Miss Panniers: What NOT to wear for a night on the town

While illuminating, not the best choice for a singles mixer.

Miss Panniers would like to respond to a question posted on the Cascade Blog regarding appropriate attire for the single cyclists mixer on Thursday, Feb. 10 at the BalMar: " What does one wear to such an event? Do I wear my best grease-streaked roadie kit, or my Ibex woolies? Which is going to impress the lady of my dreams? Where do I lock up my bike once there? What? No bikes inside? What do you mean that I can’t wear my cycling shoes on the dance floor? "

Gentle meeter-n-greeter,

Miss Panniers does not generally tend toward absolutes, but here she must insist. Under no circumstances should you wear a roadie kit of any kind to this event. In fact, roadie kits should never be seen if any of the following applies:

  • The primary purpose of the event is not riding a bicycle.
  • Table covers are made out of cloth.
  • The music is performed by live humans such as a DJ or band. Karaoke is borderline (on many levels.)
  • You are celebrating a major life events (weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, etc).

This is not to say that you should not bicycle to such events. Miss Panniers absolutely encourages her readers to bicycle to all such events. In fact, rolling up to the singles event on your classic bike dressed to impress may conjure up promising images of fun-filled bicycle-based dates to come. The BalMar has ample bike parking just outside the door; bring your lock and your conveyance will be fine.

One’s attire should reflect your personality and  make an appropriate first impression. The  Bal-Mar is a classy place in a hip neighborhood. If you have a roadie personality, simply dress it up a little. Wool garmets are a good choice; warm outdoors and socially acceptable indoors. If you still want to be recognizable as a bicyclist, consider subtle accessories such a inner tube belt, tweed cycling cap, wool arm warmers or re-cycled jewelry.

This is more like it, although Miss Panniers must insist on a helmet, even for date nights. Even for Ms. Hepburn.

Footwear continually poses a challenge to bicycle fashion and etiquette. While Miss Panniers has danced the night away in her SPDs, she longs for the day when there is much greater variety in fashionable, functional bike gear. In the meantime, you may want to swap out your roadie pedals so you can swap in your date—night shoes.

For additional wardrobe guidance, Miss Panniers will be attending the Traffic Stoppers bike fashion show at the Seattle Bicycle Expo. In the meantime, she hopes to see more of her readers elevating their bicycle style -- at the bar, at the market, at the theater, on the commute. You never know where you might catch the eye of that special single cyclist. And if you truly are a greasy lycra-clad roadie at heart, rest assured that you too will meet your match out there.