How to Safely Ride a Bike in a Skirt or Dress

 

When bare leg season finally rolls around, we only want to wear dresses and skirts. And while there’s no greater thrill than picking out a cute outfit that feels very spring appropriate, there’s no greater disappointment than realizing it is not bike-friendly at all. Whether that’s because your hem’s too short and you’ll end up flashing the world or if your skirt’s so long you risk getting it stuck in the spokes. Regardless, we’ve got your back—er, legs—so you can rock your spring and summer finest on your Bluejay, without suffering any wardrobe malfunctions.

But first thing’s first: Let’s go over the styles that are most conducive to biking. As in, wearing them won’t be a stressful, or an uncomfortable experience. In terms of hem length, there is such a thing as too long (it could get stuck in your wheels) or too short (this could make embarking and disembarking impossible). The Goldilocks length will hit somewhere between mid-thigh and the top of your ankle, offering just the right amount of coverage without the addition of too much fabric. While tight skirts aren’t totally off-limits, you do need to actually move your legs. So if you go the pencil skirt route, just be sure to choose one in a stretchy material. And speaking of fabric, you’ll also want to avoid any floaty, light-as-air tulles or chiffons that will float up, up and away at the first hint of wind. 

Now, onto the tips that will, quite literally, save your biking look. 

1. Try the penny trick

This works best with skirts that are knee-length and longer, but all you’ll need for this brilliant hack is a penny and a rubber band. Basically, you’re going to place the penny on the back of your skirt down towards the hem. Push the penny through your legs and grab it through the fabric on the front of your skirt. Then, grab your rubber band and loop it around, keeping the penny in place. The penny will kind of act like a button, which temporarily turns your skirt into a pair of pants. (Still confused by how this works? Here’s a video that clearly demonstrates how to nail this trick.) This will keep you from showing the world your unmentionables as you get on and off your bike, in addition to weighing your skirt or dress down, so it doesn’t blow away with the wind.

2. Wear strategic layers

Bring on the bike shorts. Seriously, some outfits will instantly become bike-friendly if you just slip on a slim pair of bike shorts underneath. With their slim profile and barely-there fabric, this additional layer won’t actually change how the rest of your clothes fit, but it will let you confidently pedal and explore without worrying about showing too much thigh. And it works with skirts or dresses of almost all lengths. However, if you’re rocking a maxi style, you could even slip on a pair of leggings underneath. FYI, this is also a great way to keep warm, especially on those spring days when you can’t trust the weather report.

3. Do the tuck

It’s nothing fancy, but don’t discount the power that a strategic tuck can have. By that, we mean you should go ahead and get on your bike in your prettiest, flowiest skirt and before you push off, simply tuck the extra fabric around your legs and under your bum—being sure to leave enough space for your legs to move. Keep in mind, this will fall out of place if you tend to ride out of the saddle. However, if you’re putting your Bluejay’s battery pack to good use, you won’t have to do that.

4. Or, do the knot

When it comes to longer skirts, your main issue will be keeping them far, far away from your bike’s wheels and gears. One great way to keep all that fabric in check is to simply knot the fabric of your skirt about 3/4s of the way down. It’ll keep your ‘fit from moving around too much as you hit the bike path or lane and once you arrive at your destination, you can simply undo the knot and you’re good to go.

5. Try out athletic-inspired designs

If none of these suggestions feel right for you, you might just want to shop for some skirts and dresses that were designed to withstand movement (and, ok, sweat). We’re talking cute skorts—also known as a skirt with built-in shorts—or materials that are made to be both stretchy and sweat-wicking. As long as your outfit allows you to move, doesn’t require you to readjust with every push of the pedal and you feel comfortable in it, we think it counts as a biking outfit.