Girls I Love to Hate: the Bike Chick


[Photo credit]

Dear Bike Chicks,

You manage to ride the rough streets of Philly in your cute little mini-dresses and heels without a scratch while I huff and puff in my ungainly red bicycle helmet and Keds. And not only can you demurely ride a bike in skirts/dresses (a feat that I have still to master as a pedestrian), you do it all while wearing full makeup. Lipstick. Mascara. Eyeliner. Just tell me how. And why.

First how? What sort of black magic do you use to preserve yourself while rushing down the Parkway in your vintage Raleighs. As much as I try to pull off the too-cool-to-wear-a-helmet look, every time I read about a cyclist getting killed or injured, I give up my dreams of forgoing helmet hair and accept that my chin is going to be imprinted with a red strap-mark.

And the heels. Why the heels? Who rides bikes with heels? I thought I was dreaming the first time I saw a gal rushing down Center City’s South Broad Street on her bike wearing black heels. But then I saw it again. And again. I get it. You want to be feminine.  And eco-conscious. And tough. But seriously, one crash and you could be kissing those little pedicured toes goodbye. No joke. I’ve gotten tangled up in bike wheels before. Not pretty. Isn’t wearing covered-toe shoes like the number one rule of bike safety? At least that’s what I learned as a kid.

At the end of a bike ride, I usually look like I’ve been flattened by a steamroller. And you look like you’ve just been to a fashion shoot. Ah, well. C’est la vie. I’d rather not be gorgeous all the time than die trying.



25 responses to “Girls I Love to Hate: the Bike Chick

  1. First off – it’s called lazy. I ride to work in my work cloths because I couldn’t be bothered to change when I get there and it takes three times as long to walk. It’s actually the reverse of being vain as I don’t really care that I’m a sweaty mess when I get to work (and trust me I am). What makes you assume we are magically unsweaty at our destination? I just layer my cloths, wipe down my face when I get in and hide until the sweat dries. I can promise you it has nothing to do with trying to impress or look cute on my commute.

    Second – heels – I don’t see the difference as you are pushing with the ball of your foot either way. If you are afraid of getting the heel caught in something wear wedges. I’m not sure how that would happen though and it sounds like you managed it in flats…It is certainly easier to ride in them than walk. Per toe coverings, most of my heels have full toes, but are you equally horrified by the 80% of people that wear flip-flops when they ride?

    Third – the dangers of riding in the city are real but I don’t think how I am dressed effects them very much. Caveat – you have a point about the helmet – I’ll admit it’s a risk I take, but “bike chicks” are by no means the only ones that are guilty of that and I don’t wear one when I’m in keds and jeans on the weekend either.

    Perhaps instead of hating you should get a little more confident in your own skills, learn to read stupid philly drivers that never signal and ride defensively (we aren’t all asshole messengers) and realize that in most of the world (see Copenhagen, Paris, etc.) biking is just one more way to get to work.

  2. Lazy and jealous. That’s about me in a nutshell.

  3. Biking in heels – perfect for the lazy girl – try it – you might like it.

  4. I’m spatially-challenged, haha. I’d cause a multi-car accident.

  5. I see both sides of the argument here, but let me just say that traffic-wise, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and other European cities are much more pleasant places to ride a cute little cruiser than Philadelphia. Perhaps if this country were a little less car dependent, the streets wouldn’t be so unpredictable for bike riders. I could move at my own pace.

  6. I don’t know…traffic circles in Paris are pretty scary…

    Either way though, I figure, the more of us ride (in a sane -not with a death wish – manner), the safer Philly will be for bikers – heel wearing or not

  7. I understand the “flattened steamroller” look will be in this fall. Frankly, PG, I don’t much care about the gist of your argument with Bike Chick (though, my goodness, she did take you to the [debaters] woodshed, didn’t she?…hehe), but, much like the water bowls for your chickens, I’m fascinated by the red bike helmet and keds. Might we be graced with a picture of said…:)?

  8. man, bike chick certainly slapped you around!
    and she’s right too, although if i was a woman I wouldn’t wear heels while commuting. just doesn’t seem very safe. same with the flip flops.

    my g/f, who is not a bike chick, has always wondered how to deal with riding a bike while wearing a dress. she’s kinda shy about giving strangers the random panty-shot (or as is probably more often the case a beaver-shot).

    any tips for modest ladies who want to wear a dress while riding but don’t want to show the whole world her whole world? I mean personally, I have no objection, but then, I’m a dirty old man.

