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Penny in Your Pants
July 1, 2014 12:27 PM   Subscribe

Cycling in a skirt? Avoid flashing onlookers by putting a Penny in Your Pants. Alternately you could buy or DIY a bike garter - or simply perfect your mounting technique with this super sick trick.
posted by susanvance (76 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Many utilikilts have modesty snaps (the penny trick would be hard to do on the thick fabric.) This turned out to be extremely useful in windy areas, like the Black Rock Desert.
posted by poe at 12:30 PM on July 1


or...don't worry about it?
posted by agregoli at 12:35 PM on July 1 [3 favorites]


poe: "utilikilts have modesty snaps"

Why? Obviously you've given up on dignity at that point.
posted by wcfields at 12:36 PM on July 1 [48 favorites]


This is what black underwear is for.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 12:37 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Are they mormon or something?
posted by ReeMonster at 12:39 PM on July 1


Some proceeds support the women's cycling team in Afghanistan!
posted by troika at 12:42 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]


Yeah, but then you have the girl equivalent of the bottle-cap shirt divot/tear, a weird lump in your skirt where you stuck the penny through.
posted by leotrotsky at 12:42 PM on July 1 [4 favorites]


I feel like the penny trick would hurt the fabric over time and leave an indentation, kinda like how my shirts are goofed up when I used them to open twist bottles.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:42 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


whoa. double
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:43 PM on July 1 [4 favorites]


Buy one or ten

What... exactly... will they be selling? Pennies? Rubber bands? I'm confused by this being a product to be sold.

(That said, it's a cool idea! I fall into the "don't worry about it" category myself, but I certainly wouldn't fault someone for wanting to keep their skirt in line.)
posted by obfuscation at 12:43 PM on July 1


Why? Obviously you've given up on dignity at that point.

Especially if the end of your sentence ends with "Black Rock Desert." jay kay

Its a cute video. Obnoxious I'm-a-dood question, though - wouldn't this really restrict the motion of your legs? Plus I can't help thinking that women in Amsterdam and Copenhagen must have solved this problem somehow already, since they bike in fashion-y street clothes all the time (the UK and USA both seem to have more of a "road warrior" culture, but I only know the UK biking scene pretty third-hand).
posted by en forme de poire at 12:44 PM on July 1


whoa. double

jinx.
posted by leotrotsky at 12:44 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


I feel like all of these are just the modern version of making me ride sidesaddle.
posted by HotToddy at 12:45 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]


I was kind of a tomboy as a kid. A tomboy who did not own a pair of pants until age 7 because my parents are old and were very old fashioned. This is why all my lovely lacey dresses had matching shorts when I was little. (My mother sewed a lot of my clothes -- shorts for a five year old don't take much material and it was easy to do from leftover scraps). This was a trick I continued with into adulthood as I often wore bicycle shorts under comfy knit dresses (in place of underwear) in part to stay warm in winter.

Any other modesty trick would not likely work for me. When I biked everywhere in Germany, with a toddler seat on the back of my bike, I managed to keep getting on the bike even at 8 months pregnant by lifting my leg essentially straight up in the air behind me in order to get past the toddler seat. Gymnastics training in youth and the ability to still do the splits until about age 30 came in handy for cycling while high pregnant.
posted by Michele in California at 12:53 PM on July 1 [3 favorites]


Actually, I think the clip garter one would be pretty useful (not the penny one as much, for fabric-damage reasons). Back when I wore skirts and biked in them, I pretty much chose skirts based on being a fairly structured a-line that was just above the knee, or else a relatively heavy fabric which hit at or just below the knee if a full skirt - anything else was either too flippy or too constricting.

The thing is, even if your skirts fit well and don't ride up, your underwear is occasionally going to be visible from certain angles. I didn't particularly care about this when I was riding, but with the ubiquity of internet creepshots now - or in a city like New York, with a totally out of control street harassment culture - I could see worrying about it.
posted by Frowner at 12:55 PM on July 1 [3 favorites]


Since when has dressing modestly prevented street harassment?
posted by agregoli at 12:58 PM on July 1 [12 favorites]




Are they mormon or something?

