Introduction: Quick & Easy Bicycle Skirt Guards

Skirt guards are hard to find in America and can be very expensive. Cable ties and scraps of tulle or other mesh material will keep your skirt safe without going to the Netherlands or haggling with a collectibles dealer. You can read about the inspiration for this project at www.evilmadscientist.com

Step 1: Gather Materials

You'll need a bike with fenders, a handful of cable ties, and a couple of pieces of tulle or mesh slightly larger than your fender. A cruiser or touring bike will work best, but you could adapt this to a bike with a cargo rack or a seat post mounted fender with a couple of holes drilled in it. Tulle is cheap at any fabric/craft store (mine was on sale after halloween) or can be scavenged from old formal dresses. It is reasonably strong and doesn't hold dirt very well. You can spray it clean pretty easily, too.

Step 2: Prepare Fabric to Be Attached to Bike

Cut the tulle to a semi circle somewhat larger than your fender. The straight edge will be going from the rearmost fender stay to the front of your chainstay. Pick a spot close to one of the corners and stab a cable tie through. Tulle is tough, so push hard - don't be afraid.

Step 3: Attach to Bike

Start on the non-drive side of the bike (usually left, but some tandems have both sides.) Wrap the cable tie around the fender stay and poke it back through the tulle. Attach the cable tie snugly to the fender stay and repeat on the chain stay so that you have the bottom line of the fabric going just above the hub. Remember, you want to be able to change a flat, so access there is important! Now attach the cable ties to the second fender stay and the seat stay. Once you get it all lined up, tighten all your cable ties well. How taut your skirt gaurd stays will depend on how tight your cable ties are, so tighten them very well - a pair of needle-nosed pliers can help with this. Now trim your cable tie ends.

Step 4: Drive Train Side

The difference on the drive train side is that you have to be cautious about not getting in the way of your chain. My chain guard has a handy attachment I used as a guide for where to cable tie it, but most modern chain guards won't have that. Aim for a spot just behind where your pedal travels. You've already got the chainguard (I hope!) to partially protect you. You're aiming to keep your skirt from wrapping around the seat stay or rear cog. Again, start with the straight line from chain stay to fender stay, and then add the seat stay and second fender stay cable ties.

Step 5: Make It All Purty

After tightening and trimming the cable ties, trim the excess fabric from one connector to the next in approximately a straight line. It will end up with a nice almost-spiderweb shape.

Step 6: Cruise in Safety and Style

Check to make sure your fabric isn't loose or rubbing the tires (or worse yet, chain) anywhere. You are ready to roll!

Comments

author
guitargirl98 (author)2012-07-21

Any ideas for building them on a bike without fenders?

author
cheapo (author)guitargirl982015-05-03

Did you manage to sort it? Coroplast could probably be used to do something.

author
1lenore (author)guitargirl982012-07-22

Put fenders on?

Seriously, you need some sort of framework to attach the skirt guard to, and fenders are a good way to provide that structure.

author
cheapo (author)2015-05-03

Great idea. Material from a broken umbrella could be perfect for this method! And if you're using plastic, then Duct/gaffer tape could be used. Even parcel tape or office tape for a temporary fix.

A bike without mudguards/fenders is a problem. Though if you have a carrier you can use that. But even without that, some rigid plastic like coroplast might work. Just get a piece big enough to fold over the back wheel, then move it up a little for clearance and cut it where it meets the frame beside the wheel.

author
meradera (author)2008-09-19

Great idea! I'm testing window screen material, and so far it is holding up okay. Does anyone have an idea how to construct a chain guard?

author
milesfromneihu (author)meradera2012-06-20

I made a chain guard from a large cookie tin. The steel was quite thin, so I used a double layer, stuck together with double-sided tape, plus a few pop rivets. It attaches with screws in three places: bracket with two screws into down tube, clip-on bracket to chain stay, and clip-on bracket to seat stay.

author
kaiplusjosh (author)meradera2010-10-27

if you have the old chain guard you can take some sheet metal and cut out your shape then drill holes thro the chain guard and your sheet metal then bolt it together and that way you can paint it how ever you want

author
rgrimm1 (author)2012-03-02

You can add eyelets to a fender IF the fender is stiff enough to take the slight tension of a skirt guard.
My mother also had a HEAVY bike with the full skirt guard and chain guard...it was made in the 1930's.

