Bike To Work Skirt by BetaBrand

Bike Pretty in Downtown San Francisco

Last month, BetaBrand (the San Francisco clothing brand famous for Cordarounds) invited me to take a sample of their new Bike To Work skirt out for a spin. Photographer Jason Van Horn, who also happens to be the energizing force behind all of BetaBrand’s Bike To Work collection, came along for the ride and captured these awesome shots.

Stylish bike commuters on the Market Street bike lane

The concept is similar to the Iva Jean Reveal Skirt, that darling of Kickstarter. A lot of Internet Commenters found the comparison irresistible, crying “but this skirt already exists!” when BetaBrand released their own bikable skirt.

The Bike Pretty Satchel by Handbag Designer Melissa Davies

Obviously that’s a silly thing to complain about. We don’t expect one type of bike to work for everyone. So why should we expect one type of bike-to-work skirt?Bike Skirt with Zippers

Like the Reveal Skirt, the BetaBrand version is a pencil skirt that converts to an A-line through zipper technology. It’s a clever way to solve the problem most pencil skirts have: too tight across the thighs to withstand pedaling. Seriously, bike-built thighs rip most fitted skirts to shreds. This version has two invisible zippers in the front. Unzipped, they reveal godets made of moisture-wicking material.
Bike Pretty Satchel and the Bike to Work Skirt

Also this skirt is (obviously) grey. I wouldn’t go so far as to call these color options, but if you’re a skirt-biker like me, you’ll appreciate the wardrobe possibilities that come from having a black or a grey pencil skirt.Bamboo Bike and a BetaBrand Bike To Work Skirt

A little history: the earliest online mention of this type of converted bike skirt can be found on the Skirts On A Bike blog – naturally enough – way back in 2011. The first versions were strictly after-market modifications featuring a brightly-colored, contrasting lining.

BetaBrand Black Forest Riding Hood

Not to imply that the concept alone is all that remarkable. In fact, you can see a version of the underlying idea in the sleeve of the Black Forest Riding Hoodie I’m wearing in this picture. And this sleeve style is derived from the traditional motorcycle jacket that has origins in the 1940s.Betabrand Bike To Work SkirtGood design is all about the execution, not some hackneyed theory of originality. The BetaBrand version has some nice touches like a rear pocket that hides a retro-reflective flag for night-biking. Right now, you buy the skirt at the pre-order price of $88.20. Expected to ship in late April.

Reflective trim on the bike to work skirt

Menswear: Bike in a Suit

how-to-bike-in-a-suit

Because here at Bike Pretty headquarters, we care about menswear too. In fact, there is very little that we find more delightful than a nattily dressed bike commuter dude. Sadly this breed is a rare site in the bike lanes of London and San Francisco.

With 30 days of biking starting on April 1, 2014, shortly followed by National Bike Month in May, we could all use a little office-appropriate inspiration.

wear-a-bike-suit-from-Parker-Dusseau-instead-of-racing-kit san-francisco menswear-on-a-bike

Enter the Commuter Suit by Parker Dusseau. Masquerading as proper business attire, the whole ensemble is actually tricked out with little bike-friendly details like pit zips, discreet reflective piping, and a breathable, moisture wicking finish.

a-bike-to-work-suit how-to-bike-to-work-for-men Parker-Dusseau-makes-professional-menswear-on-a-bike

From a design point of view, this suit isn’t pushing any boundaries. And that’s just the way we like it. There’s no need to go ruining a classic silhouette with some godawful hi-viz branding, right? Check out CoolHunting’s review of the Commuter and see if it works as good as it looks.

how-to-bike-to-work hot-guys-with-bikes-from-Parker-Dusseau

If you’d like to try out the suit yourself, visit these shops:

San Francisco Bike Fashion

Photos by Russell Yip for The San Francisco Chronicle

I know you’re into bike fashion. But do you follow me on Instagram and Facebook?

Melissa Davies, bicycle handbag designer, San Melissa Davies, 32, Handbag Designer

Last week, I mentioned that the San Francisco Chronicle put out an open call for stylish San Francisco bike riders of all stripes. Of course I bunny-hopped at the chance to take part.

A diverse crew of pedal pushers made their ways to the downtown photo studio and had their portraits made. Here are a few of my favorite looks.

Dad bikes in a suitMiles Cooper, 40, lawyer

A girl and her bike, san franciscoCasey Zandona, 28, social work student

I know I’m [riding] in San Francisco when: “There is a naked man walking next to me up a steep hill and we are going the same speed.”