If they were Mormon, they'd be wearing bike shorts already under the skirt. Problem solved.
posted by The World Famous at 1:03 PM on July 1 [4 favorites]


I gotta say I've never had much of a problem riding in skirts of sufficient length and flexibility, and I'm not riding a step-through frame and don't have a chain guard. Though I have had issues with some of my pant/trouser legs getting caught on my bottle cage, and the pants are more likely to have problems interacting with my chain.

Shirts are trickier, though, and a shirt that's totally normal when standing upright or walking can be awkward for me to ride in. I'm thinking I need to start carrying an extra bandanna with me for emergency neckline coverage.
posted by asperity at 1:05 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]


I wear skirts sometimes while cycling and that's why I chose a women's bike. I've always thought that the reason the bar is angled on a women's bike is so you can ride with a skirt without tripping or having to lift up your leg super high and flash people. It's always made sense to me that would be the reason, but I could be wrong. Your skirt blowing up on you is a separate issue from mounting your bike, and it can be annoying but it doesn't happen too much to me.
posted by to recite so charmingly at 1:07 PM on July 1 [3 favorites]


Just get a proper women's bike.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:11 PM on July 1 [3 favorites]


I hate that step-through frames are so often sold as "women's" bikes since it makes it hard to talk men with mobility problems that would benefit from a step-through frame into riding one.

Also, if those are women's bikes, does that make my bike a men's bike? I'm riding it and it fits me, so it's a woman's bike regardless of what's going on with the top tube.
posted by asperity at 1:17 PM on July 1 [21 favorites]


I wear skirts sometimes while cycling and that's why I chose a women's bike. I've always thought that the reason the bar is angled on a women's bike is so you can ride with a skirt without tripping or having to lift up your leg super high and flash people.

It is! That's how bicycles became so popular among women in the Victorian era, despite their ankle-length skirts. Also, cross-bar-havers tend to mount bicycles from the back (Riker style) which is sort of impossible to do in a skirt without hiking it all the way up.

It's also the reason for cross-frame priest bikes.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:19 PM on July 1




Shirts are trickier, though, and a shirt that's totally normal when standing upright or walking can be awkward for me to ride in.

Right. I'm a daily-biking dude with dude brain-parts that light up like a Christmas tree to inform me when this sort of thing happens in my vicinity, whether I want to be thusly informed or not. My brain-parts light up far more often due to shirt-related issues than to skirt-related issues.

Honestly, I'm not sure I've ever noticed the skirt thing.
posted by gurple at 1:30 PM on July 1


Since when has dressing modestly prevented street harassment?

I noticed a sharp drop-off in street harassment when I stopped wearing dresses, skirts and heels - quite seriously, I got hassled on the regular when I was wearing perfectly modest dresses and skirts and rather ordinary nineties platform heels, and then ~boom ~ it dropped right off when I stopped. I notice that my friend who wears very tight, very short shorts and crop tops gets a terrifying amount of extremely disturbing harassment from women as well as men. I notice this when we're on the street going places but not obviously hanging out "together" - so people feel that she's on her own.

People who mistake this for an argument about what women should wear are missing the point.

In fact, I'd interpret it as a much stronger indication of misogyny than anything - when you're visibly trying to be "feminine", it sends extra "I am vulnerable, no one cares, it's okay to hassle me" signals. Whereas when you're - for example - a relatively butch person in extremely plain clothes and clunky shoes, you have access to certain kinds of "masculine" privilege. I know this only too well, actually, since I've progressed from "cute vintage day dresses, heels and makeup" through "generic women's clothes" to "relatively butch clothes and hair"....and I get treated a lot better than visibly feminine women in many situations.

Is this true for every woman in every situation? Of course not - but I live in a less dense, less friendly city which has less street harassment than anywhere else I've ever lived.

Again, if you are reading this as an argument that women are responsible for dressing a certain way to avoid harassment, that is not the argument I'm making.
posted by Frowner at 1:34 PM on July 1 [32 favorites]


I've often wondered why all bikes aren't designed with step-through frames. Is there any performance or practicality lost in that design?

