There are lots of photos of Catherine McKenna–Mom. Swimmer. Climate advocate. Ottawa Centre MP/Députée. Minister of Infrastructure and Communities/Ministre de l’Infrastructure et des Collectivités–riding bikes. My fave are the Winter Bike to Work Day images. But this Bike to Work Day McKenna wore a dress (and a mask) and shared photos and the internet blew up with meanness like Twitter had never seen a woman riding a bike while wearing a dress.
Cute red bike and pink dress, right? That’s what I thought but I might be in the minority. There were lots of negative comments. I won’t share the meanest.
One Twitter user wrote, “So a short dress and a mask while riding a bike with a goofy basket wow. You look ridiculous.”
But feminist Twitter and women cyclists everywhere came to the rescue.
I added my “biking in a dress” photo.
Catherine McKenna responded with charm and good humour.
But the thing is women can’t get it right. If we wear dresses while riding bikes, we’re ridiculous. If we wear form fitting bike shorts and a jersey, we’re ridiculous too. It’s hard not to care but it’s somehow easier when you realize it’s your very existence that’s upsetting people. I shared my story of being yelled at for biking in a dress, Sam has a good day and a bad day commuting to work wearing dresses but I’ve also yelled at for wearing cycling clothes. You can’t win.
I an going to keep wearing dresses for bike commutes to work (once I’m back in my office) and when I am trying to go far or fast, or both, I’ll wear cycling kit.