On the podcast: Fashion on bikes, from long skirts to Lycra

Producer Lily Karabaic showing her high-heel riding
skills during the Bowie vs. Prince Pedalpalooza ride.
(Photo by J.Maus/BikePortland)

If you are what you wear, being yourself is often a challenge for people who ride bikes.

Armed with the practical tips of guest host Meghan Sinnott, our latest podcast episode is here to help. Sinnott joined producer Lillian Karabaic, Jonathan and me to talk about how to make people say “You got here on a bike?

We tackle the best heels for biking in; Jonathan’s affection for sport gear (and the times when he decides to abandon it); whether chain guards are necessary; and whether we should “light up our children like road cones” when they hit the road themselves. Even our recording engineer, Brock Dittus, pops in with a tip about men’s pants.

As always, we close with a how-to tip and Lily’s favorite TriMet-related tweets of the month.

I hope you’ll tune in to the next episode too, when we’ll change gears (just a little) by diving into the amazing social science of traffic signals.

You can subscribe to our monthly podcast with Stitcher or iTunes, subscribe by RSS, sign up to get an email notification each time we upload a new episode, or just listen to it above using Soundcloud.

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spare_wheel
spare_wheel
8 years ago

why is there a need to suggest that wearing synthetics — even synthetics with lycra or spandex threads — is a negative? in the pacific northwest many consider active/sporty clothing to be “normal”. in fact, a common criticism of clothing manufacturers is the scarcity of sporty cycling clothing for women. i also fail to understand why a pedestrians-specific rain coat is OK but a cycling-specific raincoat is less OK. is walking more “normal” than cycling?

i think it’s fine to criticize lbses for not being friendlier to casual cyclists (and women) but this myth that the sight of someone in rei bike tights and a showers pass rain jacket is intimidating comes across as divisive and elitist.

F.W. de Klerk
F.W. de Klerk
8 years ago

I agree with you spare_wheel. What’s next? Are they going to label people with panniers and fenders as being “intimidating” commuters?

This kind of discussion is what sends BikePortland off the rails, IMHO.

Roo
Roo
8 years ago

The American pronunciation of “Pan-yays” (c’est francais mes amis) always makes me grin.
Good show everyone.
Especially on the topic of visibility.

Jordan
Jordan
8 years ago

Cycling specific stuff is great. I love my chrome knickers for commuting. I also like to wear SPD’s for my 16 mile round trip.

spare_wheel
spare_wheel
8 years ago
Reply to  Jordan

jonathan’s sheepish apologetics over wearing bike-specific knickers were odd. many experienced commuters (please have mercy on our souls) have learned the hard way that rhythmic bicycling motion can result in unwanted crotchal/scranal liberation.

Mossby Pomegranate
Mossby Pomegranate
8 years ago
Reply to  spare_wheel

Crazy…now we’re not supposed to look like we arrived somewhere by bike? OMG.

rain panther
rain panther
8 years ago

I like rain panth.

rain panther
rain panther
8 years ago

Seriously, though, wearing rain pants and a decent (yellow, J&G) raincoat allows me to peel off those outer layers when I arrive at work, revealing… a nicely dressed – and dry! – regular person.

armando
armando
8 years ago

when i started commuting by bike again, i just wore what i wore to work that day(slacks, dress shirt). the downside was that slacks definitely don’t suffer the wear and tear of commuting by bike like jeans and bike shorts do.

Glenn
Glenn
8 years ago

I wear Carhartts for trips under 10 miles, and my Utilikilt for longer trips. Ventilation, freedom of motion, a bit of padding in the seat due to the pleats. I don’t ride fast enough for windage to be an issue. Padded bike shorts under the kilt for trips over 20 miles; I’ll give them up when I can afford a leather saddle.

Glenn
Glenn
8 years ago

I don’t like chain cases, they make it hard to change the rear tire. I do like chain guards so I don’t have to tuck in my trouser cuffs. They are difficult to make compatible with front derailleur gears though. I’m trying to design one with a Lexan top to see the gear rings through. Skirt guards, also called coat guards, can help keep longer garments out of the rear spokes. My panniers do this well, but even without them the hem on a kilt is high enough not to get caught. The top tube does hold my kilt high enough that a strong headwind can flip up the hem. In those conditions I have to push the front hem down every few minutes. Someday I’d like to try a step through or mixte and see if it’s an improvement.

Alan 1.0
Alan 1.0
8 years ago

Jonathan and Michael, you didn’t mention the problems you have when wearing skirts…

John Liu
John Liu
8 years ago

I bike commute/run errands in street/work clothes, and I weekend ride in lycra kit.

My experience is that if you can tolerate dialing back the speed and heart rate a little when commuting, and aren’t an unusually profuse perspirer, there’s no problem riding in button down shirt and chinos or whatever you wear for work. Just wrap a velcro strap around the trouser cuffs and ride.

For hard riding, though, can’t beat the bike shorts and jersey.

Andy K
8 years ago

The podcast is always awesome. I just left a review on itunes.