Bicycle Lovers ♥Nadia Soedira, 31, jewelry maker and fiancé Mario Tanev, 32, software engineer

Silicon Valley Bike Fashion BlogJanet Lafleur, 49, high-tech marketing and fashion/cycling blogger

Favorite gear: The perfect (bike) bag, of course

Bike in a skirt + Vintage Schwinn step-throughZoe Hoster, 26, business development

Bike: 1975 vintage Schwinn Suburban (from her mother)

Kevin C. Smith San Francico Bike FashionKevin C. Smith, 42, data analyst

I know I’m riding in S.F. when: “I’m hot and cold at the same time.”

Check out the rest of the series here and look for the print feature in the Style Section of the Sunday San Francisco Chronicle.

(Can I just say how weird it was to visit the offices of a print media publication?)

Bike Fashion: Twirl Girl with ModCloth

To truly embrace bike fashion with dignity, there’s one thing you need to do first.
Bike Fashion - Luck Be A Lady Dress from Modcloth, San Francisco CA

You have to accept that your skirt will fly up. Of course there are ways to avoid it. You can go slowly and barely pedal. You can wear pants. You can stay inside on windy days. But that’s boring. And you’re not boring, are you?

Try this instead: Think of what you wear underneath as another chance to show off your very personal style.

Naturally I have to publicly take my own advice. And I had an opportunity when ModCloth invited me to show off my mad twirling skills in the Luck Be A Lady Dress. As part of their “Twirl Around The World” project, I recorded my bit using JumpCam, a collaborative video app (iPhone & Android). Then I invited other stylish dress-wearers to add their own moves. Check out how good we look in action!

Want to play with us? Just download the app and add your own clip to mine.

Bike Fashion - Luck Be A Lady Dress from Modcloth, San Francisco CA

In exchange for my participation, ModCloth sent me the gorgeous Luck Be A Lady in Avian. While the dress comes in a few solid colors, I highly recommend a print. Especially if you will bike around, snack, and twirl yourself silly (not necessarily in that order).

A snazzy print hides the little spots and creases clothing acquires while on our human bodies. Whenever I wear a solid-color dress, I’m one klutzy move away from reaching for the stain wipes and walking around with an awkward wet spot. Not very bike pretty. More like bike messy.

Bike Fashion - Luck Be A Lady Dress from Modcloth, San Francisco CA

In addition to the tidiness-faking print, this dress has a very flattering fitted bodice and flaring circle skirt. It strikes just the right balance of gliding over the hips without adding extra bulk. But a skirt this flippy really calls for a fancy pair of dignity protectors.

Bike Fashion - Bikie Girl Bloomers, San Francisco CA

Lucky for me, I was loaned a polka dot pair of Bikie Girl Bloomers for testing purposes. Lace-trimmed and sans crotch-padding, they fit smoothly underneath everyday dresses and skirts. I love, love, love this aqua and scarlet polka dot print. The other styles leave me cold, but I appreciate a designer with bike stuff in a color besides basic black (yawn).

Bike Fashion - Luck Be A Lady Dress from Modcloth, San Francisco CA

But the best part of this dress? Pockets, FTW!

 

**This post contains ModCloth affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. That said, all opinions are are my own.

Bike Fashion: Party Pics From SFBC’s Winterfest

What happens when you get a bunch of bike nerds to clean up for a swanky party? Turns out, they clean up good! San Francisco Bicycle Coalition’s Winterfest, an annual fundraiser for the non-profit, is kinda like Bike Prom for local bike advocates. It’s the same people you see all the time, except dressed to impress.

Bike Fashion: Mikaela of SF Bike Party and Mary Kay of SF Yellow Bike

Mikaela Carolyn of San Francisco Bike Party with Mary Kay Chin of San Francisco Yellow Bike Project and SFBC

As a regular dress-to-impresser, I get a thrill seeing my bike buddies trade the hi-viz for some high(er) fashion. So I rented a fancy flash for my DSLR and did my best Bill Cunningham impression.

Bike Fashion at Winterfest: Bekki and Frank of San Francisco Bicycle Coalition

SFBC Volunteer Bekki with Frank Chan, Operations Director at SFBC

These are a few of my favorite moments from Winterfest, but I didn’t have space for all of them. Check out the rest of my party pics on the Bike Pretty Facebook page.

Bike Fashion: SFBC Staff Members Eric Turvel, Margaret McCarthy, Bonnie Walton

l-to-r: Eric Tuvel, Program and Design Manager; Margaret McCarthy, Volunteer Coordinator; Bonnie Walton, Event Planner

Bike Pretty: San Francisco Bicycle Coalition's Winterfest 2013

The dancefloor was totally cray. Bike nerds know how to shake it.

Bike Pretty: SFBC Executive Director Leah Shahum and Miles Epstein

Leah Shahum, Executive Director of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, and Miles Epstein Continue reading