I have always loved bicycling. Being anxiety-prone, there is nothing quite like a spin around the city or a leisurely ride down tree-lined streets to put me at ease. Add in that biking is economical, environmentally-friendly, and sometimes faster than driving in the city, and I’m sold. (Plus, city cyclists seem to be much more aware of aesthetics—in terms of their bikes, their dress, and their cargo-carrying—a feast for the eyes!)
A couple of years back, I started a bicycle style blog called cute girls ride bicycles—sadly, it fell off after a few posts due to a too-ambitious plan to photograph cute girls and their bikes. Getting the material was too hard, and getting a steady stream of bike style photos seemed impossible. That said, I’ve been keeping track of bicycle style tips all along, and since I’m a bike commuter, some of them are super practical for you lovely ladies who already own bikes, or may be in the market for bikes…summer bicycling is the best!
Without further ado, here are some of my tips! Happy cycling!
Invest in 1-2 bikes that fit your needs.
- For my daily commuting (approx. 5 miles round-trip), I have a vintage, steel frame Raleigh 3-speed. It’s a workhorse of a bike, practically indestructible, and is certainly NOT thief bait! Although it’s not a tall frame, I have the seatpost at full extension, and it mostly works with minimal leg-to-front-wheel bumping (if you can handle being up high, get a tall frame bike!). For my recreational use, I have a snappy large (tall) frame Bianchi Cortina hybrid (road-comfort) bike. It is an aluminum 8-speed with wider tires, so I can tackle varied road surfaces and hills in comfort (and style, I hope!). For tall ladies, check out both men’s and women’s tall/large frame bikes new and old by Raleigh, Bianchi, Giant, Zinn, Felt and Trek. And if you can, get into a bike shop and try a variety of models for fit, as no one tall frame will fit every tall woman!
Invest in a good helmet.
- I’m only helmet-less in this picture for purposes of the photoshoot. As much as helmet-head is not terribly fashionable, you need to protect that noggin. Don’t let all the model-like city sylphs with no helmets persuade you otherwise! Bern makes a variety of fashionable, affordable options.
Kryptonite makes the best bike locks.
- The title says it all! Lock that beautiful bike up—especially if you’re in an urban area!
Pants vs. Skirts: The verdict…
- If you’re a stylish bicycling lady, you may not want to don the standard lycra-spandex shorts and jersey. Besides, unless you’re racing or cycling a long distance, you don’t need the expensive cycling gear! Wear whatever makes you feel comfy on a bike, and has some breathability—In the summer and fall, I particularly recommend close-fitting black ankle pants (I wear these tall Banana Republic work pants quite frequently when commuting) or crops, as there’s little danger of your pants getting caught in the chain. You can also wear black leggings and/or skinny jeans in the fall months, but make sure they have a higher-than-1% spandex content so as to allow for movement.
- Although slim-cut pants are the best bet in terms of modesty, I frequently wear skirts and dresses while cycling—especially in the summer, as Boston gets hot! You can get away with wearing fuller (not pencil) skirts and dresses without shorts underneath if your skirt/dress is constructed in a weighty, stiff fabric like jersey or cotton sateen and/or lined. Knee-length skirts and dresses fall best when bicycling, and offer great coverage. If you’re going with a loose cotton skirt or a full, unlined linen skirt, slip on a bike short underneath—I particularly like Athleta’s spin short as it is moisture-wicking, slimming, and can be worn under skirts and dresses OR solo.
Biking in Heels: It’s possible!
- I would generally dissuade ladies from biking in heels for long distances. It’s too easy to lose grip on your pedals, or get caught up on your bike. That said, if you can’t give up the idea of getting to wear some sort of a heel (like me!), then low wedges or chunky heels are best—especially if they have a rubber bottom for grip. I’ve also had fairly decent luck biking in the gorgeous Miz Mooz Renee clogs that my boyfriend got me. If you want to wear heels while biking, think ‘stability’. Looking great is pointless if you can’t operate your wheels!