How to Cycle in a Skirt

My husband, who was a young boy at the time, was on a road trip with his parents when nature called him. Since they were on a long stretch of highway far from the next rest stop, his parents pulled the car over to the side of the road so he could relieve himself. My husband, concerned about his dignity, pointed out to his Dad that other people who drove by would be able to see his private parts!

At this point his Dad, who always has the funniest yet truthful things to say, responded...

If they've never seen it before then they don't know what it is. And if they have seen it before then it's nothing new.

And that was settled.

Whenever I pedal down the street wearing a skirt or dress, this story flashes through my mind. I've mentioned before that I don't like to change in and out of my clothes (and carry them) to ride my bicycle and then have to change again when I get to my destination. So I wear the same thing for my bike commute as I do walking around the office. I also prefer skirts and dresses primarily for the freedom of movement and I wear them often.

There are some things you can do when cycling in a skirt, if you have the same concerns about exposing more than you care to show to the public.

  • Wear tights. I love fashion tights because they also keep me warm during cooler months.
  • Wear shorts underneath. There are bike shorts and bike bloomers in the market to choose from.
  • Choose your skirt or dress carefully for the fabric and the length. But it can be hard to tell  unless you try it on a short ride.
  • There are clips and garters available in the market. If you're interested in some suggestions, just let me know! Or use this little trick with a rubber band and coin. I've tried it and it works in a pinch!

We love bikes. We love skirts. But sometimes these two don't mix well. Which is why we came up with Penny in Yo' Pants. An easy solution to making your skirt bikeable.

  • There are also several skirts designed for cycling. I've worn one that is a pencil skirt that converts with a simple zipper and hidden placket to one that I can easily pedal in. Imagine that! A pencil skirt perfect for the office that you can also ride a bicycle in!

Lastly, it's what you make of it. I've been there. Thought my dress would be fine. Several minutes of pedaling and it rides up in the front or rides up in the back or flies up to my hips or flashes my Hello Kitty panties to innocent people passing by. I just try to pedal with my knees together and make sure to wear pretty underwear with flowers and lace just in case! Besides, I pedal so fast and roll by so fast they can hardly catch a glimpse anyway. There are worse things than seeing under garments that we all wear after all and if they've seen it before, then it's nothing new!

Three Movies With an Unexpected Character - the Bicycle

Like my cats I am easily entertained. I can watch the "what's playing now" digest channel as if it was an actual t.v. show. But that was way back when we had cable television in our household. Hard to believe I once attended film school in LA for a couple years, huh? I lived and breathed movies when I lived in Burbank, California. And for a while after that, it was hard to watch films for the sake of entertainment without scrutinizing the cinematography or continuity. Now the extent of any cinema in my life is in the form of NetFlix streamings, the occasional Redbox rentals and the even more rare flicks at the Box Office.

Still, I know a fun-to-watch movie when I see one and I've enjoyed replays of a few flicks where the bicycle plays a surprising role:

I. The Right Kind of Wrong (2013)

Leo is a failed-writer-turned-dishwasher who is made famous for his many flaws and shortcomings in a blog and published book written by his ex-wife. Then Leo meets the girl of his dreams on the day of her wedding in this heart tugging super-cute romantic comedy. Check out the trailer! I love this movie because he goes everywhere by bike and there is nothing sexier than a man on a bicycle.

II. Wild Target (2010)

A hitman tries to retire but a beautiful thief (played by Emily Blunt) may change his plans. There's not a whole lot of bicycles in the movie but Emily is dressed so cute, cute and of course, the movie is great. Entertaining and funny. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did!

III. 3 Days to Kill (2014)

Kevin Costner stars in this action-thriller as an international spy who wants to give up his high risk occupation to rebuild a relationship with his estranged daughter but he has to do one last job. The trailer does not do this movie justice. The story between him and his daughter is better. And it's funny how often the purple bike Costner purchased for his daughter appears throughout the movie. It plays a significant role in the movie!

If you've seen these movies, what did you think? If you haven't, I hope you enjoy watching them like I did! At the very least, watch them for the bicycles.

No Shower? No Problem! Tips for How NOT to Sweat While Biking to Work

One of the questions I am asked frequently about commuting by bicycle is if I sweat and change clothes once I get to work. It's a great question and I can understand the concern--especially for women. And my answer is "not really, the extent of my perspiration is usually not any more than if I went on a brisk walk in the middle of the day" and "no, I wear the same clothes to ride my bicycle as I walk around in the office with". They are surprised to hear that, especially after knowing that I ride 10-miles one way.

Audrey Hepburn staying sweat-free on her bicycle.

Audrey Hepburn staying sweat-free on her bicycle.

I bike in regular clothing because I like not having to change once I get to the office and having to change back for the trip home. The funny thing is...my colleagues would have thought I drove my car in if I weren't pushing my bike into the office.

