excerpts from an ongoing discussion of the intersection of femininity and cycling. more at: atlanticcities, 16.04.14.
"I don’t find labels very interesting or useful so I don’t tend to think about things through that type of lens. For me, feeling ‘feminine’ means being completely myself. Sometimes that’s in a dress with my hair flowing in the breeze, and sometimes it’s when I’m riding up a hill on my single speed in a sweaty, torn tank top. It’s both when I ride aggressively and when I ride relaxed. It can be when I return a smile at an admirer or when I scowl at catcalls. I feel the least “feminine” when I’m uncomfortable in my own skin. Thankfully, that’s rare — especially when riding a bike since it’s such a feeling of freedom. In fact, the first thing that popped in my head when I read your post was ‘freedom’.”
–April Eileen Economides
"#replacebikewithwalk If we were to change bike to walk in this title: "Is there such a thing as a feminine way to walk", the discussion would be focused on the actual act of walking, not what the women were wearing when they walk. And still, when it comes to bicycling, the act of wearing something other than the unisex bicycle uniform of either lycra or t-shirts and jeans or equivalent is somehow worthy of such discussion.
I wear a dress and heels to ride my bike to work because that’s what I wore to work when I drove. Somewhere along the way I got smart enough to realize that if I rode slowly I didn’t have to change clothes on arrival or change my style and wear a bike uniform that didn’t suit my professional dress style.
As I said in my blog post [31.07.12], I look forward to the day when we don’t have to critique what people (especially women) wear when they ride a bike. It’s silly and divisive.”
I read through many, though not all, of the comments on Elly Blue’s post on this subject. Jesus…Not quite sure why bicyclists are so damned opinionated (and quick to suffer offense), but my theory is that we’re all a bit prickly because we know we’re 2nd class citizens in America, and we suffer pangs of envy when MCA (copenhagen cycle chic) posts pix of beautiful people (face it, many urban Europeans look absolutely smashing compared to most Americans) on his website riding safely in settings most of us can hardly imagine. So, we wear our battle dress (helmets, neon Lycra, etc.), misunderstood, expecting the worst, and, well, that would make almost anyone feel like Mr. Crankypants, eh?
Add to that a healthy dollop of feminist/gender critique, the immediacy of the internet, and whoom! Up goes the smoke and out come the CAPS LOCK.
–comment by Stephan on Lady Fleur’s blog post
those are comments I picked out because they’re ones I agree/relate with most.
- I support cycle chic—riding bikes should be normal—don’t have to get “gear”, can just bike wearing clothes you normally wear.
- but you often won’t see me dressed fashionably when I’m on my bike. main reason is just that my default everyday outfit is: jeans, t-shirt, hoodie (totally don’t-care-college-student-california look, i guess), and because i don’t like girly things aside from painting my nails.
- when i first started cycling, it was a short 5-minute ride from hillcrest in san diego to the ucsd hillcrest medical center (for the shuttle to ucsd campus). i didn’t change what i wore. short bike ride, but my body doesn’t like heat much and i always wound up quite sweaty. plus, crotch blow-out. or holes in jeans. had to get jeans patched.
- so i got tired of that. also moved and had to bike farther distances (4-5miles). started wearing jeanshorts over leggings, and a sports-bra-tank-top, and chrome wool jacket if cold. i bring a t-shirt and bra to change into before entering the classroom (but still sweating because i rarely leave home early enough to give myself enough time to cool down outside.)
- basically, i just wear whatever’s most comfortable for my needs. if i had a five-minute bike-commute again, i’d probably wear more “regular” clothes. also, i just like to bike fast and consider my commute the only exercise i really get.
- if i had some special occasion to dress up for, i’d go more “cycle chic”. like if someone were to take me out to a fancy dinner or event..
also: important distinction—cycle chic vs bike porn.