27 August 2010

Cycling To Work In A "Hippie" Skirt

Yesterday the new semester started.  Had it been a movie, it would have been the beginning of best time in mine, or someone else’s life:  The rain of the previous three days had passed and the sky was even clearer and bluer than the bodies of water one sees on postcards.

Naturally, I rode my bike to work.  As I was not looking forward to going to my regular job, I needed something to pump up my Happy Hormones (or endorphins, or whatever you want to call them).  I also knew that wearing a favorite outfit—one in which I feel both confident and comfortable—would help.

But I needed a way to wear it—specifically, the skirt—while riding my bike.  Even though clearing the top bar on the LeTour wasn’t a problem, the skirt—which drapes nearly to my ankles when I stand up—could get caught in the chain or between the brake pad and rim.  I haven’t yet installed the dress guard “Velouria” gave me. 

So what’s a lady prof to do?  

Turns out, there’s a really simple solution.  All you need is an extra-large paper clamp.  All you have to do is to gather the skirt so that you can clip it, but not so tightly that you can’t move your legs freely.

It’s best to gather and clamp your skirt when you’re seated, in a position in which you typically ride, on the bike.  The first time I tried it, I had trouble mounting the seat because I’d effectively made a strait jacket around my thighs.  And of course you don’t want to wrap or clamp the skirt around your knees. 

I wonder whether anyone else has tried my skirt-clamping method. 

Now I’m thinking about how I used heavy rubber bands whenever I rode in trousers.  As with the skirt on the clamp, I found that I liked to pull on the rubber bands when I was seated on the bike, maninly because I didn’t want the trouser leg or the rubber band to rub and chafe the bottom of my calf or other sensitive areas.  Also, I found that if I wore the band too low, it would slide off the pants and onto my ankle.  (That’s what the reflective bands with Velcro, which were popular a while back, seemed to always do.)

After work, I took a ride to one of my favorite spots in Queens:  Fort Totten.  It’s at the western end of Long Island Sound and within sight of the Whitestone Bridge.  Just across the cove, it’s Gatsby country, where white sails skitter in the wind like white crests that cap the ripples on the water.

You may have noticed that I said “my regular job.”  That’s because in addition to it, I am teaching a course in another college:  the one I visited last week.  The chair offered me a class that started yesterday.  And it’s at the perfect time:  After my regular college job, I have enough time to pedal there.

And, because I had to take care of business at my new gig, I stayed a bit later than I anticipated.  But when I rode to Fort Totten, I didn’t mind, because from there, the majority of my ride home would skirt the bay.  The sun began to set as I neared the World’s Fair Marina.

Oh, I should mention this:  I rode 11 miles to my regular job, another six and a half to my part-time gig and about eighteen home in my clamped skirt, all after getting up at five a.m.—after going to bed at two a.m.  Although I felt good when I got home, I didn’t want to cook or otherwise prepare my supper.  So I stopped at the the King of Felafel and Shawarma for one of their wonderful chicken and rice plates.  Not long after bringing it back to my place and eating it, I fell asleep.


  1. Oh wow, I think that first picture is my new favourite photo of you, how pretty!

    I have not cycled in a skirt that long yet, except for a narrow, stretchy winter wool skirt. Will give the clip method a try!

  2. Velouria: You know how to make a girl blush!