Instructables

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:

-any outfit
-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!
 
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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.
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nheckman2 years ago
Great instructable. Some shoe manufacturers, like Merrell are starting to make heels more specifically for cycling, with a thicker heel and super grippy bottoms. http://www.merrell.com/US/en-US/Product.mvc.aspx/26478W/61698/Womens/Evera-MJ

There is also a new store that caters just to women who commute by bike. They don't carry shoes, but other stylish and functional products to help women look and feel their best on the bike. www.urban-spoke.com.



gtrachel4 years ago
 I really appreciated this instructable.  Of course I support all cyclists, but those of us who actually use our bike as our main mode of transportation are a special group and I think we're often overlooked, and the "cyclist" is considered only that guy in the spandex with ads all over him and the clip pedals and all that.  Go for it, guy - but I ride more than you.  And I want to wear high heels and a poofy skirt.  So thanks for writing this instructable, not just for the tips but for supporting other non-spandex cyclists and letting us know we're not alone.
A-men sista! I HATE the Lycra Squad. They are RUDE. The whip past you with NO WARNING, which is SO dangerous! I have a bike bell. And I use it. Because it's polite and lessens the chance that someone is going to swerve into you because, hey, they didn't know you were trying to make them eat your dust....! Apparently if you think spandex is cool, you think bike bells are lame. They usually also don't stop for right of way. They give me road rage.

My issues with bike clothes are what to wear in the rain. I need cute shoes that are weather proof! As far as the long full skirts go, I grab the bottom on left and right, double knot it behind me, looks like a bustle, lol.

I swear I'm not a goody two shoes, but when it comes to proper behavior on a bicycle, I get pretty upset when i see people doing stuff that puts everybody in danger. or is just plain rude. Like riding on the sidewalk, or on the wrong side of the road. Or both. It doesn't kill anyone to follow the basic rules. In fact it makes it easier!
And remember folks, if there is any chance you're going to be riding in the dark, for god's sake, Reflectors and lights! I live in the land of potheads(not a judgement, just a fact), and I just don't get these fools who think no drunk or stoned person is going to run them over while they pedal about in all black with no lights! REALLY?!?!?! and on top of that they run stop signs at high speeds? Silly.

Whew! I better stop myself before this rant takes up the whole day! Sorry all, I just had to chime in!
(all comments I made about the Lycra squad are subject to my area, I have no idea how they behave in other cities, but here 80% are jerks)

MrsDJE3 years ago
While on vacation in Italy last year, I noticed that most of the female bicyclists were dressed to the nines - including their fabulous high heeled shoes!

Since then I've learned that the women throughout Europe who dress well will do so even when riding a bike. Their daily commute on bikes doesn't impede their fashion choices!


husamwadi3 years ago
LOL, eeehh.... I don't know how stylish this will be if a dude trys it :P

good idea tho.
alpinelife4 years ago
Now can some one address another unseemly concern?  That of crotch crush?  I'm a female.  I have bought many different  saddles.  Saddles with holes, saddles with gel, etc.  Nothing keeps me comfortable while I'm riding.  Any help would be appreciated.  Also, the comfortable saddles look so....geriatric.  I hate the feeling that I look like a loser. 
Your weight should be evenly distributed (comfortably) between your feet, bum and arms.  Try adjusting your saddle.  tip it back a little?  up or down a little?  slide it forward or back, a little?  1/8-1/4" can make a huge difference!

