There’s a Bike in It: 5 Tenets of Bike Pretty, as seen in recent press

Karlie Kloss & Liu Wen for Coach, S/S 14 ad campaign, New York.

“Wait, what’s that in the corner there?  It looks like a wheel…the wheel of a bicycle! Mere inches away from a seriously pulchritudinous situation…”

This happened so frequently during my recent life *ahem* perusals of the early Spring magazines that my natural bike pretty antennae went into high alert mode.  I starting keeping a mental note of the bike pretty-ness of it all, figuring I’d share once I had a sizeable list en tête, or when a truly “ah-ha!” moment struck me. Well.  Lucky for you guys, that moment arrived last Friday, returning on the London overground with a flat tire, a tired boyfriend, & no patch kit (grrrr) after a trip to the deep east to watch dogs run around in circles (don’t ask).

Let’s be real: it’s not often that I find myself on public transportation.  So it was with palpable delight that I found myself rewarded for my flat tire with a shot of retired Olympic track cyclist Victoria Pendleton on the front page of the London Evening Standard, a copy of which lay discarded on an adjacent seat.  Grinning ear-to-ear atop an upright bicycle in a white lace dress, matching brogues and boater hat – e.g., epitomizing the bike pretty ethos if ever - Victoria seemed to be saying “….WEEEE, BIKES!!” er, “Kelly, get to it.”

And when you start hearing voices when you read the newspaper an Olympic champion stares back at you in fashion-earnest, one sculpted track-cyclist leg revealed and ready to kick your butt, you do what your gut tells you. So. 

5 Tenets of Bike Pretty, as seen in recent International press:

1. Don’t be afraid to Cycle in a Maxi-dress.  Via Olympic Champion Victoria Pendleton, on the cover of the London Evening Standard, 21 March 2014.


A promotion for UK charity Sport Relief, the shoot aimed to recreate the bicycle scene from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), with a bit of a role reversal.

Pendleton plays both Katherine Ross and Paul Newman in one as she tows Evening Standard proprietor Evgeny Lebedev through a lush English idyll.  And in a maxi-dress, no less, one lacking the functional thigh-high slit of Ross’ original.  Skills, people.  BP skills, to be precise.

Photos: Rupert Peace.  Want Pendleton’s outfit credits? Scroll to the bottom here.

2. Never underestimate the power of a versatile Printed TrenchVia leggy all-American model Karlie Kloss in Coach’s S/S 14 ad campaign.


Like Miu Miu and Sonia Rykiel before them (#respect), Coach boosted their spring campaign by putting Kloss on a bike.  She’s basically perfection in a reptile-print wisp of a trench, the styling incorporating a signature-yet-subtle bike pretty coordination move matching the eyewear frames to the bicycle [frame], and bag.  Win win, Reed Krakoff.  Way to leave on a high note.

The Bonnie Cashin era excluded (gah, double-kisslock pockets!), I had heretofore never been much of a Coach fan.  This shot of Karlie wiped any suburban mall-bred memory of khaki C-logo jacquard from the proverbial slate, however, and I found myself scoping out the latest bags (#dangerous) and imagining outfits in my head around several styles.

Converted, for sure.

3. DUDE, definitely Bike in Heels.  It’s so much easier than walking.  Via Coach (again!), and their rather brilliant #coachfromabove social media campaign, featuring their recent footwear collections.

Clockwise from upper left: Coach S/S 14 | Coach’s F/W 14 Ophelia heel via @jenpinkston of The Effortless Chic | Coach’s Marah flat  | Coach via Andy of Style Scrapbook

Hmm, the marketing team over at Coach must include a Bike Pretty fan (or several), amirite? Or maybe they’re tapping into the bike pretty inclinations of an ever-increasing number of stylish NYers, braving the streets on wheels via the Citi bike program…or maybe both.

Either way, their footwear campaign shots, surreptitiously planted on the website amongst customer-generated media of fans sharing shots of their Coach footwear from above, feature the label’s more practical yet pretty styles perched on pedals.  Pretty preening footwear perched on pedals. Say that three times fast.

Scoping the #coachfromabove hashtag also led to this lovely post on the same topic…and this fun if gratuitous shot below. What, there’s bikes in it, ok?  Via Style Scrapbook.  Trip to Amsterdam, anyone?


4. Ride a Bike in Paris. At least once in your life.  Via Vogue Paris, February 2014, Sur les Quais editorial, styling: Claire Dhelens, photography: Lachlan Bailey. 

“I own the île Saint-Louis.” Photo: Lachlan Bailey.

Admittedly, this is not exactly a BP tenet.  But certainly something to add to the bucket list, if you haven’t done so already.  As a longtime resident and now frequent visitor to the city of lights, I can say with conviction that cycling in Paris is a wonder.  Riding around London, I often fantasize about her lorry*-less streets, and manageable number of buses to circumvent.

Really, it feels just like this.  And at BP HQ we love a bike in editorial, so had to share these shots from Vogue Paris’ February 2014 issue.

“Don’t mess with my dog. Or my wheels.”  Photo: Lachlan Bailey.

5. Embrace Bike-Commuting and its unique style challenges.  Via everyday London commuter Jess Bowie in The New Review magazine’s Cycling Issue, 23 March 2014.
Photo: Immo Klink.

Despite its late-to-the-game title, writer Simon Usborn’s “The Rise of the Female Cyclist” piece in last weekend’s issue of The New Review magazine (The Independent on Sunday) proved an inclusive read, chock-full of insightful quotes by Caz Nicklin of Cycle Chic fame, London Mayor Boris Johnson “[we need to] de-Lycrafy the bicycle” and this food for thought from everyday commuter Jess Bowie, 29, pictured above;

“I’m loathe to say it but often women care more about how they look, so might think cycling will make them a bit more disheveled.  But if more of us do it, and female commuters look out the bus window and see women like them on bikes, it would definitely help.” 

