How to Ride a Bike in a Skirt or a Dress

One of the things on my summer to-do list was “RIDE A BIKE AROUND SAN FRANCISCO”. My plan was to ride with Brandon, but he’s been super busy at work; I  texted my friend Christina, and she was ready to ride! I created an itinerary that included breakfast at Eats, picking up bikes at Sports Basement, riding to the Golden Gate Bridge, biking to the Palace of Fine Arts, scooting around the Marina, and biking to see the Painted Ladies.

You know how Anthropologie, ModCloth, and a variety of twee bloggers make bicycle riding in a skirt/dress look so whimsical, fancy, comfy, and free? Yeah, no. All fake.

Since I don’t wear pants/shorts/culottes, my daily clothing choices consists of a skirt or a dress. I know some people probably arch their eyebrows at the idea of riding around on a bike, but you can do it! Here’s how:

How to Ride a Bike in a Skirt or a Dress
>>1. Wear the right skirt: The easiest way to define the right skirt is to list the wrong skirt >> anything too straight and too tight. Pencil skirts and body con skirts are out. They will restrict your movement. I opted to wear a dress with a full/a-line skirt. The dress was cotton with a bit of stretch; it was easy to hop on and  off the bike. Will a maxi skirt work? See #2.

How to Ride a Bike in a Skirt or a Dress
>> 2. Make a maxi work: Christina wore a maxi skirt, and as soon as she got on her bike she knew she had a problem. Her maxi had a slit in the front, so when she started pedaling the skirt opened up–eek! She thought about turning the skirt around, but I told her to tie her skirt in a knot. It worked! She said (per her text), “It help me avoid my skirt getting caught between the tires. Plus, I was able to ride smoothly after I tied it in a knot.”

>>3. Pin it, Tie it, Tuck it: Christina’s text (see above) alluded to one common problem between the both of us: skirt/dress stuck in the tire. After she tied her skirt in a knot, she didn’t have this problem for the rest of the day. The back part of my skirt kept getting stuck in the rear tire, so after we rode over the Golden Gate I finally tucked the skirt between my legs (grab fabric from behind, pull it through your legs), and used a safety pin to secure the front and the back together.

Other options:

\\a. Wear shorts underneath the skirt or dress

\\b. Wear tights or leggings underneath your skirt or dress (this option would be great for fall/winter)

\\c. Wear a bicycle skirt garter (looks like this will work best for shorter skirts)


\\d: WATCH this video. For this trick you need a rubber band and a penny. Yup. Watch. (Thank you to Anna for sending this to me!)

\\e: Add a dress guard to your bike! (Thank you to Peter for sending in this gem!)

Here are a few photos from our day:

How to Ride a Bike in a Skirt or a Dress

Hanging out at the Presidio (GREAT for bike riding).


How to Ride a Bike in a Skirt or a Dress


How to Ride a Bike in a Skirt or a Dress
How to Ride a Bike in a Skirt or a Dress
I wore an eShakti dress (sold out) and Target sandals (sold out, but check out this summer’s style!).

30 Responses to How to Ride a Bike in a Skirt or a Dress

    • Chandra says:

      Hi Kay!
      I don’t wear shorts or pants, so my only clothing options are dresses and skirts (and blouses of course). This post is definitely not for people that have the option to wear shorts or pants, and I’m a BIG proponent of NO LEGGINGS AS PANTS. HA!

      Thanks for asking!


  • Brittany says:

    We love riding bikes. Our city has a new Bike Share program, where you can rent bikes hourly or daily. There are stations positioned all over town in which you can either pick up or drop off your bike. We love it! Of course my husband has his own bike, so I’m the only one renting, but by sis-in-law Janese & I have rented several times. Speaking of what to wear, that’s been a little bit of a challenge for me too; but I’m having fun with it now. I like trying to figure out what to wear while biking and still look cute! My favorite is anything cotton or stretchy that’s about knee length, and I have some short leggings I wear in case my skirt wants to climb up. I have a drop-waist dress from Zara that I got years ago (and almost got rid of) that is perfect for biking. Pair it with some cute white sneakers and I’m ready to go.