Brooks saddles can be awesome, but those rivets can rip up your cute gear pretty quickly... get a cover )or tie a square of spandex over the top of it.
ahhhhh good idea.
Tip #1, always make sure the person giving you advice on saddle section has the same equipment as yourself. Special consideration should be made for labias, men would have no idea how to help you with that, believe me. Same idea for bras, don't expect to get good advice from dudes about bra fitting.
As a fellow women I say check out a brooks saddles. Sadly their not vegan (or vegetarian) friendly, but are the most comfortable saddles out there for peeps who bike everywhere.
Some preliminary stuff... go to a local bike shop and ask to get your sit bones measured. Avoid any conversation from dudes who try to tell you to buy a over-expensive/junk specialized women's saddle (they only want your number anyway). Just get the measurements and say adios. Alternatively, if your lucky enough to find a knowledgeable women working at the shop who knows the frustrations of saddle section, give her your full attention. She knows what she's talking about.
Take your sit bone measurements, add 20mm and get a saddle a little wider. Like, if your site bones are 180mm wide (like mine) + 20mm, you got 200mm... so something like the B.68 (210x260mm) should work well for you.
I don't usually go around posting my blog, but on there I talked about my method of selecting a saddle pintsizeddame.blogspot.com/search. I list where I got the saddle (they got a six month full satisfaction return policy - hell yes) and I listed all the different saddles I tried out, mistakes and all.
Measure my sit bones?  Good idea.  I wonder if a doctor could do this.  I'm sure I could never find a bicycle store to do it!  I have seen Brooks saddles in catalogs.  They are handsome!  I just have such a hard time believing hard leather could be comfortable.  Thanks for the advice and your time.
Most bike stores sell generic specialized saddles based on sit bone width. They'd have a little plastic thing you'd sit on. It leaves sit bone imprints, and it tells you what specialized saddle to buy. Don't bother with the saddle it says would fit you, but do measure the indentation your sit bones leaves. My advice would be to measure from the widest edge of the indentations and then use the measurements for finding that perfect saddle. Getting the measurements was really easy, it's the trial and error with the brooks that time intensive.

I believe there are so homemade methods of figuring out your sit bone width if no bike shop has that where you are. I saw them online, so you'd probably just have to do a little googling to find that.

And surprisingly, the leather saddles are really comfortable, that is if you find the right one. I've learned to stay away from gel, what you need when you ride is support on your sit bones, the leather, after you brake it in, really does work great. I used http://www.wallbike.com/ six month return policy to my advantage and tried three different saddles - putting around 100 miles on each before figuring out if they'd work or not. Surprisingly one of their widest saddles worked for me. I'm mega petite, so if I learned anything, its that your sit bone width that's most important. I've known other women who are twice my size and use a smaller saddle than me. Use whatever what works best!
i can't believe no one mentioned shorts- biking specific shorts. while they are by no means fashionable, if i'm going for more than a 5 mile ride, i've got bike shorts on UNDERNEATH whatever else i'm wearing.

i hate the look of spandex/lycra (at least on dudes...), but that's what they're made for- they're padded in all the right places, but like seats, every company's pads are a little different.

my current favorite shorts are made by Pace & have a gel pad in them- most have regular padding which is also comfy. but Pace is owned/operated by a woman, so you can probably bet that the female shorts are really good too. 

saddle wise, i have to agree- Brooks makes some of the best saddles ever, and have been doing so forever. totally comfy (i was just reading an article about saddles, and it was saying the more you ride in a week, the harder saddle you want), and lifetime wise, it'll last longer than you. but i know every person's body is a little different...
i'm curious about these new seats i've been seeing that are pretty much look like nothing more than separate butt cheek rests, and really padded. anyone have any experience with those?

brandon at 1lesscar dot com
I bought one of the old CCM bike seats and LOVE it.  It is actually quite comfortable. I found it at a fellows booth at a flea market and he fixed up bikes etc and had got in an old CCM. I miss those bikes.
Try lowering the nose of your saddle, use a wide saddle make sure to scoot as far back as you can (so your but is completely on the saddle and not so much on the nose) If any of this doesn't help then it's probably because your saddle is way to far from your handlebars! That causes you to lay on the saddle instead of sitting upright. And big saddles can look cooler than silly little ones! just look at mine!
preview.11693_Nirve_Island_flower_brown_saddle.jpg
I do try to sit back on the saddle, but find myself eventually riding on the horn (often).  In addition to seats, I have also bought short stems.  I must have a freak body, because nothing has helped.   You are right, your saddle is cool looking.  I have one more saddle on order, then I'm giving up and buying a new bike.  Thank you for posting with your help.
 Ooh! I had that too! you might have to raise the horn in that case! And if all else really does fail, try what essgeebee said, go to a bike store and have it fitted. I any case good luck!
have you tried the terry butterfly? expensive, but it's nice and wide (cause we have hips) and has a big ol hole in the middle for your bits. 

