So Ladies…

…Let’s talk about fashion. Or not.

Because I’m not much of a fashionista. And never have been.

So Ladies

I have gotten a little better since then. But my life doesn’t revolve around clothes. I really enjoy looking looking like crap some days.

So Ladies

Or a bit dirty and grungy.

So Ladies

And some times I even dress up (and look like Lovely Bicycle on accident.)

So Ladies

However when I started biking I didn’t know what to do about clothes. Or bikes. Or anything. I just wanted to try it. I didn’t see anyone on a bike who looked like any version of me. As a newbie, this was all I really knew about cyclists:

Unexpected Types

You may have noted that neither of these figures appear to be women. And I knew I was not an athlete or a hipster. Or a man.

So when I came across a certain European street-style blog of stylishly dressed women riding bicycles I signed right up. I went and bought the Dutchiest bike I could find in Los Angeles (which was actually made in China) and a bunch of flouncy dresses from H&M and promptly started biking up and down Sunset Boulevard leaving a trail of bolts and washers behind me.

But as I got more confident about with bicycle commuting, I realized something bothered me about this bike sheek culture.

So Ladies

It was just another stereotype.

So I moved on. I agree about wearing ordinary clothes when I bike. But now I wear my ordinary clothes which don’t happen to be dresses or heels or terribly stylish most of the time– my biking does not revolve around fashion.

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  • Lovely Bicycle! February 3, 2012   Reply →

    Ha! Your cartoon version of me resembles me better than photos manage to, awesome!

    The “ordinary black lace panties” panel is just… I have no words. A classic. My favourite so far for sure.

    Oh and you are too a fashionista, don’t front :)

  • Min February 3, 2012   Reply →

    Hahahaha, that final cartoon is pure genius! It is perfect!

  • Steve February 3, 2012   Reply →

    Why does the guy taking pictures look like me?? I’ve only been to Boston once.

  • Julia February 3, 2012   Reply →

    You are so funny and clever. I look forward to your posts all week. This one was so worth the wait!

  • Chris February 3, 2012   Reply →

    Love your artwork. I loved marching band too, what did you play!

    • bikeyface February 3, 2012  

      I pretended to play trumpet. But I was in it for the Varsity jacket. Yes, spend 3 yrs in marching band and you get one. The nerd in me thought that was really funny.

  • Matthew Boulanger February 3, 2012   Reply →

    Oh no- making fun of Copenhagenize? Good. As much as I love Copenhagen and bike-friendlyness, the anti-helmet stuff is tedious. Especially to this real-world commuter who does indeed go down once in a while. My commuting route is not an endless paradise full of perfectly manicured grade-separated paths and friendly, understanding drivers.

  • Naomi February 3, 2012   Reply →

    I’ve recently discovered a bevy of bike blogs devoted to looking fashionable and chic on your bike (which always includes riding a dutch bike.) Since I live in Chicago, I don’t always get to wear my ordinary clothes (cute or nay) as often as I would like. I find myself going back and fourth from spandex and windbreakers, to boots and jeggings. In the end, they’re all my “ordinary” clothes.

    • Lovely Bicycle! February 3, 2012  

      If you haven’t already, you might want to check out Let’s Go Ride a Bike and the “Women Who Brunch” gang. They are in Chicago.

    • cycler February 3, 2012  

      You should also definitely check out Bike Fancy, which is Chicago based. The (female) photographer has a great eye for portraiture, and they’re all posed photos instead of street shots. What is great about it is that everyone on that site has a distinctive personal style, but it’s not necessarily what’s “In” or “Fashionable”

    • Cecily February 3, 2012  

      Agreed 100%. Bike Fancy makes me feel good about commuting by bike. The Cycle Chic thing makes me feel invisible, because even though I ride a Dutch bike (made in the Netherlands, even), I’m not some waifish, ethereal beauty.

      Another person who takes a different view of citizen cycling is Marc at Amsterdamize, who seems to take great care to show all kinds of people on bikes.

  • Phil LIndsay February 3, 2012   Reply →

    Love it! Clothing is a universal biking problem though since as a male non-athlete and pre-hipster era fellow we’re content to wear our regular clothing. The more we look ‘normal’ out there riding the sooner those folks in their driving clothes (no coats, hats or gloves and often in their pjs…) might accept bicyclists as being part of the roadway landscape. On the piece, your sister and my sister must have come from the same seed yikes! And hey! Did you play the clarinet in band?

    • Nicole February 3, 2012  

      Now I’m tempted to take a bike ride in my pj’s….

