Introduction: How to Ride Your Bike in Style
NO MORE OF THIS:
"I would bike to work/the party, but then I'd have to sacrifice my slammin' style and trade it for some more cycle-friendly get-ups."
LOTS MORE OF THIS:
"Have you seen me on my bike recently? I only ask because I look GOOD when I'm helping the environment and enjoying my mobility."
This Instructable will show you how to ride your bike in anything you want to wear. There's no need to sacrifice style to get around town on two wheels. Helmet hair beware: you're one lousy excuse.
To do this Instructable you will need:
-a bicycle (upright cruisers are easiest)
(-and hopefully a helmet too!)
Riding your bike is an item on the Neighbors Project Checklist.
P.S. BIG up to Rachel Ryan for costume mania!
Step 1: Stylish Shoes
Let's go bottom up. SHOES. As long as you don't have those muzzle-like toe clips on your pedals (which are easily removed), you can bike in any kind of shoe you want.
Most skeptics point to the high heel-- but look at these pictures. It CAN be done. Two things are important to keep in mind while pedaling in stilettos:
1. Use your toes/balls of your feet
2. Maintain that high angle while cycling
You can always turn to the stiletto's close cousin if things aren't going so well between you two: the wedge. Still a high heel, still very much stylish, but with a flat sole that's very easy to ride in.
And consider the sole: Is it made of wood and very slippery? Hold on tight to your handle bars.
And if all else fails, put on a pair of sassy flats and show off your killer heels in your bike basket. You can throw them on once you arrive at your destination.
The only other shoe warnings that come to mind are:
-Make sure those laces are tied.
-I don't care how retro cool they are, one should only be moonwalking in moon-boots.
Step 2: Sexy Legs
Moving up the body: LEGS.
If you are wearing pants, roll up the leg on the side of the chain. Unless you're a mechanic biking to work at the garage, your grease stains will be considered sloppy and inappropriate. You can also use a clip to taper your pants.
Skirts and dresses require special attention. First off, ladies bikes (with a step-thru frame) are the easiest to get on and off of while in a skirt.
Now let's start small: mini skirts. To get on a bike in this beloved item, follow our model in pink.
1. Perch on your bike like you're about to ride side saddle.
2. Lift your lower leg up and put your foot over the bike bar while keeping your knees together.
3. Step down. Voila!
As you're biking around, keep your knees closer together than you would in say, jeans, and scoot forward on your seat so your legs angle down. You can also pedal without sitting down to be sure no one sees London/France/your underpants.
Other strategies: wear some leggings for the ride. They're hip, they hid your panties, and they're super easy to peel off when you arrive.
Other skirts/dresses that have more fabric than a mini require a different strategy. Any item with body, like a prairie skirt or a tail, can be safe from spokes etc if you tie up the extra fabric in a loose knot (not ideal for wrinkle-prone silks) or tuck into a shoulder/bag strap. If you're a big fan of big skirts, consider getting a skirt-guard for you back wheel like the ones pictured here and here.
If you find yourself in a West African boubou, or say an Indian kourta, you should be just fine. You've got pants on underneath (at least you SHOULD) so you can hike it up as high as you want.
Step 3: Mid-section
Outrageous-- I mean, perfectly traditional-- get ups like tutus should pose no problem even in all their volume. Sneaking in between lanes of cars (which you shouldn't be doing anyway!) might feel like a tighter squeeze, and that kid you keep in the seat on the back probably won't be too happy either but hey-- there's no such thing as a free ride.
Other mid-section items:
-Tails on a tux: Fold them up and tuck them in your cumberbund for safe keeping.
-Ties/Bow-ties: Tie them up or tuck them into your shirt. If you're going to be cruising at a relaxed pace you can leave them untied in that I'm-casual-sexy way.
-Scarves/Turbans: Loop them around, tie them up.
-Fringe: It should NEVER be long enough to get caught in your bike anyway.
Step 4: Heads Up
Let's talk HELMET HAIR. No one likes that look. Those of you with buzz-cuts have a get out of jail free card. All the rest of you try any of these strategies:
-Ride with dry hair
Otherwise, your wet hair will dry in the shape of the helmet, making it much harder to shake out.
-Bring some product along for the ride
Slip some wax/gel/mousse into your bag and do your faux-hawk once you arrive.
-Wear a head-wrap under your helmet
This can protect braids from frizzing or long hair from getting wind-whipped.
-Wear hair/head accessories
There's nothing like a hat to cover up a bad hair situation. Headbands and head-wraps do wonders too.
Let's say you're going to a full-blown, Abe Lincoln era formal event, so your top hot is an essential part of your get-up. You have two options:
1. Wear the helmet for the ride over while stashing the top hat in your bike basket.
2. Wear the top hat for the ride over and risk winding up just like Abe. (That is to say dead, granted under very different circumstances)
Step 5: Sweat and Other Dilemas
No one wants to be that sweaty person making a presentation with enormous armpit stains, or dripping into the punch bowl at party. Remember, the motto is: TRANSPORT, NOT SPORT. So here are few easy ways to avoid it:
You are not Lance Armstrong. (Or maybe you are? Sorry Lance, I'll buy you a drink.) If you give yourself an extra few minutes you won't have to race to wherever it is you're going and therefore, won't wind up sweating so much.
-Use an alternate route
Hills are real sweat-makers. Check out your terrain to find the most pancake-like route. Try Google Maps or the maps provided by the ever-so-helpful crew at sfbike.org.
-Don't wear that extra layer
Maybe your office is over-air-conditioned. The outside world definitely isn't. So pack that blazer/sweater/vest/monkey-suit in your bag or bike basket and put it on once you get inside.
And a few last pointers to help you maintain your sweet style while rocking your carbon neutral mode of transport:
-Sunglasses are stylish and good for keeping wind and street crap out of your eyes.
-Say no to crack. I don't care how good your butt looks in those jeans, no one wants to see it creeping out the top of them as your bent over biking.
-If you like to accessorize your own self so much, look into accessorizing your bike. Rainbow streamers anyone? You can also think of your bike basket as a window display of sorts: what hot bag can you put in there that says "you"?
For more stuff by me, Casey, cruise my website: telephoneandsoup.com. I also have a book coming out called To Timbuktu which you can check out here: allthewaytotimbuktu.com