Or, like a lot of aspects of clothing, is it just gender differentiation for no good reason?
posted by Foosnark at 1:35 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Sure. Diamond frames are lighter, stiffer, and stronger (though Sheldon, may he rest in peace, was wrong on the whole "nobody rides in a skirt anymore" thing -- but then he advocated riding with sandals and socks so I'm not gonna take fashion advice from him anyway.)
posted by asperity at 1:41 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]




And yet, there's no good reason in this day and age to attach gender to step-through and step-over frames.
posted by parudox at 1:43 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]


Compared to a traditional diamond frame consisting of two near-triangles, alternative open or step-through frame designs of equivalent construction have been shown to be demonstrably less strong using finite element structural analysis.

I'm laughing now -- my job is developing finite element analysis software. Somehow, the strength of the frame is not even something that crossed my mind.
posted by Foosnark at 1:48 PM on July 1 [5 favorites]


Alex Moulton (of Moulton Bicycles) specifically marketed his low step-through design as being better for everone, regardless of sex. This was particularly useful for him in his old age, but he would admonish anyone who tried to get on one of his bikes by swinging their leg over the saddle.

Brompton bikes are also very handy for everyone, whether in suit or skirt.

Many utility cycling tasks are better with low step-through frames. I've seen burly workmen cycling around a site or campus using a "ladies" bike because it's easy to get on and off between jobs. Sensible.

My skirt-wearing cycling friends at university took to wearing lycra shorts (of the running, rather than padded cycling variety) under their skirts. They were obviously not underwear too, so any billowing of skirts would just reveal black shorts and nothing potentially titillating.
posted by milkb0at at 1:49 PM on July 1 [4 favorites]


Since when has dressing modestly prevented street harassment?

I understand teh grar, but really: we can't have nice things because bad things happen anyway? C'mon.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 1:55 PM on July 1


On top of all Frowner's salient and nuanced points, there's also the fact that there's a small subset of creepy dudes who will always try to look up (or take pictures up) any knee length or higher skirt.

My dual solution to that sort of thing was a) becoming old enough that creepy dudes don't try to see my underwear as much, and b) men's boxer briefs. They've got the coverage of shorts and the ventilation of underpants.
posted by ernielundquist at 1:56 PM on July 1


Back when I was slogging through The Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan kept going on about how the women wore their "skirts divided for riding."

I always wondered what he meant, until now.
posted by sparklemotion at 2:09 PM on July 1 [3 favorites]


Also, the rear brake of a step-through frame tends to work poorly, because of ridiculous cable routing.

You could solve this with disc brakes but i mean come on.
posted by entropone at 2:09 PM on July 1


"skirts divided for riding."

Horses are a whole lot wider than bicycles. I would probably not try to ride one of those in any skirt I currently own.

(Also, all those dresses "slashed" in different colors! Oh, Robert Jordan and his ridiculous clothing descriptions.)
posted by asperity at 2:13 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]


Here is yet another option. Kinda cute too. I believe REI is now carrying them.
posted by bearwife at 2:16 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


I hated my step-through frame, mostly for "even more annoying to lock to bike racks than other bikes" reasons but they also tend to come with more upright geometry that doesn't fit my riding style.

I wear skirts all the time - I like putting (short) skirts over my bike shorts because it actually makes me feel less exposed than just tooling around in skin-tight lycra. But at the same time, if they fly up in the wind, who cares, because I've got bike shorts on underneath. These shorts at Target work pretty well if you don't need padding. It's gotten to the point that even if I'm not biking, I feel a bit exposed if I'm wearing a shorter dress or skirt and don't have the shorts on underneath. Is this what getting old feels like?
posted by misskaz at 2:16 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


At a certain point, divided skirts are just flowy pants.

It would never occur to me ride a bike in a skirt without something underneath like shorts. Even if I thought I could manage to avoid drafts or leg-lifts that flashed folks, I know eventually I will hit a rock or something and go flying, and land ass-up, skirt akimbo.

But I would probably never ride a bike in a skirt anyway.
posted by emjaybee at 2:17 PM on July 1


I hate that step-through frames are so often sold as "women's" bikes since it makes it hard to talk men with mobility problems that would benefit from a step-through frame into riding one.