  • Amazone February 3, 2012   Reply →

    I found the solution in buying clothes from skate- surf- and outdoorstores, which these days have plenty of ‘normal’ wear looks, fanciness, prints and silhouettes but use technical textiles and a more flexible cutting: more space at shoulders, elbows, knees and hips. Most often it is called their ‘urban wear’ selection.
    When I try on non-sports trousers, I alway check if I can bike with it (lift my legs up high).
    Plus I love to wear my Pearl Izumi rainwear: tight trousers with zippers all the way along the legs accompanied with a light but water- and windresistant bomber complete with a hoodie that doesn’t restrict my view. Or my Vaude Yale winter coat. Beautiful, comfortable, functional and fashionable.
    For shoes I’ve stopped buying the ones with no or a slippery profile: that hurts too much when I slip from the pedal. And this week I saw a mother with too high heels: she couldn’t manage to go up the bridge with her heavy bike with child. So there too some common sense is preferable to always look like an Italian model. Which we, Dutch women, certainly are not.

  • Marge February 3, 2012   Reply →

    this was so good! the last panel made me laugh, it reminded me of a cover of “Momentum”, I don’t know any female cyclist that rides looking like that. It depends on where and what type of riding I’m doing as to what I wear. If it’s a long training ride I’m wearing full on spandex. If I’m just puttering around town my regular clothes are just fine. Exceptions, reflective gear when it’s dark and wet. I always wear a helmet.

  • Anna R. February 3, 2012   Reply →

    Ha! Creeper in the bushes…that made me laugh. :)
    Can’t wait for warm weather so I can try and look cute while riding! With all this winter gear, no one can tell who’s male and who’s female.

  • jordanpattern February 3, 2012   Reply →

    Not that I can cop to worrying about looking pretty, really, ever, but I kind of hate how it’s not good enough for women to be confident and strong on our bikes; we are supposed to be stylish and pretty too. I’m all for people wearing what they’re comfortable in on the bike, and if people want to do their hair and makeup before a ride, then go for it, but I wish “hot girls on bikes” weren’t quite such a fetish item.

    • MoBike February 3, 2012  

      I really like girls who are serious about riding bikes no matter what they wear! By serious I mean people who ride their bike once a week.

  • GRJim February 3, 2012   Reply →

    Better than that shit show Transportation Bill.

    And thanks for unveiling Mikael’s previously metaphorical turgid baguette.

  • scott February 3, 2012   Reply →

    The bread and apples were a very nice touch.

  • Riding Robin February 3, 2012   Reply →

    Bikeyface I love you! (I played sax in the marching band and I like to bike.)
    I ride bikes a lot in my regular clothes which often involve some sort of spandexy shorts underneath — or not, if I’m going to some function right after work. (80’s night dancing in 3/4 length padded wool knickers — ugh yuk!)
    My regular clothes mostly include something stretchy in the fabric for both tops and bottoms. Currently I like wool tights, skirt and boots with a waffle sole that doesn’t slip off the pedal or on the pavement when I step down. I put some reflective tape on my stretchy raincoat and shoulder bag, and some clip-on blinky lights for to stay visible on rainy, wet nights. ( No death-wish here) My practical, inner-geek, adds a kayak hat with a big brim and neck drape under my helmet to keep those pesky raindrops out of my collar and off of my glasses.
    Works for me.

    • April February 3, 2012  

      Hah, I usually bike when I go dancing at an 80’s night too, and the nightclub get so hot that my usual outfit of choice is a miniskirt and a tank top or t-shirt. Which gets complicated when it’s cold/raining outside…I end up putting on many layers under/over my dancing outfit, and then getting there and taking it all off! Thankfully my friends and I usually take over a table/set of chairs on the side, where I can pile all my stuff. Including the helmet.

    • Phoebe February 7, 2012  

      Of course, then there’s the issue of biking home after dancing all night! Sweaty and cold. :^(

  • cycler February 3, 2012   Reply →

    Like you, I’m conflicted about the ‘Cycle Chic” thing, although I find that the vast majority of pictures on CCC are not overly objectifying- they just look like street photos of people riding bikes. I don’t check it very often, so maybe I’m missing the “ordinary black lace panty” shots. And I know that there are lots of soft-core porn plus bikes sites, but I choose to ignore them, just as I ignore all other porn sites.

    It feels like we need a term other than “cycle chic” for the many blogs that show women going about their business on bikes in clothes that reflect their personal style.

  • PAolo February 3, 2012   Reply →

    I have nothing smart to say, but you make me laugh every time. Love the cartoon style too!

  • Michael Blackmore February 3, 2012   Reply →

    Love it. I dread the day I must make my biking fashion decisions on top of already scary pedestrian (maybe in both senses of the word!) fashion decisions! 😉


  • John February 3, 2012   Reply →

    Thanks to biking every single article of clothing I have (including dress shirts) have either grease or rubber cement from patch kits on them to the point where some of my plain old tight fit jeans are now somewhat chic. I should carry extra pants arund with m so when the hipsters look at me while sipping their expensive unpronouncable coffee shop drinks or their pbr and want to buy them I just get changed. And yes that’s happened more often than id like

  • Liz February 3, 2012   Reply →

    A gal after my own heart. [Love that Lance Armstrong drawing! Had to look.]

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