cycling · fashion

Riding bikes in skirts and dresses, totally fine if that’s your thing, here’s how

Frocks on Bikes, New Zealand



Though I’ve been a commuting cyclist for many years, it’s only recently I’ve gotten comfortable with riding to work in skirts and dresses. It’s a sweat thing mostly, not a modesty thing.

It’s hot here and I ride in cycling clothes and change once I get to work.

But the last few summers I’ve had lots of errands, lunch dates etc thing to do basically on my way to and from work. I also took my first stay at home sabbatical which meant more daytime errand running, on my bicycle. I started wearing my regular clothes on my bike and my regular summer clothes are mostly summer dresses and skirts. I love it. I like riding bikes in skirts a lot more than I like running skirts.

How do I do it?

Bike shorts under my skirts and dresses. That was key. No modesty worries then and I can’t imagine riding a bike without bike shorts. It also solved the dreaded summer thigh chafing problem. (See Thigh chafing and the joys of summer.)

I’m fussy about my bikes and seat height and I know it’s a bit “princess and the pea” like but my seat height is all wrong if I’m not wearing padded bike shorts. Fussy, fussy.

Here’s advice from other women riders:

I also got a pair of SPD sandals for my birthday. That helped too. (My road bike has Look pedals, but my cyclocross bike has SPD) They are not the femme-est sandals in the land but they work. I keep fancy sandals, in colours other than black, in my office but often I don’t change.

Now I confess I’m a bit ambivalent about riding in dresses as a fashion imperative. Sometimes the whole Cycle Chic movement can feel like just one more thing. (See Do Cupcake Rides and Heels on Wheels help or hurt the cause of women’s cycling?)

But for me, I love riding my bike in summer sundresses. Speaking of which, could it please warm up soon? PLEASE!

(Readers who crave an extra challenge can try the pencil skirt, but not me: Bike In A Skirt: The Pencil Skirt Challenge.)


cycling sandals


Awhile ago I blogged about the Skirtbike movement in Romania. And here’s the Romanian women promoting riding while wearing skirts:

6 thoughts on “Riding bikes in skirts and dresses, totally fine if that’s your thing, here’s how

  1. What a timely post! I agree with you– it’s so liberating to be able to ride bikes in dresses. Sometimes I ride with bike shorts underneath, and other times I wear jockey for her skimmy shorts under a dress (depending on length of ride). I went to a conference Fri/Sat, riding my bike there, and wore pants with skimmy shorts underneath, and it worked like a charm. And yes, we could use some warmer weather too. Sooner rather than later… 🙂

  2. I completely agree. Like you, I can’t do my normal commute in my ordinary clothes as I get too sweaty. But for shorter trips – running errands, meeting friends, that sort of thing – I ride in whatever I happen to be wearing, whether that’s jeans, a dress, a skirt, whatever. For that kind of riding you really don’t need any special gear, and you definitely don’t need head-to-toe Lycra.

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