Quick & Easy Bicycle Skirt Guards





Introduction: Quick & Easy Bicycle Skirt Guards

About: 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.com

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!



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    45 Discussions

    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.

    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.

    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?

    2 replies

    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.

    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

    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.

    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!

    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.

    2 replies

    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!

    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.

    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.

    Knox O

    11 years ago

    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)

    3 replies

    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.

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

    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.