    • Chandra says:

      I recently found out that our city has a Bike Share program! I’m hoping that Brandon and I can take advantage of the bikes within the next week or so. Sometime last year I got rid of a similar dress (like your Zara dress), and I wanted to kick myself when I realized my mistake. I definitely think cotton/stretchy is the way to go!


      • Brittany says:

        I also wanted to add that the bikes from our bikeshare are so very skirt/dress friendly!! The middle bar between your legs isn’t so high that it’s hard to mount the bike in a skirt. Love it.

  • This post was brilliant! I’ve stopped attempting to ride a bike with a skirt on YEARS AGO. I would look at commercials of women wearing skirts as they pedaled happily with their basket of flowers in front of them and chuckle to myself. They must’ve edited the skirt on (Hollywood is that tech-savvy in my mind). Either way, great post and wonderful info.

    Tenisha Jonece

    • Chandra says:

      Hi Tenisha!
      Yeah, my friend and I couldn’t stop laughing as we biked around the city. It was a good reminder that real life is NOT the same as blogs/editorials/catalogs!


  • Kate says:

    Kosher Casuals has a fantastic skirt with built in leggings. The skirt is below the knee, slightly A-line, and made of a stretchy fabric. My daughter and I both wear this skirt for biking and it provides full coverage.

    • Chandra says:

      I just gasped. Yes! You’re totally RIGHT! I made a mental note to include Kosher Casuals, but I forgot! I will update the post. THANK YOU!

  • this is great! I loved the picture too, btw! I need to make some time and bike the bay. And I’ve always wanted to ride in a skirt to know what it feels like (since I haven’t ridden a bike since I was like 14). Thanks for the tips!

  • Kieran says:

    Hi, great post! I actually commute by bike all the time…I don’t even own a car! I also bike exclusively in dresses or skirts (I do choose to wear pants normally, but because I bike so often I found that my jeans were wearing out faster from rubbing against the seat. Now, I only wear jeans if I won’t need to bike anywhere that day). I choose to wear my skirts a little shorter than you do, so this might not apply, but I have found that knit pencil skirts are the bomb diggity for biking in! They are tight enough that there is no awkward getting caught in the back tyre/chain moments, and no blowing up in your face as you’re peddling along (so annoying having to ride with one hand holding down a flyaway skirt the whole time!), but because they’re stretchy, I still have enough range of movement to bike comfortably! They do have a tendency to creep up a little as you go, but I find it far more convenient to have to tug a skirt down every so often than hold it to stop it blowing up constantly, or worrying about getting holes in my clothes from them getting caught in the chain. Give it a try…it might work for you, too!

  • Amanda Lin says:

    I always wear black spandex shorts under all my skirts + dresses because I run around and trip over things a lot. So I go on bike rides often while wearing skirts + dresses. I love my town because there is a really nice 10 mile bike trail to ride on 🙂

  • Julia says:

    Great photos! I love when girls ride bicycles in a dress or skirt, this is very feminine. Unfortunately not a lot of girls do it.

  • Anfinwen says:

    As annoying as it sounds (and sometimes is) I’ve found an A-line jean skirt to be the best. They are heavy enough not to fly up unless the wind is just right. Our church just did a 20 mile bike-a-thon to raise money for our Sunday school department, and a lot of the girls were have the problems you mentioned, skirts stuck in the tires and breaks, skirts too light flying up, skirts to straight riding up, even a long knit skirt getting some how wrapped and twisted around the pedal. The best answer I can say is try all your skirts until you find one that works, and never embark on a long ride in an untested skirt!

  • Cindy says:

    What a great post, I love it! We can do everything that we might want to do and still be a lady!!! You have proven this to be true. Thank you for the great article!

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