Thursday, September 9, 2010


I've been fielding a number of questions about riding in a skirt, so I thought I would provide a few tips.

In general, cycling in a skirt is no different from wearing anything else. Sure, if you're planning to ride more than 20 miles at one go, I would change into some cycling-specific clothes with padding and no oddly placed seams. But if you are going 5 or 10 miles around town, it's all about the same. It just seems unfamiliar.

Some outfits may give you trouble on a bike. But this is no different from finding that your new skirt bunches up when you walk down the hallway, or gets twisted, or tends to snag on furniture. The only thing that really doesn't work is a tightly-fitted pencil skirt, unless it has a major slit (preferably in the back) or a kick pleat. This black shirt is fairly straight, but the material stretches and there is a 4 inch slit in the back.
A-line skirts, flared skirts, and full skirts are great. I like skirts just above the knee, preferably with a built-in slip. This places silky smooth fabric against your skin for total comfort, and the maximum in coverage. But you still get good air circulation, which is really important in the summer! My cream skirt has a soft slip under a lightweight embroidered cotton fabric with a gentle drape.
I no longer wear the very short skirts that I could get away with 10 years ago! But if you do like short skirts, rest assured that the saddle will keep most things covered. If you are nervous about riding in a skirt at first, or you aren't sure how your shorter skirts will behave, you can always layer a slip, fitted shorts, or even bloomers (a split slip) underneath. I used to wear some fitted ballet shorts under my skirts. But I eventually realized that I had nothing to worry about - nothing above mid-thigh ever seems to show.

If you have a very long, full skirt, there is a chance that it could get caught in your brakes, chain, or wheel, which could cause a crash. A full chain case and skirt guard will prevent this, and may be a good investment if you wear long skirts a lot. If you just need a one-time solution, you can simply gather up part of the hem and secure it with a know, a rubber band, or a hair clip. I prefer clips because they look nice and don't damage fabrics. They can also secure gauzy fabrics that fly around too much.

Having a step through frame makes it more brainless to ride in a skirt, but it's entirely doable on a diamond frame. You just need to keep your knees together as you mount the bicycle, and to have enough fabric to go over the top tube when your feet are on the ground or extended. It's easy!


  1. Inexpensive skirt guards for bikes with fenders (a prerequisite)are available in the US from Morgan Imports(look towards the bottom of the page). I have installed a few of these for friends and have been pleased with the results.


  2. Good to know! and there are lots of do-it-yourself ideas out there. You can find discarded fenders at Sopo for a few bucks.