also, don't wear things with big seams in the middle.  jeans = crush^2
Thank you!  The terry butterfly does look comfortable and not geriatric at all!  I'll save my pennies and give it a try!  And I had never thought of the seam in my jeans!  Of course!
Proper fitment of your bike (stem length, saddle fore/aft positioning, saddle levelness, top tube length, etc) also has a lot to do with comfort and stress points. Check with your local bike shop - if they're nice, they can do a fitting for you on your bike, and recommend things to try to alleviate the pain ;)
pigeonpants3 years ago
I *ADORE* this instructable!!

I'm a sculptress, and for the longest time it made me so sad that when I went to work in the woodshop or go to an iron pour I had to I'd end up looking like a guy w/ very nice tits. Then finally one day I decided, NO MORE! Still can't wear skirts or heels while working, but my biggest break-thru came when I figured out how to make any of my cutes ballet flats into steel toed ballet flats. ^_^

Maybe I should make an instructable for steel toed ballet flats. =D
I'd love to see your Instructable for that. Just an idea-as a temp. idea, could you spray paint your work boots, and put some cute laces in them?
Dr Qui4 years ago
Flip flops and cycling do not mix, eventually you will need to do an emergency stop and that's when it goes painfully  wrong.

Trust me on this one, I learned the hard way.

Sensible shoes at all times when you cycle.


Whales Dr Qui3 years ago
I would have prefered flipflops to the time when i rode with no shoes.... yeah.. i found bandaids stick better between your toes when there isnt blood flowing.
Tell Me About It! OUCH!!!!!!!
dancmarsh4 years ago
This is one of the best writen and funniest instructables I have read in a long time. I can see you had fun writing it. Nice one
davidqxo4 years ago
I have full sympathy *and* empathy for mrtfor2008's story, having once fainted after giving blood and falling full length face first into the floor. The first thing I teach when helping family and friends learn to ski is how to fall safely. I learned it, in part, from Aikido training, and I recommend it highly. Not long after riding with clip-in pedals for the first time, I came to a stop sign and completely forgot about clipping out! The aikido training kicked in and I relaxed into the fall, rolling into it along thigh, hip, across the back. Came out of it with just a good laugh over my moment of absentmindedness. Be safe out there.
m3harri4 years ago
That lady would look stylish on a late model water buffalo
leedj4 years ago
Hahaha, as a born dutchman it's great to read that people around the world are discovering bikes as a great way of transport! If you haven't got any vacation plans for this year yet, consider Amsterdam:) A cyclists walhalla! (despite what mr. O'Reilly says;))
Eva4 years ago
I have been using this summer to learn to ride in heels. First I invested in some Wellgo pedals: http://www.wellgo.com.tw/p-image/LU-T11.jpg as to not to mar my shoes.  I wear not so high stilettos, but a well made balanced heel from Fluevogs. So far no mishaps.
Wellgo pedals? Hows that suppose to help when wearing heels?
Wego Pedals are easier on my shoes.  I have a tendency to lift the pedals with my top of my foot.
1st rule of thumb is - I am fabulous and have no need to go fast.
2nd: If your shoes are to slippery to either rough up the soles with sand paper, or rubber soles from shoe repair, or lastly a strip of duct tape.
3rd: Heels look best if you are sitting up straight. Ride a cruiser, or more upright woman's bike. Bending over will cause your skirt to ride up further than you are comfortable with. Heels on 10speeds are definitely not stylish...
4th rule is to remember that your are fabulous and don't keep up with the boyfriend, boyfriend keeps up with you.
5th wear a fabulous helmet that won't cramp your style. www.yakkay.com
or one of mine....