Which is a pretty good segway: don’t miss Melissa’s upcoming post on ModCloth about stylish bike-commuting.  Watch this space!

…and Happy Weekend!  I’m off to stylishly lean against my handlebars like so SPIN London. See you soon!

S/S 14 campaign, Golden Goose Deluxe Brand® Venezia (I know: Geese? Venice? Whaat? Alas). 

*Lorry = British parlance for what is referred to in American English as a semi-truck.

London Bike Fashion

The top five cities for bike fashion are New York, San Francisco, Melbourne, and Sydney, with London at the head of the peloton pack.

London Bike Fashion

How do I know? Because this blog receives more visitors from London than any other city.

I’m not the least bit surprised that Londoners are so adept at cycle chic. It’s the home of Bike Pretty contributor Kelly and the original Tweed Run. And when I visited the fashion capital, I could barely turn a corner without bumping into some stylishly-clad hipster on two wheels.

London Bike Fashion

As the Northern Hemisphere* creeps into the warm seasons, get inspired by these street style shots I took while in London last Summer. I even put together a few style guides so you can get the look in your hometown.

London Bike Fashion ⬆︎ Doesn’t this remind you of this?

Get the look:London Bike Fashion

Kelly Brook Black Lace Bow Front Longline Bra | Davines Momo Anti- Frizz Fluid |
MINKPINK ‘Cah Ching’ Sunglasses | Kate Spade New York ‘Polka Dot’ Reusable Shopping Tote | Desigual Dress from ZalandoMartone Cycling Co. Women’s Mercer Bike | Even&Odd Ballet Pumps Silver | DKNY ‘Lace Curves’ Shaping Brief

London Bike Fashion
London Bike Fashion

London Bike FashionGet the look:

London Bike Fashion for SpringMarni Top | Desigual Mirror Paulina | Ray-Ban Large Metal Aviator | Aerie Mia Eyelet Pushup Bra | bareMinerals Lasting Line Long-Wearing Eyeliner | Laura Mercier Foundation Primer Protect SPF 30 | Josie Maran Magic Marker Lip & Cheek Stain | Spankie Low Rise PADDED Bike Short | Jason Wu + Melissa Shoes | Bobbin Bicycles Birdie Hybrid Bike | Forever New Alyssa Aztec Jacquard Skirt

London Bike Fashion
London Bike Fashion
Get the look:
The London Look: Cycle Chic

Desigual clothes from Zalando | Giro Surface Urban Helmet | Pashley Princess Sovereign | Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Platform Plus | McQ Alexander McQueen Razor Blade Leather Triple-Wrap Bracelet

*Shout out to my readers in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane! You’re all in the top ten Bike Pretty Cities.

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: Formula for Cool

Bike Pretty Winter Biking Outfit

I really want to call this my Bike Fashion Outfit for Winter Riding. But like my favorite bike-blogging San Francisco mom, I also have absolutely zero winter biking credibility. San Francisco is pretty much 60 degrees all year round. Any ten degree swing in either direction and people around these parts tend to lose their sh**.

On the other hand, the consistency of our weather conditions does give me a chance to really perfect an outfit formula. It’s something like this:outfit formula

Bike Pretty Winter Biking Outfit

The American Apparel Disco Pant is like a fashionable version of the full Lycra kit favored by MAMILs. Hey, even I like to cut down on wind-resistance if I’m going to put more than ten miles on my bike in a given day.

Ironically, the magically-smoothing material is free of any Lycra/spandex but still has plenty of stretch. The presence of not only pockets, but also a front-fly zipper pushes these babies out of leggings territory.

Dome-style helmets (like my Giro Surface Multi-Sport) are way better at preventing helmet head than the vented, sporty style helmets that most bike shops are infested with seem to carry.

Bike Pretty Winter Biking Outfit

But my favorite style innovation is my scarf, which isn’t a scarf at all. It’s actually a color chart for textile design. Hundreds of colors, organized by hue and intensity, are printed onto a test yard of fabric.

Each little square is also printed with its unique digital color code. This way a designer can get an idea of how the colors of a digitally-rendered design will look on digitally-printed fabric.

I ordered the color chart when I was planning on doing some textile design through Spoonflower. But nothing came of my designs because I couldn’t come up with anything cooler than the chart itself.

Bike Fashion Outfit Ideas For Fall

It’s been ages since I’ve posted any personal style. One of the reasons is that here in San Francisco, our seasons don’t really match up with the rest of the Northern Hemisphere. Our Summer was chilly (and often foggy). And then right after the Equinox, the temperature soared and everyone lost their minds a little bit and hit the beach. But it didn’t seem right to post a picture of me in a sundress while the rest of the country was wrapping their brain around the concept of “sweater weather.”

So I’ve been sitting on this outfit since early June. The grey wool jacket and tights combo just make more sense for Fall inspiration, don’t you think?

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This is a pretty typical outfit configuration for me: novelty print top, A-line skirt, snazzy jacket, and a pair of tights. Here in SF it’s actually a year-round look. We’re just regularly temperatured like that, okay?

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And I’ve usually got my trusty leather satchel with me as a run bike errands around town. My helmet is from Giro. Tights are from American Apparel.

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I can’t help it! Pattern-mixing makes me smile. So does matching my shoes to my bag (just my inner Southern girl coming out).

If you’re wondering how to bike in a skirt and protect your dignity, check out these posts for my tips and tricks. You’ll never (unintentionally) flash someone again!