Ultimate Guide to Biking to Work (and still looking stylish)

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{ Le 21ème | Adam Katz Sinding }

Riding your bike to work has always been an option, sure, but it seems like now more than ever we’re turning to two wheels as a practical, environmentally friendly, and inexpensive way to get to and from the daily grind. That said, it’s often difficult for bike commuters, especially women, to find attractive cycling apparel that works just as well in the boardroom as it does on the bike. We’d like to change that. We’ve pulled together this guide to commuting to work by bike to empower women to get around the green way without having to sacrifice their style. The following is a rundown of our favorite tips, tricks and products that will help women everywhere cycle chicly.

Prepare Yourself

Before setting off on your bike commute, the very first thing you should do is check the weather. Knowing what kind of elements you’ll be facing is key to orchestrating a successful ride, no matter where you’re headed. We like to use a weather app called Solar.

It boasts a sleek, modern interface without all the bells and whistles (who cares what the dew point is? Tell us if we’ll need our bike rain cape!) and displays all the meteorological facts you need against a colorscape that changes to reflect the weather outside.

A Stylish Cyclist’s Wardrobe

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Once you’ve got a sense of the weather, pick your outfit accordingly keeping in mind that when biking, freedom of movement is a must. Riding in trousers is fairly self-explanatory, but a skirt or dress? Now that’s another story. If you’re in the market for the perfect skirt, we suggest Iladora Bike Skirt (pictured above). It’s a tailored look that’s perfect for the office, and give you a greater range of motion while pedaling. Additionally, this piece is water repellent– pretty high tech for such a classic look. But you don’t necessarily need a bike skirt if you want to ride a bike in a skirt. We’ve tried some pretty outlandish ways to keep our flowing hems in place while riding, but our favorite is actually pretty simple: t’s a handy bike skirt garter clip, like these from Bird Industries (whose motto, “Friends don’t let friends wear spandex,” we couldn’t agree with more).

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Just slip it on, position it above your knee, and clip to your hem for a secure hold that maintains both your safety and modesty while you ride. If you’re sporting a slightly longer skirt or dress, “the knot” is the way to go. Just gather the fabric of your garment and tie a loose knot that will keep the excess fabric from either getting caught in your spokes or blowing up in a breeze.

Wondering what to do with your hair when you slip on your bike helmet and head out the door? We’ve found a number of helmet-friendly ‘dos that won’t succumb to frizz after your ride is over. If you’re leaving your hair down, you might find a turban handy. This is a super simple way to keep helmet hair at bay, and they also look great as standalone accessories.

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If you’re looking for an updo, we suggest a simple, low knot like this one. It’s an easy style that looks more complicated than it is, and best of all it keeps your hair in place no matter how rough your ride.

Pack It Up

Once your person is primed and ready, you’re going to need to think about how to haul your lunch, keys, wallet, a few key cosmetics (for quick touchups) and possibly your laptop all the way to the office. Rather than using a large tote bag that could throw you off balance when riding, or a backpack that’s sure to induce sweat on your back and lead to major outfit-erosion, why not opt for a bike pannier? Panniers are a classic addition to any bike, and a practical way to tote your load by bike. This vintage inspired pannier by Bobbin Bicycles clips right onto your bike’s rear rack and is roomy enough to hold all the necessities, and even a few extra items. Best of all, the weather-treated straw will hold up well in the elements, and the bag doubles as an oversized tote when you’re not bike-bound.

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Heading Home Post-Happy Hour

It’s easy enough to head home right after work, but what if you’re heading out for happy hour? No worries, your bike can still get you there and back. Just be sure to outfit your ride with lights (it’s the law in many places, anyway). We like this Strobe Twinpack from Knog: you get two silicon lights, one white and one red for the front and rearof your bike, respectively. Simply click the button to set the lights to strobe or a constant beam.

 

This will keep you visible to other cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists when you’re heading home in the twilight, after cocktails, of course.

Back On The Shelf

When it comes time to put your trusty steed back in the barn, don’t  worry. You can stow your bike in your home with the help of a wall-mounted bike shelf. We especially love Board By Design’s Bike All because it’s a beautiful, handmade, modern looking bike shelf that doesn’t rely on a straight across top tube (AKA the feature that makes a bike a “boys’ bike”) for sleek bike storage.

Instead, it uses your bike seat to suspend the cycle off the ground and out of the way. The system is cleverly designed to provide additional storage for your helmet, lock, and bag, plus a place to charge your mobile devices – it’s a one-stop shop for storing and organizing your like by bike.

To Sum It All Up

Bicycling is a fantastic way to stay in shape and get some fresh air, sure. But it’s much more, really: it’s a healthy, earth-friendly, and economical way to get to and from work. Bike culture has exploded in cities all over the world, and we think that every woman should be able to take part without sacrificing safety, style, or comfort. The above tips are meant to empower women cyclists to get to their destinations feeling chic and confident, and, most importantly, to enjoy the journey, too.

4 Comments on Ultimate Guide to Biking to Work (and still looking stylish)

  1. Kaylah Kola
    June 25, 2014 at 10:37 am (3 years ago)

    Love these ideas! I actually just help fund a Kickstarter called KATCH. It is all about keeping your dress/skirt down while riding.
    It should be hitting the market soon!

  2. Jarah Emerson
    June 25, 2014 at 11:17 am (3 years ago)

    i love your posts!! so smart!!

  3. Maya in Miami
    June 30, 2014 at 1:28 pm (3 years ago)

    What an awesome post! I love to find fashion articles that incorporate some practicality! All too often, I find myself choosing between being either fashionable OR practical, and sometimes that ends up being a bummer. I hate walking 2 miles in my least comfortable pair of heels, but I also hate dressing for a casual day in the city and then ending up underdressed at happy hour. That’s why absolutely LOVE articles like these! I mean, who knew there was such a thing as a bike skirt garter clip? Too cool! I will definitely be implementing these tricks and products 🙂