The Truth About Cycling in a Skirt

Welcome to Dear Genevieve, our new bike-life column. In celebration of Bike Month, the launch of bike share and the coming of summer, we’re psyched to introduce a venue for bicyclists and would-be riders to find answers to everyday quandaries. Got a question? Hit us up at

Dear Genevieve,

I want to ride a bike in the city, but I don’t want to be showing my hoo-hah to the world! What should I wear under my skirt? – Exposed

Dear Genevieve Womens CyclingDear Exposed,

Yes, there are things you can do when cycling in a skirt to keep your embarrassment from being splashed all over Page Six. If it’s a flowy skirt, you can wear a garter that clamps hem to legs (keeping things from showing). You can wear shorts. Terry Bicycles sells Cyclo Briefs, which are essentially padded-ass undies for ladies. (Cute? Mmmm. That’s something you’ll have to decide for yourself.)  “Bloomers” from My Alibi are a more colorful option. Or, you can tuck that skirt under your rear, pulling back to front so that you sit on the flappy bits. There’s even an ingenious new skirt made by Iva Jean with a zipper up the back, that opens to make an otherwise too-tight garment rideable.

But here’s the thing. There’s no getting around the problem of riding in a short skirt.  It is one of the small yet undeniable inequities in life. Like housework. As Carol Channing once said, “Nobody smiles doing housework but those ladies you see on TV. Your mommy hates housework, your daddy hates housework; I hate housework, too. And when you grow up, so will you… Housework,” the lesson concludes, “is just no fun.” And the ladies who smile as they do housework on TV? They’re being paid.

Tight pencil skirts, mini-skirts or those darling babydoll dresses? Sorry ladies. The gals you’ve seen in those, perched atop a fixie and backdropped by the pastel-tinged American landscape in an Urban Outfitters ad – they’re being paid. Because riding in that is just no fun.

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  • I don’t know if this says more about my dedication or my lack of decency, but at this point I kinda don’t care if I flash people when I ride in skirts. I take precautions (shorts/pantaloons underneath, tights in the winter), but ultimately if I forget them I just shrug it off because I’d rather ride imperfectly than not ride at all.

    Plus how long can anyone look at my goods when I’m riding past them at LIGHTNING SPEED? 😉

    • ^This. The world just can’t see that much in the .1 to .9 second the hoo-hah is exposed. That’s about enough time for you to catch them looking, but not really enough time for them to see anything.

      Love this as the first question, as it’s a real and rather silly misconception that you can’t ride in skirts, period. When I first started commuting, my bike and I got on to the freight elevator at the end of one work day. A delivery guy got on a few floors down, looked at me, my bike, and my a-line dress and laughed, saying, “You can’t ride a BIKE! In a SKIRT! That’s DANGEROUS!” I laughed back and just said, “Yes I can!” And I did, and I do, and I will.

      • Riding in a skirt is extremely dangerous. Not for the rider, but for males they pass! Do you know how many accidents are caused by girls strutting their stuff?? A guy can’t just pass up on these things; they’re intrinsically forced to look! If I smoked and was trying to quit, I imagine that it would take the same effort to not look.
        By all means though, keep doing what you do 🙂

  • I’ll ride in pretty much any skirt that doesn’t restrict movement. When it’s colder, leggings or opaque tights work great. When it’s warmer I just wear shorts underneath. Nothing bike specific, just yoga shorts or something. So short skirts and even a stretchy pencil skirt can work fine, depending on how far you ride and how hilly it might be. There’s few items in my closet that don’t work fine on the bike.

  • I ride every day and wear skirts every day, and my wardrobe has naturally evolved to include mostly skirts I can ride in. I don’t go through any extra trouble to wear anything underneath, and I’ve not really had any instances of overexposure–I think that particular fear is generally overblown (no pun intended)–but even so, it’s not like those tight spandex bike pants on guys leave much to the imagination, either. 😉

  • Not worrying about who sees what is one way to get around aggressive car and truck drivers. They’re way too shocked, bemused…. insert polite term for pervy male to start giving you gip about daring to be a cyclist on their road. That said skirt garters are the bomb when I’m not wearing a straight cut or wool skirt and no worrying about removing an under layer when you get to your destination- something i find very awkward doing on the side of the street after parking and before going in somewhere. I just wish a Sydney bike shop would stock them so more ladies could realise they exist.

  • Time for some importer to get skirt saddles from the Netherlands.There are saddes for riding with skirt in the Netherlands.Just checked and has them (right now on sale).It’s impossible to not get a dent in a tight skirt on a regular saddle,but a “rokzadel”won’t do that.

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