One of the first bike fashion tricks that I was determined to master was how to bike in a long dress. Given my love of dramatic – yet casual – dresses, I was determined to make it work.
For demonstration purposes, I put together this psychedelic colored ensemble. Wearing it while drifting through the gardens of Golden Gate Park, I imagined myself inside one of William Vollmann's The Rainbow Stories, set in San Francisco 20 years after the Summer of Love.
As this particular dress has a 1970s-by-way-of-the Nineties thing going on, it feels particularly à propos to the idea of looking at an idealized era through a grungier lens.
Incidentally, the collection of San Francisco short stories includes one about a character falling in lust with a very particular dress. It's a lot less twee than it sounds. (To be honest, parts of The Rainbow Stories gave me nightmares.)
You know what else gives me nightmares? When I ruin a great vintage score by getting the skirt caught up in my bicycle. And since if I can't bike in it, I won't wear it, I developed this easy trick for biking in a long dress.
1. The Lean
Prop yourself up by sitting on your top-tube, like a tripod, so neither you nor your two-tired bike falls over.
3. Knot It
Make a simple overhand knot. Keep it off-center, positioning it over one thigh rather than between your legs.
2. The Modified Curtsy
(Because we're so polite around here.) Grab one end of the hem of your dress and bring it to hip level.
4. Ride On
Congratulations! You have successfully and temporarily reduced the length of your skirt and protected your hem from hungry brake calipers. You are now ready to ride in style.
It works! Now that you know just how easy it is to bike in a long dress, don't be shy about digging out the vintage prom dress that has been gathering dust in the back of your closet. Just ask yourself what would Marla Singer wear to go for a bike ride?