At some point in the 80s North America decided there were two kinds of bikes -- mountain bikes and road bikes -- and urban cycling never recovered.

Step-throughs for everyone.
posted by no regrets, coyote at 2:18 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]


Really? C'mon, when I have a really light flyaway skirt I just clip a binder clip to the front hem, and off I go. It's just enough weight to keep a skirt down. What's in the video is overkill.

But usually I don't worry about it. If people get a glimpse of my underwear, well I'm really sorry if that ruins their day but it's not my problem.

And a utilikilt is just about the sexiest thing I've seen on a man. One of the reasons I love burning man -- so much utilikilt oggling :)
posted by antinomia at 2:33 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]


The slippery plastic bike seats of my youth (and the fact that both boys and girls wore pants by that point, although some of that may have been due to midwestern farm culture and/or midwestern winters) led me to wonder why it was the boys' bikes that had the nut-cracking top tube.
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:42 PM on July 1 [9 favorites]


yeah step-through frames are not necessarily "women's" frames in this day and age, although their original purpose was to preserve modesty for Victorian ladies in full skirts (to prevent them showing leg when getting on or off the bike). They do make for great city bikes, though, and step through, "bakfiets" or cargo bikes with very low step-through or standover clearance will generally have a much lower center of gravity than your standard diamond frames, and thus are an appropriate bike for anyone carrying loads or wearing formal clothing of either gender, so long as they're not interested in going fast. Paired with proper integrated fenders, lights and chainguards or driveguards, a well configured step-through city bike is a useful tool for getting around cheaply and easily in an urban environment. My citybike has all of the above plus a Gates drive, hydraulic disc brakes and an internally geared 3-speed hub, so it's versatile, bombproof in any weather and there's virtually no maintenance required on it beyond adding air to the tires every so often. And because it uses the simple Gates belt drive, not only is it much cleaner than a traditional drivetrain, I don't ever have to lube or adjust it either.

I frequently use it to ride in a skirt, and even when I'm wearing skirts and not riding I wear thin, unpadded "bike shorts" as underwear, not because I'm modest (I could give a shit; being over 40 is quite liberating in this regard) but because I'm built like a box and refuse to wear pantyhose, however chub rub is not my cup of tea.
posted by lonefrontranger at 2:49 PM on July 1 [7 favorites]


Clearly, the answer is bloomers. And violence.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:08 PM on July 1 [9 favorites]


antinomia I figured everyone of skirt-wearing persuasion used the binder-clip hack... clearly this is not the case?
posted by lonefrontranger at 3:12 PM on July 1


oh, not to mention you could also solve the flyaway skirt dilemma by going all high-couture and fancy and add chain hems to your skirts, which if you're wearing high quality skirts and business-fancy stuff, you arguably should do anyhow.
posted by lonefrontranger at 3:17 PM on July 1 [5 favorites]


This list of 54 uses for binder clips only suggests using them for pants, so perhaps the word's not properly out there about how binder clips are the (cause of and) solution to all life's problems.
posted by asperity at 3:18 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]


This makes no sense to me. I ride in all kinds of skirts all the time, did so today, and have big fat/muscular legs. I ride a 'mens' racing frame style bike which I get on to by swinging my leg over the back just like my husband does with his. I guess if you crouched down directly behind me as I did it you might catch a look up my skirt as my leg swings past, but I'd rather notice something like that. If my skirt is long or wide enough to blow around I just hike bits of it into the waistband before I start, which really only happens for my ankle length skirts. Otherwise I just ride my bike like normal and I don't flash anyone and no one can see anything they can't see when I'm walking. Even if there magically was a flash of skin above my knee at some point somehow I ride fast, good luck catching a glimpse of it as I fly past.

Pinning my clothes together like this looks constrictive and uncomfortable and I don't see the point.
posted by shelleycat at 3:18 PM on July 1


It would never occur to me ride a bike in a skirt without something underneath like shorts.

