By Jenn Bussell
In case you didn’t know, May is National Bike Month, with Bike to Work Week taking place May 14-18 and Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 18.
I must confess it’s my secret hope that one day the roads of major American cities will resemble those of Amsterdam and Copenhagen, where bikes far outnumber cars and are the main mode of transportation for people of all ages and lifestyles. Ah, a girl can dream.
Until that day arrives, we have this month to dust off the old Schwinn and borrow a little cycle chic from European and Scandinavian two-wheeled style-makers.
Pedaling pretty is all about balancing form and function. Most bike commuters tend to Lycra-up for their trip to work; don’t fall victim. Since the Victorian era – when bicycles were introduced to women in dresses and stockings all over the world – it’s had an astounding impact on women’s apparel and their ability to hop on a bike and enjoy life. You can be that woman!
You can be stylish and safety-conscience with just a little planning. And maybe a little shopping too.
Building from the bottom up, let’s start with footwear. While biking in stilettos looks cool in photos and fashion editorials, it’s not practical. Nor is it safe. Likewise ballet flats have built-in slippage, especially if you encounter a little rain.
You really want a stacked heel or wedge with a small lip that will catch comfortably on pedals. T-straps, lace-ups, and Mary Janes are your friends. Jambu makes a great line of modern, strappy wedges with a splash of sportiness. Perfect for a girl on the go on a bike.
Moving on up, ‘pedal pushers’ (aka Capris) were coined in the 1950s when they were popularized by – you guessed it – cyclists. They’re still an excellent choice for urban cruising today. Don’t rule out a cute skirt or dress. Just be sure it hits your at the knee or below when standing and there’s a bit of movement in the fabric. Otherwise you may find yourself in traffic having a bad TMZ moment of panty-flashing.
While April showers bring May flowers the chance of rain during bike month is fairly likely. Sure, you can default to your trusty Patagonia or Marmot shell, but is that really how you want to roll to the office? If your answer is ‘no,’ then try this rockstar cape on for size. Pricy? Yes. Practical and polished? You betcha.
To top off your ride don’t leave home without your helmet. This is not a time for vanity to trump intelligence so protect that noggin. Your smarts will pay off ten-fold.
Finish with a cute tote or messenger bag you can wear cross-body, or toss in your wicker basket. Now you’re off to the races!