Say yes to the dress...or slacks, or sweats or overalls....
For many commuters, the question of what to wear while biking can pose a real challenge. In a land where it seems like gear is king, it can be intimidating to hit the road without a full arsenal of made-just-for-biking clothing. That being said, I’ll let you in on a little secret--there’s no “right” outfit for riding your bike.
If you wear what you want, what feels good to you while you’re riding and what makes you feel comfortable, you’ll look good and feel great on your bicycle. Maybe this equation leads you to lycra shorts. Perhaps you feel fabulous pedaling in your favorite summer dress. Or maybe you wear a head to toe wool outfit scraped together out of thrift store finds. Whatever it is, the answer is the same: wear what makes you feel good.
Many people prefer to wear clothing that doesn’t chafe, that gives your legs plenty of mobility while pedaling and covers up any body parts you don’t want the general public to see (in the front and in the rear while bending over). Other than that, if you’re visible and you have the number one fashion accessory of all time (the helmet!) then you’re doing it right.
But here are a few more tips that may make your commute and workday a bit more comfortable.
Change at the office
If you don’t feel comfortable wearing your commuting clothing during the work day, try packing wrinkle resistant materials (knits, wool, jeans, etc) and roll your clothing instead of folding. If you prefer not to pack your clothing in and out everyday, stash extras at your workplace. Keep shoes by your desk, a suit in your office or drop off a few extra outfits on a day you do drive or bus.
Ask your employer about end of route facilities
For those of you who prefer to freshen up or shower at the end of a commute, reach out to your employer and find if your job has any onsite lockers or shower facilities. Cascade also offers BIzCycle certification to help businesses attract and accomodate bike commuting employees. Camping towels are a great packable item that can help get you ready for the work week. While some businesses have learned that a staff that bikes is happy, healthy and productive, some places may not have as many facilities as others to accommodate cyclists. Check out nearby health clubs whose locker rooms are usually equipped hairdryers, lockers and basic toiletries.
Be comfortable, be yourself
At the end of the day however, the message is the same--wear what makes you feel awesome, inspired and happy to get on your bike, for as fashion icon Gianni Versace one said, “Don’t be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way you live”.
So with that in mind, ride your bike, be comfortable and in the end, the most important thing you’ll be wearing is a smile.