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Wear your skirt with pride!

November 25, 2011 in Enjoy the ride, Town and Country Cycling

We’re really pleased to introduce our very first EVER guest blogger, the lovely Jemma Leahy AKA Help! My Chain Came Off! (or should that be the other way round?!).  Jemma’s very funny blog is a dry take on the pleasures (and perils) of cycling in the ultimate urban environment, London, whilst never  losing sight of one’s style credentials.  This is Jemma’s insightful take on why all women cyclists should get their legs out – as well as their bicycles…  Thank you, Jemma!


GOLLY GOSH, STOP THE TRAFFIC PLEASE… I have noticed a MAJOR cycle chic problem on our roads and it’s not looking pretty. Please tell me, why aren’t more women wearing skirts on their bicycles?  It is very rare for me to see fellow skirted cyclists in the mornings, so rare that I feel like applauding when one gracefully cycles by. They certainly aren’t pedalling around my patch of London.

I try my very best to not change my wardrobe to suit cycling. I believe that you don’t need lycra and pink cycling jerseys to get to work in the morning and anyway, cycling leggings just don’t do me any favours! With my reluctance to succumb to the wonderful world of cycling attire, I like to think that I have mastered the technique of cycling in a skirt. So I thought I’d provide a few pointers of what I have discovered over the years in my quest to cycle in style.

Firstly, I couldn’t help admire these stylish women on their bikes from the Paris Cycle Chic blog (good for inspiration too!).

So let’s get down to business.

1.  Choosing your skirt

I have found that short body cons skirts and very tight pencil skirts are best to be avoided. It may be good for the office but trust me, there is no room for your lovely thighs and knees to move around when pedaling. You end up resembling an Egyptian mummy rather than a dapper cyclist.

Watch out for the shortness of your skirt. Going too short will alert the fashion police.  I have found that I can’t go shorter than 12 cm above the knee before I end up showing the world more than my thighs. To find out how short you can really go, try out a couple of skirts by cycling around the block before you brave a longer journey.

Make sure your skirt isn’t too flowing. This can be a problem if your skirt is also very short, the wind ends up flowing underneath it like a tent and you will be spending more time holding your skirt down than holding your handlebars.

For extra comfort, wear a skirt with a little bit of stretch in it. This can be a godsend when you’re manoeuvring on and off the bike and riding at speed.

Now that it’s cold outside, I find that wearing tights provides me with more opportunities to wear shorter skirts. A longer winter coat also gives extra good coverage. Bonus!

2.  Starting your journey

When getting onto your bike you may risk a brief flashing, or if your skirt is a pencil skirt, you may find you are restricted. Whenever possible, elegantly hop onto your bike using the curb of the pavement. The extra height makes it a whole lot easier and more eloquent. If there isn’t a curb nearby, just nip on quickly making sure to maintain that air of sophistication. Once on the bike, be sure to check that you are sitting on the back of your skirt. You don’t want to give the car drivers an extra reason to beep you. To do this, I like to stand up slightly whilst cruising and push the skirt down as I sit back on the saddle. It’s an art form.

3.  On the ride

When you cycle your skirt tends to hike up a bit, you can re-adjust when in stationery traffic or at traffic lights. If my skirt is short, then I like to cycle with my knees slightly together to avoid any mini flashes.

4. Off the bike

Getting off the bike is easy peasy if you have a ladies bike, they are made for such dignified manoeuvres! Just put your knees together and hop off. Get it? Knees together and HOP. Last but not least, if you are locking your bike and wearing a short skirt make sure to not bend over too far! So let’s all get this straight….let’s ditch the cycling leggings and WEAR YOUR SKIRT WITH PRIDE, repeat after me, WEAR YOUR SKIRT WITH PRIDE.

Thank you, Jemma!