JuJuBe11154 years ago
.I only wear skirts and dresses., and I have no car so I bike.  I take the corners of longer, fuller skirts and tuck them into the waist (a little twisting before helps).  My secret to modesty?  Bloomers!  I wear knee-length bloomers under my skirts.  They're comfortable, and can be as cute or plain as you want them.  I make all of mine.
Don't bloomers defeat the effectiveness of keeping cool with a skirt? Don't get me wrong, I'm all about fashion, and frilly boy short bloomers sound oh so lovely, but knee length? Talk about hot.
 If made with the right fabric, they are actually quite cool.  It helps that they are loose fitting.  Making a pair with a woven fabric that breathes and you'll have no issues.  Also, if it gets warm here (which in summer, it really does get hot and humid), wearing a pair that are knee length, loose, but not tied at the knee with ribbon or elastic lets air flow through while maintaining modesty.  Think of it like clothes worn in hotter countries in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.  They are very covered, but it is loose clothing.  Wearing next to nothing on hot summer days is actually counter-productive.

I hate hot muggy summers :( .
JuJuBe11154 years ago
 I've ridden in a petticoat before.  It's actually easier than with just a skirt.  You get weird looks in small-town Illinois, though...
kcoughlin4 years ago
If all else fails for a comfortable seat - look into a recumbent bike. The weight is on your butt and even (with some more extreme examples of laid back seats) your back.

Note: this is NOT recommended for the mini-skirt wearers (or kilt aficionados) unless they also are willing to court those indecent exposure citations - since your feet can be up as high as your hips on some 'bent bikes. Go for the leggings.
lyndsayfink4 years ago
Crikey! Wearing heels whilst cycling really is not a sensible idea, neither is wearing flipflops like the gentleman in the next step, do you want to loose a toe or have a total foot mash up?! It seems to me that good grippy protective footwear is one of the most important cycling considerations, your feet are where all the action is and right next to the road. All it need is a bit of bump or something unexpected in the road an and a flimsy/heely foot could jump off the pedal or a heel could catch the ground. And what happens if you need to get stable and put you foot down pronto?

Hmmm, the number of people I see on the london streets wobbling about unable to manoeuvre the bike properly because of unsuitable footwear makes me think this suggestion is not a good one.

Definitly don't give up on style whilst cycling, NEVER!! But just get some fancy shoes that look good and do the job properly. There's nothing less stylish than seeing a lady wobbling about in heels, without proper command of her machine!
To answer about putting your foot down, pronto --- if that situation arises... you put your foot down.  If you are riding in a way that keeps the heel parallel to the pedal you are always ready to put your foot down... its not often then you will need to ever put your foot down "heel first" (BMXing? maybe?)

The biggest annoyance is if the shoes are slippy and you need to get started... you generally need a much more accurate understanding of where the pedals are in relationship to the balls of your feet when you get your second foot back on the pedal.

However, I will note that "riding in heels" is not amateur - just bought a bike to look cute -- activity.  I recommend at least a year of regular riding before trying it. -- and if you have platforms (even 1/2")  if you are riding any distance, be sure to adjust your saddle! 
helix6 years ago
Here are my tips:

  • Keep some office clothing/shoes stocked at work.This way you don't have to lug it around everyday for the commute.
  • Carry an extra pair of bibs/cycling-shorts for the ride home so that you don't have to re-use the sweaty ones.
  • Wool jerseys don't smell. If you find a place to air it out, it will not stink and you can wear it several times before washing.
  • I like the wet-ones anti-bacterial wipes for freshening up
greezus helix4 years ago
merino wool makes me happy :)
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