how to bike in a long dress

One of the first bike fashion tricks that I was determined to master was how to bike in a long dress. Given my love of dramatic – yet casual – dresses, I was determined to make it work.

Bike Pretty Handlebar Satchel in Black and Silver | Thrifted Diagonal Striped Maxi Dress, similar to this one or this less expensive version.

Bike Pretty Handlebar Satchel in Black and Silver | Thrifted Diagonal Striped Maxi Dress, similar to this one or this less expensive version.

For demonstration purposes, I put together this psychedelic colored ensemble. Wearing it while drifting through the gardens of Golden Gate Park, I imagined myself inside one of William Vollmann's The Rainbow Stories, set in San Francisco 20 years after the Summer of Love.

As this particular dress has a 1970s-by-way-of-the Nineties thing going on, it feels particularly à propos to the idea of looking at an idealized era through a grungier lens

Closca Newsboy Bike Helmet in Red

Closca Newsboy Bike Helmet in Red

Incidentally, the collection of San Francisco short stories includes one about a character falling in lust with a very particular dress. It's a lot less twee than it sounds. (To be honest, parts of The Rainbow Stories gave me nightmares.)

To maximize the effectiveness of this trick, it is essential to wear cute sandals, with dazzling socks. It's a very important part of the look. Polka dots count as high-viz, right?

To maximize the effectiveness of this trick, it is essential to wear cute sandals, with dazzling socks. It's a very important part of the look. Polka dots count as high-viz, right?

You know what else gives me nightmares? When I ruin a great vintage score by getting the skirt caught up in my bicycle. And since if I can't bike in it, I won't wear it, I developed this easy trick for biking in a long dress.

1. The Lean

Prop yourself up by sitting on your top-tube, like a tripod, so neither you nor your two-tired bike falls over.

3. Knot It

Make a simple overhand knot. Keep it off-center, positioning it over one thigh rather than between your legs.

2. The Modified Curtsy

(Because we're so polite around here.) Grab one end of the hem of your dress and bring it to hip level. 

4. Ride On

Congratulations! You have successfully and temporarily reduced the length of your skirt and protected your hem from hungry brake calipers. You are now ready to ride in style.

It works! Now that you know just how easy it is to bike in a long dress, don't be shy about digging out the vintage prom dress that has been gathering dust in the back of your closet. Just ask yourself what would Marla Singer wear to go for a bike ride?

Just got this red cover for my Closca helmet. It opens up so many outfit possibilities!

Just got this red cover for my Closca helmet. It opens up so many outfit possibilities!

Do you have anymore bike fashion dilemmas? Leave them in a comment below, message me on Twitter, or reach out on Facebook. I'm always happy to road test this stuff so that you don't have to.

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