Here are some tips to avoid feeling feel sticky and uncomfortable so you don't have to worry about smelling like the French skunk, Pepé Le Pew:

1. Dress Lightly or Dress in Layers

Dressing too warmly is one of the biggest contributing factors to sweating. Even during the winter I try not to wear heavier clothing than I need to. The idea is to dress in layers (for example, a tank top or camisole underneath a long-sleeve t-shirt with or without a button up shirt and a cardigan or light jacket). It is a little chilly when I head out the door but after a few minutes of pedaling, I generate enough body heat to stay warm. I peel off my layers of clothing before I feel my body temperature rising above being uncomfortable and stow them in bag that hang off the rear rack of my bike until I get to the office.

2. Pedal at a Moderate Pace

When you are riding to work in the morning, pedal at an easy pace and save the workout ride for the way home. I often have to remind myself to slow down when I'm having too much fun going fast in order to avoid breaking a sweat. Road cycling has taught me to ride a smaller gear and pedal faster (there are times when you need to do this but it tends to bring my heart rate up). Now when the road is flat, I shift into a bigger gear and pedal slower yet I can still maintain the same speed. It helps to keep my heart rate down. Stop lights are a great opportunity to rest and lower the heart rate to keep perspiration at bay. But you're still getting more cardio and physical activity than driving!!

3. Carry Your Things in Pannier Bags or Baskets

Not only will you feel the weight on your back and shoulders if you carry your things in a backpack but doing so could make your back sweat. It is okay if you're going to change clothes once you get to work but the goal is NOT to sweat so that you do not need to change clothes when you get to your destination.

4. Get a Boost with Electric Assist

If you have a lot of hills along your route, it will be hard not to get sweaty no matter how slow you go. A bicycle with a battery powered electric-motor can help ease the effort to get up those hills to keep sweating to a minimum. Less physical exertion can result in less sweat. If you do not have an electric bike, your best bet is to use a small gear and spin to ease the effort of going uphill--and take your time!! Relax, sit back and spin up the hill. It is not a race.

5. Choose Performance Fabrics

Some clothing pieces have better moisture-wicking fabric to draw the sweat and moisture away from your body than others. This helps you to stay drier and smell less. Look for performance innerwear such as bras, camis, tank tops, tees and long sleeve t-shirts to wear underneath your regular clothing.

6. Consider Multi-modal Transportation

If you have a long ways to go you could bike and bus or the other way around to cut the distance you have to travel. And if you are really concerned about arriving at work in a hot mess, you could bring your bike with you by bus or carpool and ride home in the evening.

7. Have a Backup Plan

Carry (or keep at the office) wet wipes and/or a small towel to dampen and wipe off should you get sweatier than planned. Sometimes during the height of summer I will carry my blouse or button up shirt in my pannier bag and an extra base layer (camisole or tank top). Then after I arrive at the office, I will change out of the sweaty inner layer and slip on a fresh one underneath my blouse or button up top. I also keep a set of clothing in my desk drawer (camisole, button-up shirt, pencil skirt, and socks) but I have never needed them.

What you wear, how hard you ride and how you carry your things will make a difference in how much you sweat. After a few rides you will get better and better at knowing what works for you and what doesn't. I like to pedal at an easy pace to enjoy the fresh air and the outdoors. I wear my office attire when I commute by bicycle and I let my bike do the work in carrying my things so that sweating is one of the last things on my mind.

Choosing a Bicycle to Get Around Town

When choosing a bicycle for riding around town, the features that a bicycle has (or lacks) can make a difference in the convenience and comfort of your ride. Find out what makes an ideal bicycle for commuting before making a purchase decision so you can get to where you need to go.

When I started bicycle commuting, I used a bike that I had from when I raced road bikes and rode for training and endurance. My bike was designed for competitive cycling, not necessarily for commuting to work. I wore specific shoes that snapped into the pedals and special clothing designed to work with the seat installed on my bike. This meant that I needed to change clothing after I arrived at the office and change again for the ride home.

Bicycle Commuting on a Rainy Day

I quickly learned that what I really needed was a bicycle designed for commuting to better fit my needs of transporting myself and the stuff I carried on a daily basis. So I went into our local bike shop and they helped me find my daily commuter ride. Since then, my bike and I have been inseparable!!

Here are some things you may want to look for when searching for a bicycle to get around town.

 

1. STYLE (choose a city, comfort, or touring bicycle)

The style of the bike will dictate how you travel and what you can wear. There are many, many styles of bikes and they work well for what they are designed for. For example, road bikes are for going fast on pavement and mountain bikes better for riding on dirt, rocky trails or gravel roads. Could you ride a road bike or mountain bike as a commuter? Of course you can! But without swapping pedals or tires or adding racks and fenders, the bike may not be as functional or comfortable as a city, comfort, or touring bike -- which is what I recommend if you plan to use your bike to run errands, grab coffee or lunch with friends or ride to work.