Whereas I would never occur to me to ride a bike in a skirt wearing anything other than my normal (non-shorts) underwear underneath. The whole point of using a bicycle as my primary form of transport is that I can just get on and go, no special anything necessary. I'm surrounded by people that also use bikes as their primary form of transport and it's pretty clear than they share my attitude, because who can be bothering with special costumes just to get on with their normal day?
posted by shelleycat at 3:26 PM on July 1 [6 favorites]


shellycat: the front range of Colorado has frequent concurrences of exceedingly dry, static-inducing climate and 30-40+ mph gusty swirling winds. Binder clips (not clipped together a la shorts / gaucho style but just as hemweights) prevent the damned things from going all Marilyn Monroe on me during any given intersection traverse where the wind is apt to change both direction and yaw/pitch angle 180° within a few meters.
posted by lonefrontranger at 3:28 PM on July 1


and it's not so much modesty as not having my skirts up around my ears / blocking my view if they're of longish lightweight fabric.
posted by lonefrontranger at 3:29 PM on July 1


I guess anything able to get in front of my face or really fly up is going to be hitched into the waistband somehow anyway (I've also biked regularly in windy places, I still didn't flash my undies). A single binder clip for weight makes some kind of sense, this whole making pretend pants from them with a penny doesn't.
posted by shelleycat at 3:34 PM on July 1


leotrotsky: "Yeah, but then you have the girl equivalent of the bottle-cap shirt divot/tear, a weird lump in your skirt where you stuck the penny through."

Ahem. The girl equivalent of the bottle-cap shirt divot/tear is the bottle-cap shirt divot/tear.
posted by gingerest at 4:13 PM on July 1 [18 favorites]


Easy solution: Hakama for everyone!


Anyone who has a problem with this can meet me by the eastern wall of Hase-dera temple. Bring a second.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:47 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


Ahem. The girl equivalent of the bottle-cap shirt divot/tear is the bottle-cap shirt divot/tear.

If I end up in the position of needing to date again, I now know what will be going front and center as the mandatory feature in my dating profile.

I ride a 'mens' racing frame style bike which I get on to by swinging my leg over the back just like my husband does with his. I guess if you crouched down directly behind me as I did it you might catch a look up my skirt as my leg swings past, but I'd rather notice something like that.

I definitely do not crouch down to look up skirts (ugh) but a few weeks ago I was sitting at an outside cafe table and someone totally flashed me big time in an ankle-length skirt doing exactly this. Obviously it wasn't a big deal to anyone involved, but it was one of those momentary things where your eyes happen to be lined up and you see something you had not intended to see, or that she probably thought was even possible to see.

Clearly, the answer is bloomers.

Wasn't there a company a few years ago selling old-style looking bloomers but with cycling chamois built in?
posted by Dip Flash at 5:19 PM on July 1


I don't think this has to be for people who are shamed or Puritan or whatever. It's basically a trick to help you wear what you want and remain in charge of who sees what when. I think the world can accommodate both women who don't care if you see their underwear and women who would prefer you didn't.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 5:28 PM on July 1 [27 favorites]


Pennies are for paupers...when I wear a skirt I shall only use the finest gold coin.
(this was a relief...i have a dirty mind...and I thought for sure this was going to go a whole other direction.)
posted by QueerAngel28 at 5:40 PM on July 1


From the comments:
Plus how long can anyone look at my goods when I’m riding past them at LIGHTNING SPEED?
posted by unliteral at 5:55 PM on July 1


Mixte frames for the win, here. Not a "girl bike" (why in the hell we have to denigrate any object differentiated for women is beyond me, girl bikes are awesome, especially in Dutch Bike form), it's a legit vintage unisex racing frame that JUST SO HAPPENS to allow a woman to mount and pedal along without showing any under there (under where? Just so!)
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:19 PM on July 1 [3 favorites]


Could you not just swing a leg over the handlebars? Granted, I've only ever ridden in a skirt once, so maybe I just flashed people and nobody said anything.
posted by d. z. wang at 6:27 PM on July 1


The most comfortable bike in the world, in my opinion, is the classic Dutch "omafiets" (granny bike). It's a step-through, traditional "women's bike", but in The Netherlands it's hugely popular with both genders because it's easy to mount and the ride is super comfortable.
posted by monospace at 6:28 PM on July 1 [6 favorites]


