressed appropriately for the temperature outside so that I wouldn't be too warm since I do not want to arrive at the office with my shirt dabbled with sweat. Correction -- women do not sweat. We glow!

I have this cute A-line skirt navy skirt with cream colored polka dots (pictured above) and I knew the minute I stepped up on the pedal, rested my bum on the saddle and started pedaling that there was NO way it was going to work!  I was pedaling knock-knee and really couldn't get a full and efficient pedal stroke. I could:
  1. Stand and pedal but it would be hard to do that the entire 50 minutes commuting to work.
  2. Hike up my skirt into a mini skirt and flash all of the drivers who pass me by. But eh...that's not quite the image of a Cuter Commuter I want to project.

I have seen photos posted of other women wearing A-line skirts on blogs and the author claims these women ride their bikes in those skirts. On a bike with a standard diamond frame nonetheless!! To that I say more power to these women because I just cannot do it. Not for 9.3 miles where I have to get on and off the bike at stop lights and if I want to get to work some time today!

So I spun back up to the house, dashed inside and slipped on a pair of pants and rolled up my skirt into my bag. TIP: rolling your clothes is more forgiving of wrinkles than folding. These are Ponte Legging Pants from Uniqlo. The fabric gives these leggings a stylish look and there is a perma-seam down the front for a pressed look. They remind me of riding pants. I like that they stretch and have two back pockets yet they're still semi-professional and are also affordable! GREAT for bicycling to work (and tuck neatly and nicely into boots during the winter)!!
I arrived safely at work and happy because I was much more comfortable during my bicycle commute! Then I took off my blazer and put on my heels.
TIP: to make things easy, I keep some of my shoes that I wear for work at the office. That is one less thing to carry and one less pair of shoes taking up room in my closet!
Save the hassle by leaving some dress shoes at the office.
When it was time to go home, I changed out my skirt for the pants, slipped out of my heels for flats, and took off my cardigan since the afternoon was warmer and pedaled home!


Lacey said...

I'm impressed you bike 50 minutes to work. Jon's ride is only 20 max. (He too rolls his clothes, and leaves his shoes at his office.)

Unknown said...

Hey Lacey! Thank you. I changed my route so it goes through neighborhoods and bike paths but it is longer, about 9.30 miles one way. The more direct route I used to take is a major road that loops around town (kind of like the 215 in Vegas). It has a bike lane with wide shoulders for the most part and is pretty safe but there's a greater disparity between the speed of traveling motor vehicles and me on my bike. I was getting bored of the route and got tired of inhaling fumes at stoplights so this route is a little more quiet, peaceful and is along residential streets with a much slower speed limit.

That is SO AWESOME Jon rides to work. Clever of him to figure out leaving his shoes at work and rolling his clothes ;-) It took me a while to figure that out, LOL.

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