The Diva’s Guide to Biking
Riding a Bike in Skirts and Heels
by Lisa Foster
For all you diva cyclists out there: don't despair, it's easy to wear skirts and heels while riding a bike. With a few little tricks up your fashionable sleeve, you can keep your bloomers covered, your legs warm, and your feet on the pedals in almost anything. Let me tell you how.
The first time I rode a bike in a skirt was in Brooklyn soon after 9/11. I was riding out to Coney Island during a hot New York summer. I was passing a group of firefighters washing a fire truck when I discovered one of the perils of skirts on bikes: a gust of wind swept in, my skirt swept up, and those firefighters swept their eyes right over. Much as I was glad to have completed my patriotic duty to the New York Fire Department, I decided that in the future, I would not to leave my fate to the winds!
Here is my solution to skirts that flip up: find an elastic band that fits around your thigh (I use a headband, but you could use a garter if you're feeling VERY diva), then attach a safety pin to it, and slip it on 6 inches or so above your knee. When you get on your bike, fasten that safety pin to the inside of your skirt. The skirt stays down! If you're feeling very demure, you could do this on both legs, but one usually does the trick.
Since we don't live in New York and most decidedly do NOT have New York summers, skirts on bikes in our foggy city can be chilly. First of all, tights are great. I love tights. But perhaps they're not the look you're going for, and you just need a temporary fix while you're getting from point A to point B? Then it's time to bring out the leg warmers. I created a cute pair from the sleeves of an old, rather large, sweatshirt. The wrist cuffs secure the sleeves just above my knees. You might also find a pair of legwarmers in some Mission hipster store, but I get the impression that legwarmers are kind of 2004 by now (oh, yeah, and 1984, too). Your best bet is a dancers' supply store--try San Francisco Dancewear on Mission near 3rd Street. They even have leg warmers that cover your entire leg.
And finally, a step-through bike frame is obviously easier for the skirt-wearer. But as long as you choose a skirt with some fullness or stretch, you can wear it on that hotty road bike you love. Just hop on!
Personally, I think bikes are great for the heel-wearing diva. With a bike, you don't have to WALK in those ankle-breaking wonders--not even from the bus stop or parking spot! Though I'll ride in any shoes, I admit that certain heels work better than others on bike pedals. Platform shoes may require you to move your seat up, and stilettos can get jammed in the pedals. Wedge heels are perfect. Whatever you wear, just make sure to keep the ball of your foot on the pedal and let your kitten heel swing in the breeze.
When wearing heels with pants, I like to wear knee socks, trouser socks, or knee-high stockings. That way, when I roll up my pants to keep them away from my never-immaculate bike chain, my legs stay warm. Plus it's a chance to show off my favorite socks!It's that easy! I hope these small words of advice and encouragement help all you divas out there find your inner cyclists, and help all you cyclists find your inner divas. Be glam, ride safe, and enjoy the city!