Give me your best advice for biking in a skirt.
August 26, 2007 11:45 AM   Subscribe

Give me your best advice for biking in a skirt.

I'm riding my bike a lot more since I got an Electra Townie, but I am struggling with biking in a skirt. I tend to wear knee length skirts which blow up easily in the wind. I've tried clipping the skirt together with a clothespin, but find it bumps my knees very uncomfortably. I was wondering how others have dealt with this.
posted by Riverine to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (17 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I wear shorts underneath, not the padded biking ones, but the tight fitting ones sold as lingere that end a few inches above the knee. Also, if the skirt isn't lined I sometimes wear a slip too.

When it's cooler out, tights or leggings under a skirt.

I wear a skirt every day. I don't bike every day. People are always surprised to see a woman on a bike wearing a skirt. I surprise myself, to tell the truth.

It can be done.
posted by subatomiczoo at 11:54 AM on August 26, 2007

Back in the days when cycling was seen as an activity unfit for women, they wore little clip-on weights on the hem of their skirts to prevent blow ups. They often had the shape og a butterfly, and where thus called bicycle butterflies.

Weights like that are sold nowadays to prevent the cloths from blowing off of outside tables.
posted by ijsbrand at 11:56 AM on August 26, 2007

If the skirt is long enough you can tuck back under you rather than forward. How to explain? If you stood over the back tire with a leg on either side, and then climbed onto the bike seat from there, the skirt would be pushed back through your legs/crotch to the back of the bike. If you can picture how that looks, you can then get on the bike any way you want, and then tuck the skirt back through your legs. Unless you've got an incredible tailwind, you won't get it blown up on you (but you can also tuck a little under your butt to prevent that, too).

In my less modest days I used to just make sure I was wearing fun loud underwear.
posted by cocoagirl at 12:05 PM on August 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

Take an old pair of pantyhose or tights, cut a large cuff out of the thigh -- thicker than you think you'll need. Wear it as a thigh sleeve on one leg and safetypin the backside of your skirt to the cuff.

You can do this with one or both legs. It works really well for blow ups without restricting movement, as the cuff will move with your body. When you get to wherever you're going, detach the safety pin from the skirt and store it on the cuff. If you're not too irritated (I'm usually fine with it) go ahead and wear your cuff until you're ready to ride again.
posted by cior at 12:10 PM on August 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

When I used to commute to work on a bike, I'd either wear shorts and do a quick change when I got to work or I'd wear skirts that were straight and and in no way flow-y to avoid any extra exposure. I don't know if it helped, but I'd try to make sure my underwear was a similar color as my skirt so it'd be less obvious when I was flashing my crotch to the world.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 12:34 PM on August 26, 2007

Wow, coincidentally i just sent my girlfriend an email about 'skirt guard' fenders for her bicycle. I don't know if it's a problem with a bike shaped like the Townie (hadn't seen that before, it looks awesome), but apparently fenders that cover part of the wheel to prevent skirt entanglement are common in the Netherlands and other bike-centric places. See this photo from this post on the blue.
posted by thedaniel at 12:47 PM on August 26, 2007

Perhaps I'm missing something, being a man, but couldn't you wear some cheapo shorts under the skirt while you're riding and slip 'em off once you get to work or whatever? Or, hey, just leave 'em on under the skit if you're just out shopping.
posted by Justinian at 12:51 PM on August 26, 2007

I don't find it's much of a problem unless I'm going fast or it's particularly breezy, in which case I tuck my skirt on the fly as cocoagirl describes. If it became a frequent problem for me, I'd probably incline toward some kind of shorts (my personal style being what it is, I'd probably try to find or make some pettipants that coordinated with my dresses, and in winter I tend to wear tights or pants under my skirts so it's more of a moot point then).

Re: skirt guards, my bike doesn't have them and that hasn't presented any problems either. I wear dresses or skirts probably five days out of seven and ride my bike several times a day.
posted by padraigin at 1:02 PM on August 26, 2007

You can buy skorts made for biking. (I haven't bought any from that particular company -- I link to it only as an example.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 1:09 PM on August 26, 2007

I take a pair of tights, cut them off to the length I want, usually right above the knee and wear those under skirts when biking. This is a cheap option that doesn't look bulky.
posted by pluckysparrow at 1:26 PM on August 26, 2007

When you sit down, tuck the skirt in under your butt from the sides a little more, so that it cleaves to your thighs a little more tightly, like turning an A-line into a pencil skirt. You might have a little flounce between your legs, but there'll be less to blow up from your knees to your hips. It might flip up a little, but it wouldn't be so noticable to passerby and won't show your undies.

Also, don't worry. A little panty flash now and again is just the sort of thing an easy spirit hip chick on a cruiser like you could be okay with.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:26 PM on August 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

Perhaps I'm missing something, being a man, but couldn't you wear some cheapo shorts under the skirt while you're riding and slip 'em off once you get to work or whatever?

That only solves the panty-flashing problem, not the skirt getting caught in the wheel/spokes problem. The bike shop near me sells a "skirt guard" kind of like the on on this bike. Here's how you can make one of your own.

I'm not a bicyclist; I've just been to the bike store to buy my friend helmet-compatible earmuffs for a present.
posted by bluefly at 2:46 PM on August 26, 2007

"A little panty flash now and again is just the sort of thing an easy spirit hip chick on a cruiser like you could be ok with" - Ambrosia Voyeur

Obligatory eponysterical! callout

posted by mumkin at 3:40 PM on August 26, 2007

If you're main concern is your affect on males, the most disappointing for them will be to wear bike shorts or workout shorts underneath and let it blow up.

No mystery, no prurience.
posted by lastobelus at 4:10 PM on August 26, 2007

my girlfriend just ties her skirt up to one side in a ball with a rubberband and that suits her fine.
posted by cloeburner at 4:17 PM on August 26, 2007

I wear mostly knee-length skirts and don't have tremendous trouble with the ones of heavier material. The ones that are super lightweight, I tuck under myself as much as possible. Two skirts I have to clip with a binder clip (I love office supplies). Other than that I just do a little tug at the hem every few minutes and pray. I ride all the time this way I've never had a true accidental flash, just occasionally a bit more thigh than desired.

I think girls in skirts on bikes are the cutest ever, and I know a lot of guys feel this way, so I decide I look really cute and don't worry about it much.
posted by loiseau at 10:50 PM on August 26, 2007

These are all great suggestions; thanks, AskMe!
posted by Riverine at 9:04 AM on August 27, 2007

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