Not Asking for It

The other day I was biking to work when this happened:

Dress

I wouldn’t think anything of it if it happened once. But I’ve noticed my attire seems to prompt certain responses in other road users.

Dress

How do I know it’s not just an off day? Because I have the ability to change clothes.

Some days I’m this cyclist:

Dress

And later that same evening I might be this cyclist:

Dress

I’m called out on my appearance daily as I go about my business on public streets without the cover of a car.

Dress

Even “ordinary” attire has drawbacks.

Dress

It’s no surprise that most days I find myself dressing to get the reaction I want when I bike. Or at least the most benign reaction.

Dress

But no matter what I’m wearing it’s still just me: complex, multi-dimensional, and in awesome shape.

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83 Responses to “Not Asking for It”

  • LondonCalling

    Totally get the first commenters about hanging behind someone- as a guy, I sometimes go to great lengths to avoid freaking out women as I unavoidably find myself walking EXACTLY the same route home, right behind them, down a series of dark streets. Either you speed up and race ahead ( on foot) so as to not seem like a threat, or you stop and tie a lace and give them a bit of a headstart. I have on occasions faked a call on my cell and had a really overly cheery, gushy conversation with some one who’s not there, so as to demonstrate that I’m non threatening. How sad is that?

    • Lisa

      That’s actually really helpful. It definitely freaks me out if someone is following too close. Also, crossing the street to the other side if you can helps.

  • Hey there,
    That sweaty, out-of-breath guy sounds a lot like me when I ride. (expect my tires usually have the right amount of air in them)

    I’m not sure of this helps or not..

    My daily commute to and from work is the only cardio exercise that I get – so I try to make my commute into a fitness workout. In my head I’m often thinking things like, “I made it home in 22 minutes yesterday. I wonder if I can make it home in 21 minutes today?” -which may sound dorky – but I’m trying to make my commute work for me – i.e. make it not boring – make it an exercise self-challenge.

    Fyi safety is always the highest priority when I ride and is always more important than whatever exercise goal I’m trying to achieve on my ride.

    Additionally I end up passing some people while I’m sweaty and out of breath and wonder what people are thinking when I pass them up – so this article helps. I sometimes wonder if people think it’s some kind of an ego thing on my part if I pass them.

    Not sure if it helps to say that (just speaking for myself) that if I pass you up – it doesn’t have anything to do with you or with gender or anything – it’s just me trying to turn my commute into exercise.

  • I think most drivers, bikers are jealous when they see a woman in a skirt who can comfortably ride a bike. It may manifest itself as aggression, drafting, or passing too close, but in the end they wish they could ride with similar confidence.

  • Anita

    This post is hilarious! I can relate to all seven frames.
    Keep it up! I had a good laugh this morning. :)

  • Bonnie Lake

    If you haven’t already done so, I recommend a trip to Amsterdam. See how biking is done, and done well.

  • Alexia

    You are speaking for all of us!!!

  • So true! I’m still getting used to being so visible on a bike. Sometimes it’s cool, but — like you pointed out — sometimes it’s not. Oh, well. Thanks for the laugh!

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