  9. “though, my goodness, she did take you to the [debaters] woodshed, didn’t she?…hehe”

    “man, bike chick certainly slapped you around!”

    I’d defend myself better, but I’m too busy arguing about whether or not the name “phillygrrl” invalidates my post on domestic abuse.


    This link is called Bike Riding in a Dress 101. I hope it’s helpful.

    and sorry for coming off so angry…I’m not really…I think anyone out there biking is good and Philly can be a scary place to bike…it’s just that I love this blog … especially the “girls I hate” section…what a blow to see me as the target this morning…

  11. “I’m fascinated by the red bike helmet and keds. Might we be graced with a picture of said…:)?”

    Certainly not :p

  12. No need to apologize, BC, I appreciate the debate. I happened to see a girl in black heels fall off her bike on Broad Street yesterday, which I found both amusing and horrifying. I guess that prompted the rant. Haha, this is the first “girls I hate” post I wrote I think?

  13. The more you bike, the less you’ll sweat getting to your destination.

  14. Ah, so you’re saying they’re pros who’ve managed to achieve a level of fitness I haven’t?

    You’re probably right.

    Someday, I too will be able to ride to work unscathed.

    Yeah, right.

  15. I was thinking singleinphillygrrl with the “girls” blogs…but I got to her through your blog. Your blog is great. BTW – I’m a total klutz too and not super buff either. I have a big scare on my face from walking into the Kimmel center…I hope I’m never the girl that falls off my bike :)

  16. I thought Phillygrrl’s post was mostly admiration on how the bike chicks pull it off and still look good. She did throw in the possible non-saftey aspects of it, but she her hate for bike chicks was clearly (at least to me) meant as a jealous hate-kind of way.

  17. “Certainly not :p”

    Geeez what a grump.

  18. “She did throw in the possible non-saftey aspects of it, but she her hate for bike chicks was clearly (at least to me) meant as a jealous hate-kind of way.”

    This is true. I am a jealous frump.

    “I hope I’m never the girl that falls off my bike :)”

    Aw, no worries. We’ll manage. Stay safe.

  19. Nice piece… I thought I was the only desi girl on bike in the city… I guess there are a few of us.

    I don’t wear heels at all – so that’s never an issue on bike.

    And I’d never be able to wear a skirt on a bike… I’m less concerned about also giving goodie glimpse to any one who wants it… Its just that skirts just impede mobility.

  20. “I thought I was the only desi girl on bike in the city”

    Ah, so you’re the other desi bike chick in Philly. I may or may not have seen you once. The sighting (if it was such) almost made me crash into a stop sign.

    And yes, it’s all about mobility.

  21. Pingback: Sharon McNary from KPCC has it all wrong!

  22. its because the girls like us men when we look up their
    skirts or dresses they probably get some kind of kick from
    when we do and if they don’t like it then put some pants
    or shorts on thats all you have to do

  23. Whydoyouneedmyname

    I have never rode my bike in heels. What the hell? That is a new one. How can you even pedal, you would not even be able to put your whole foot on the pedal. I have rode in flats before though. It is not so much that I am lazy, I do not have bike clothes. Even if I did, I am fine with wearing my dress or skirt as long as I make sure they can not see what I have underneathe(make sure of this by wearing shorts,leotards).If I do not have those, I just ride with my legs close together at a downward angle. Worked just find for me. I just do not see the point of having to change clothes, sure I may sweat. But I will cool off.

  24. Whydoyouneedmyname

    I bike in whatever I decided to put on for the day. If it happened to be something suitable for bike and walking,then it is by coincidence. But if I get out the shower and put on a dress,then randomly decide later on to bike. I’m not going to say,oh let me put on my biking clothes. Because thats what I put on first,I’d only change if it is not what I want tow ear. Long as I am not showing my junk. I am conservative. I got hot today and took off my blouse but then I forgot I had the straps on to my strapless bra and put it back on. I do not ride dressy to impress people. I wear what I wear because I want to. I can pull it off on a bike anyway. Wearing a dress or skirt never slowed me down.

  25. Whydoyouneedmyname

    blouse with a spaghetti strap top underneathe of course….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s