Skirts aren't technically a problem for me, but I do wear kilts fairly often. Tho when I do I just assume the bike is out of the question. I'm not sure how that would work. Won't it just get blown up the whole time? Maybe I should give it a try...
And I don't have a modesty panel because I wear real kilts, not those silly Utili-kilts. If there is no tartan, it's not a kilt. :) Those a just mens skirts. And that's fine, but don't call `em kilts.
posted by MrBobaFett at 8:21 PM on July 1


I ride in skirts on a non-stepthrough frame - but I've learned from hard experience that the shape, drape, and length of the skirt are critical. Pencil skirts, NO; even with bike shorts, they're too constricting. That one time I forgot to put on the bike shorts under the pencil skirt was sooo much fun. Luckily, I didn't have to stop once in the five miles to work - disaster narrowly avoided. Drapey, flowing skirts don't require bike shorts unless it's very windy. Just be careful dismounting - that is, if you mind being a momentary flasher.
posted by infodiva at 9:09 PM on July 1


i love men in skirts no matter what you want to call them.
posted by nadawi at 9:21 PM on July 1


Since when has dressing modestly prevented street harassment?

I understand teh grar, but really: we can't have nice things because bad things happen anyway? C'mon.
posted by Ogre Lawless


We can't (who said you couldn't wear this fix on your skirt?) have nice modest dress (?) because men will harass you anyway? I have no idea what you're trying to say here - doesn't have anything to do with what I said.
posted by agregoli at 6:30 AM on July 2


Also, Frowner, I guess I don't get your point. No one invites street harassment, I get you are saying that. but you're also saying that a change in dress can change the amount of harassment, your mileage may vary. Ok? Not really information anyone can use, just a data point, I suppose?
posted by agregoli at 6:41 AM on July 2


I ride to work more often than not, often in a dress or skirt. These are all very boring work appropriate outfits. I also sometimes ride to work in pants. Good days are when I can ride the 4 miles without being reminded of my place in the sex class. There are good days, but there are rarely good weeks.

Here is what I have observed:

1. skirt/dress with bike shorts that aren't visible (tights or no tights): cat calls ahoy
2. skirt/dress with full leggings: fewer than above
3. pants/jeans with regular fit t-shirt: about the same as with leggings
4. pants/jeans with baggy t-shirt: not nearly as much

Conclusion: regardless of my intentions, men decide that if I am dressed in a way they decide is revealing, this gives the the authority to comment on it.

Unless, of course, I'm riding bikes with a dude, and then they don't say anything.

My intentions and desires are meaningless--it doesn't matter what I'm wearing. If wanted to ride in a tank top because it's hot out, chances are a bunch of dudes would see me and decide I was wearing those things for other reasons. My autonomy means nothing. And obviously I resent that I am forced to think about these things every morning before my ride.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 7:42 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]


I don't actually care if people see my underwear (especially since I bought some of the snazzy ones from that AskMe recently and have few opportunities to show them off), but I care about people thinking I don't know that they can see and that they're getting a sneak peek. I don't know what the difference is to me, but it's there, much like I don't care if you can see in my living room window but I don't want you thinking I don't know that you can see in there.

But yeah, for me the real issue is that most of my T-shirts are V-necks.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:30 AM on July 2 [1 favorite]




Also, Frowner, I guess I don't get your point. No one invites street harassment, I get you are saying that. but you're also saying that a change in dress can change the amount of harassment, your mileage may vary. Ok? Not really information anyone can use, just a data point, I suppose?


I was, initially, commenting on the post - saying that I had not been particularly worried, when wearing skirts on my bike, about anyone seeing my underwear...but that if I were in a situation where women were more routinely harassed, I might want to take steps to stop people from seeing my underwear when I rode my bike, and thus might find this a useful product. (My assumption being that - although it sucks and it is misogyny - showing your underwear in public can attract attention from creepers who might otherwise have left you alone, and that - again, as much as this calculus sucks - sometimes you just want to minimize the opportunity for creepers to hassle you.) There had been several "why are you worried about this problem" comments upthread, my initial mental response had been that I never used to worry about it, and then it occurred to me why I might worry about it. If anything, my thought was "how privileged I was that I was biking in a situation where I didn't have to think about whether my clothes were going to give men an excuse to hassle me".