Dutch style city bikes such as the Papillionaire "Sommer" with its swooping step-through frame is also a good option.

Above all things -- you have to LOVE, LOVE your bike or else you will not ride it. So pick a bike that you like the looks of!

2. GEARS

Depending on where you live, you may or may not need more than one gear. If the terrain is flat like Florida, a single-speed bicycle will work. If there are many hills along your route, like where I live, having more gears will be helpful.

Additional gears can ease your pedaling comfort and effort when riding uphill or downhill, and give you more speed on a flat road. For example, a 3-speed is perfect for mild to intermediate hills so you can get some assistance going up or down hills. An 8-speed is ideal for more challenging commutes to handle more difficult inclines and for greater power on downhill and flat gradients. I ride a 20-speed and it comes in handy near the end of my 10-mile commute when I'm riding up a mile-long hill with 5% to 9% grades.

3. FENDERS

Fenders aren't just for rain. Front and rear fenders protect your bike and your clothing from grit and grime when the roads are wet from irrigation run off and puddles. While you can add fenders to your bike, try to find a bike that comes with fenders that are factory installed. They tend to look and fit better.

4. RACKS (you need a gear-carrying strategy)

You may only need a purse or a messenger bag to carry your stuff around in. But if you plan to carry A LOT of things with you (like we women tend to do) and/or for distances longer than 3 miles, then you really need a bike with racks to support panniers or baskets. Unlike a car, there's not an extra seat or trunk on a bicycle to carry your stuff. You will need a way to bring the things you need with you on your bike.

On a given day, I have with me my bike lock, flat tire kit, lunch, rain jacket, tablet, books, wallet, keys, phone, etc. I may stop at the grocery store on the way home to pick up wine, fresh fruit and vegetables and boy am I glad to have a rack and pannier system instead of having to haul the goods home hanging off my arms or on my back.

5. OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

KICKSTAND: A kickstand helps your bike to stand up on its own so you can be hands-free to do other things like loading up the rack or getting things in and out of your tool bag without having to lay down your bike when you don't something to lean it up against.

CHAIN GUARD: It is not possible for all bikes to have a chain guard but it will protect your bike from grease marks or getting caught in the chainring. If your bike doesn't have a chain ring, you can always use a trouser strap like these Brooks Leather Trouser Straps, tuck your pant leg into your sock or boot., or fold and roll up the material.

SADDLE: Your seat (or saddle) should also be comfortable since you will not be wearing special cycling shorts with padding. A "comfortable" saddle does not necessarily mean lots of padding. Personally, I prefer a firm seat. Many women believe that a minimal saddle would hurt and it needs lots of padding to be comfortable but that is not true. If the saddle is the correct width and fits you well, it will perch you up and support you by your sit bones. I have picked out a few styles of Brooks Leather Saddles in the Cuter Commuter Shop for you!

For all of these reasons above, we chose to carry Papillionaire Bicycles in our Cuter Commuter shop because it has the features that make an ideal commuter bicycle and would be great for riding around town.

30 Ways to Wear a Scarf in 5 Minutes

Brrr...it is DEFINITELY fall season out there! And for me, it means all of my fun and colorful scarves come out.

I love neckwear and the many different ways I can style them. Below, you'll find 25 options to tie, knot and wrap them in a cool 4 1/2 minute video (no pun intended). And 5 more wears to wear them in a slideshow.

Certain ties and knots stay put better than others to keep them from unraveling while pedaling on the bike (:eek:). You can also tuck the ends underneath your blazer and keep your neck warm during the ride.

Part of enjoying the cooler weather is making it fun and staying comfortably warm while commuting. If you get too hot, just undo your scarf and slip it in your bike basket or pannier!

20 Reasons to Love Cycling

Cycling is a sport like no other because people cycle for many, many reasons. For fitness, for the social aspect, for transportation, and for competition to name a few.

I ride because:

  • IT MAKES ME HAPPY!! I arrive to the office in the best mood and mentally alert and ready to tackle my projects!
  • It allows me to balance all of the important things in my life while achieving my personal health and fitness goals at the same time.
  • Because I incorporate physical activity into my daily commute, I no longer go to the gym where I am stuck indoors "working out". I can enjoy lunch with my colleagues instead.
  • I feel connected to my community and my surroundings. As I pedal uphill and downhill, I feel the wind on my skin, my heart pumps blood through my body, I smell flowers blooming or the aroma of a BBQ from the backyards I pass by, I shift into a higher gear to put a little resistance training on my calves, legs, thighs and bum. And I get to greet people I pass along the way with a "hello!" or "good day!"
  • I can spend quality time with my family and friends while having fun and see new places.
Cycling allows me to have a balanced life while achieving my personal health and fitness goals.

Cycling allows me to have a balanced life while achieving my personal health and fitness goals.

I can go on and on about all the reasons why I love cycling!! So why do you ride?