The Skirt Scoot: A Key Maneuver

Skirts can be easier to ride in than pants, but they have their dark side. Read on for a little Twitter discussion I was reminded of the other day. (Note for those who aren’t on Twitter: When someone replies to a tweet the original appears above with the reply below in this format, so you’ll see some tweets duplicated.)

                                                                                                                               Just the other day I experienced “some alarm” and was reminded yet again of the importance of the skirt scoot maneuver.

What’s that, you ask? My nickname for a little move I’ve adopted, born of a combination of the occasional disastrous skirt fabric/length combo and my fondness/weakness for alliteration.

Cream-colored vintage knit dress from Carousel Vintage, Spokane, WA. Perfect for biking in style!

Love-love-love this stretchy little number from Carousel Vintage. It's a soft, nubbly knit and even if I forget my skirt scoot I can easily pull the skirt up and off the saddle just by standing on the pedals. Woven fabrics? Not so forgiving in your nanosecond of need.

This is the maneuver I now try to remember to execute any time I get on the bike, whether it’s as I leave the house in the morning or when the light turns green: Lift up and slide back, making sure the fabric of the skirt is trapped between the saddle and your butt.

It’s just a simple little step, but an easy one to forget. The times I have forgotten it and just plopped onto the saddle led to the “some alarm” tweet above. Those were the times when a skirt with an unforgiving non-stretch fabric happened to be just the right length to get caught over the back of the saddle.

What happens next, as you begin to slow for a stop and plan to step smoothly and gracefully off the saddle, is that you can’t. You are caught on the saddle by the fabric of your skirt and you are starting to tip over.

So far I’ve been lucky. I’ve felt the catch in time to push back on the pedals and unhook the skirt, but not without a nice little adrenalin rush. (Note that this reinforces the need to get comfortable standing on your pedals.)

I’ve already mostly moved away from straight skirts in my wardrobe as I’ve shifted my shopping toward a bike-friendly mindset. I ride a regular road bike for my commuting as well as for fun and straddling the top bar is just less (ahem) ladylike in a straight skirt that I have to hoist to mid-thigh to get enough leg maneuvering space. (I still have a few I won’t give up, mind you–I’m careful about where I stand when I hoist on so I continue to be the lady my mother raised me to be. Avert your eyes, you creeper.)

The moment of panic when I realize I didn’t skirt-scoot and I am now skirt-stuck is a reinforcement of my fashion move toward skirts with a slightly flippier hemline, and definitely ones with stretchy fabric.

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Your Turn

  • What clothing-induced moments of panic have you experienced?
  • Any great tips for avoiding said panic in the future, à la skirt scoot?
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5 Comments to "The Skirt Scoot: A Key Maneuver"

  1. Nancy L. Seibel says:

    I love this post. And your skirt! I’ve made the same choice. When I am on the bike in a skirt, the skirt is a stretchy one.

  2. Jessie Kwak says:

    My “bike-to-work” costume is leggings and a short wool skirt. I definitely have felt “some alarm” when I come to a stop and realize it’s caught on the back of the seat. I’ve been stuck more than once teetering on my tiptoes, unable to get off my bike and praying that the light turns green quickly! I’ve developed a “backwards scoot” maneuver for stopping that is pretty routine now.

    What cracks me up is when people say girls cycling in skirts is risqué. Really? More risqué than a roadie with skin-tight lycra clearly outlining his package? For me, riding a bike in a skirt just as comfortable as pants (more so in the hot summer).

  3. […] The Reveal Skirt is made of the same awesome Swiss fabric I adore in my Outlier Tailored Women’s Daily Riding Pant, so that’s a big plus right there. And it will allow me to revive the inner pencil-skirt-wearing me who’s had to lay low while I learned to love a little flare at the knee and master the skirt scoot maneuver. […]

  4. […] get me wrong—love the guys—but no one was providing a perspective that included issues such as getting your skirt caught on the saddle or dealing with issues of personal safety while riding, let alone biking in high heels or how to […]

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