To which you responded that changing your style of dress did not prevent street harassment. That's why I said that I thought that dress did often affect harassment, based on my experience and observation, and that this is a result of misogyny. (Implicitly, that this is a result of intersectional identities - not all women are targets for the same kind of harassment at all times, some women are more vulnerable than others, femininity is stigmatized rather than the category of "woman".)
posted by Frowner at 8:51 AM on July 2 [3 favorites]


Could you not just swing a leg over the handlebars?

I've been trying and trying to imagine how this would be done, and I can't figure it out. Like, swinging a leg over the bars when getting on? Because I can't even imagine being limber enough to pull that off without falling, and I can't imagine how that would not make the flashing issue even more pronounced. Swinging a leg over the bars while actually riding the bike, so you'd be pedaling with one foot and have a foot up on the bars? I don't understand.
posted by The World Famous at 1:28 PM on July 2 [1 favorite]


The World Famous: every year about this time we start doing cyclocross clinics with beginners and every year about this time we INVARIABLY have to re-train at least one beginner who has *always* dismounted a bike by swinging their free leg forward of the saddle (so, over the bars) instead of leaning forward, opening their hip angle and swinging the free leg *behind* the saddle to dismount (so, you're supposed to dismount a conventional racing bike like you're supposed to dismount a horse - you wouldn't swing your foot at the animal's ears / back of their head, would you? because that's just plain asking for it, if you do).

Invariably. And they are always shocked and puzzled to discover that they've been "doing it wrong" forever.

The answer, ultimately, is safety. Step-through frames are indeed meant to be gotten on and off by swinging your free leg forward of the saddle - this is in part entirely why they were designed in the first place - to prevent people in long skirts (women, priests, etc.) from having to show their legs when getting on and off the machine.

Stepover (diamond / standard) frames, no, not so much. Once you must swing your leg above about knee height, assuming normal human mobility and balance, you are much more readily able to counterbalance the weight of your leg by swinging it BEHIND you, and correspondingly leaning the torso a bit forward to compensate.

Doing the legover / forward at any sort of speed short of a slow walking pace, and especially using clipless pedals, like most racers do, has a high risk of unintended and painful consequences for numerous reasons some having to do with balance and physics / vector of motion and some having to do with the mechanicals of clipless (step-in) pedals and how they release. All of which is why we must re-train our cyclocross beginners a proper running mount / dismount - a competent racer can be going upwards of 15mph during these maneuvers and you REALLY do not want to stumble or get hung up in the bike and go on your face at that speed.

and then I go race mountain bikes during the summer and I see the occasional beginner racer doing the leg-forward dismount in a cross-country race and I'm like *facepalm*.
posted by lonefrontranger at 3:17 PM on July 2


...you are much more readily able to counterbalance the weight of your leg by swinging it BEHIND you, and correspondingly leaning the torso a bit forward to compensate.

Yeah, that's a good description of what I did when I was 8 months pregnant and had a toddler seat on my bike -- only I leaned a whole lot forward and the leg went way high behind me.
posted by Michele in California at 4:10 PM on July 2


I would try the leg-forward dismount at the end of my ride this evening, just to see how it works, but I'm certain I'd severely injure myself.
posted by The World Famous at 4:10 PM on July 2 [1 favorite]


Yes, to be clear, I was just puttering around town with a milk crate zip-tied to my rear rack and coming to a full stop with every dismount.

Although, The World Famous, it's not actually hard at all: Come to a full stop with your left foot on the ground a little forward of the pedal. Tip the bike to your left so your handlebars are out of the way, lift your leg up, pass your bike under your leg and lean it over to the right, drop your leg down. Your left foot has been firmly on the ground the entire time. Once you get the hang of it, it takes less than a second to mount or dismount, and if anyone wants to peep up your skirt in that second he'll have to stand right in front of you.
posted by d. z. wang at 8:42 PM on July 2


Oh, you must have drop bars. Sometimes when I'm not paying attention I try this on a CitiBike, and that never ends well.
posted by d. z. wang at 8:42 PM on July 2


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