A chain guard could be made of choroplast, but I'm making ones of brass for our bikes...I like to Steampunk stuff up! It will go well with the Steampunked baby carriage.
The skirt guard for SWMBO will be of canvas with brass eyelets for lacing it on, and stiff wire for keeping the edges taut. Dark colours are recommended unless you like removing it often to wash...Scotchgard is also recommended.

author
firetrucks (author)2011-07-28

This is so clever!! I have a lady bike and I love dresses and long dramatic coats, so I'll definitely be using your method. I want to hem the tulle, though, and maybe even use eyelet tape, so I have to wait til my sewing machine is fixed :( but I promise I'll be back with pictures in a few months. I love that this is so lightweight, and I'm floored that yours have held up for five years!

author
Kay Schmidt (author)2010-07-29

Where were you 45 years ago when i had an imported embroidered skirt munched by rear wheel, arrived at high school class late, tear-stained, all discombobulated and sweaty? (Not born yet, I know.) Am looking forward to getting bike and riding again, very glad to see your intructable!! Am visiting sites pricing helmets, speedometers, lights, gloves, jerseys, and the all-important etc. Any suggestions or comments anyone has to help in this are certainly welcome. And I am so glad this site exists!! Thanks.

author
1lenore (author)Kay Schmidt2010-07-29

The site I'm currently ogling for beautiful cycle accessories is The Bicycle Muse. I really dig the oilcloth panniers. The helmets are cute, too, and they have reflective spats!

author
Kay Schmidt (author)1lenore2010-07-30

"Reflective spats ... hhmmnn" Thanks for the more to think about and look at.

author
brittaful (author)2009-07-20

wonderful! i used floral wire instead of cable ties, but am really happy with the results! brilliant idea, thanks! https://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2193772&id=16114732&l=4110a8ec4f

author
kreuzberg (author)brittaful2009-08-01

that looks really neat. i just found a website that sells skirtguards in america (www.theurbanbicycle.com) but if that doesn't work out, i'm definitely trying this.

author
1lenore (author)brittaful2009-07-20

Your bike looks great! Perfect that you used what you had on hand, too.

author
wolfybrie (author)2008-12-13

My skirt only ever gets stuck in the back brake, so I don't think this one will work for me unless the fabric went over the metal guard. But once I get my new bike I'll try it out similarly.

author
Knox O (author)2007-01-27

Wow! That's so cool - and so practical. My realisation that 'I'm a lady' has coincided with my starting to cycle to work, so now I can achieve both - hopefully in style! And I agree with Caya - gorgeous bike! ;o)

author
1lenore (author)Knox O2007-01-27

Thanks! If you do make your own skirt guards, I'd love to see how they turn out. Interestingly, there is now (finally!) a bike being sold in America with skirt guards: the Electra Amsterdam. However, I still haven't seen any skirt guards sold separately for outfitting your favorite bike.

author
inkstainedheart (author)1lenore2008-09-08

There's one on Amazon.com for guys. It could use a good paint job, but it otherwise looks pretty decent.

author
1lenore (author)inkstainedheart2008-09-08

Thanks! I've never seen the Electra Amsterdam skirt guards sold separately from the bikes before. They might not fit all bikes, but it is good to see them out there.

author
PrimeGuy (author)2008-08-03

Thanks 1lenore.....I have found 'skirtguards' for sale but for some reason I cant add the photo here at this time.....I can send you a photo of it via....zzprimeguy@yahoo.ca.....regards, Jack

author
geowulf (author)2008-03-05

You could totally use coroplast sign board (there are always a million of them during an election year). Great idea!

author
PrimeGuy (author)geowulf2008-07-31

Great Idea....Have you done this on a bike yet? How would I go about installing this signboard?

author
1lenore (author)PrimeGuy2008-08-01

I have not used coroplast, but I have used cardboard. You do it pretty much the same way - make holes for cable ties where you want to attach it to the struts.

author

Aw, that is a beautiful bike, improved with a brilliant idea. Cheers!

author
vrkelley (author)2008-01-21

I'm not sure how long that would last without ripping out. Esp on fast descents. Guess it's just for going around 8-10mph.

author
1lenore (author)vrkelley2008-01-21

This bike weighs over 40 pounds, so I don't get going very fast very often, but I never had any problems with fast descents when I made them. I have had these skirt guards on my bike for about five years now (with off-and-on heavy use) and they have not ripped at all, but have stretched a little. If you're very concerned about long term strength, I would suggest using canvas instead of tulle, putting eyelets or buttonholes in the canvas and then using cable ties to attach to the frame. However, you would need to hem the canvas to prevent fraying.

author
bedbugg2 (author)2007-08-12

you have a tricked out ride

author
Karpov (author)2006-09-04

I don´t speak English. Sorry.

author
bedbugg2 (author)Karpov2007-08-12

you just spoke it lol

author
swede d hied (author)2006-11-24

would your contraption be of use to a young scotts laddy cause ma kilt plays havoc with ma spokes ah know it looks gie bonny but can ah change yer colours tae suit ma clans tartan or kin ye draw up one so i kin see if it passes muster ......keep on groovin as they say.swede

author
HeresyOfTruth (author)2006-11-10

Perfect! I am in the process of buying a utility/commuter bike, but could not find anywhere that sold skirt guards. Now I will just use your method, from your very excellent tutorial.

author
1lenore (author)HeresyOfTruth2006-11-10

Thanks! That is what it's all about.

author
captain_cardboard (author)2006-10-25

Hey, do those christmas tree lights work?

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oskay (author)captain_cardboard2006-10-26

They do; I've seen it. You can see the green battery box next to the hub. They even light up in sequence, which looks pretty neat when it's rolling.

author
WPee (author)2006-09-24

Hello Ladies, Guys also like skirts (but we don't wear them - grin) I do recall a young fellow who used a piece of alumimum and POP-Rivets and BOND-DOUGH and a really excellent metal flake paint job. My guess is it's about time for that design style to make a RETURN. It may also INCLUDE such things a LEDs and GPS and up-to-date goodies.....LET THE PARADE BEGIN....

author
sandma1half (author)2006-09-19

Nice Idea! I love to wear skirts with my bicycle b/c it makes the ride feel more pleasant and less like a regular commute. I have even flirted with the idea of wearing semi-formal gowns on a bike, and now that I know how to make a skirt guard, I may just try it! Thanks!

author
1lenore (author)sandma1half2006-09-24

Yes, skirts are ideal for riding a bike - you stay nice and cool. Well, a long polyester satin skirt won't be chilly, but generally speaking skirts are way more comfortable.

author
skautistic (author)2006-08-27

Is this just for looks, or does it serve a purpose other than looking fabulous?

author
1lenore (author)skautistic2006-08-28

This really does keep your skirt from getting wrapped around your seat stays, caught in your chain, or otherwise preventing you from getting there safely. I have several long dresses that I can wear riding this bike now. One of them has holes in it from wearing it while riding prior to installation.

author
skautistic (author)1lenore2006-09-05

Hence the name skirt guard, sorry for the stupid question everyone.

author
yitong leo (author)2006-09-03

fairy tale dream

author
austin (author)2006-06-23

zip ties/cable ties are dead useful

author
Caya (author)2006-06-23

That is SO awesome. Thank you!!! I'm going to be adding that one for sure. Beautiful bike, too!!

author
BruceR (author)2006-06-23

Nice. My mother used to have an ancient ladies bicycle with eyelet holes down each side of the rear mudguard to attach a skirt guard.

About This Instructable

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Bio: I'm a Pastafarian, I sew, I'm learning electronics and I do all of my own bicycle maintenance. More about me at www.evilmadscientist ...
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