This started out as the story of a quest. Odds are that if you’re a woman who rides a bike and has a personal sense of style you share the goal of the original quest for the intersection of style and comfort: finding clothes that look as good as they feel whether you’re turning your cranks, hanging out at the coffee shop with friends, or walking into the office.
But what I wear is hardly the most important part of every day, and being on my bike is part of my life, not just part of my closet criteria. This blog has evolved to include posts about other quests: the search for better transportation policy to create safer places that welcome any and all whether they roll or stroll; for interesting places to ride; for poetry that celebrates or mentions bicycles; for connections across and between places, cultures, and types of riding; and beyond bicycling to include posts on other modes.
I commuted by bike for years in Spokane, a city whose beautiful downtown basically sits in a bowl so there’s no avoiding those hills. My day job involved plenty of meetings in board rooms with groups like the local Chamber of Commerce so “real bike clothes” (those Spandex-y things that mostly come in black) didn’t cut it. And Spokane boasts beautiful four-season recreation—which means, of course, four seasons. From Spokane my bike journey took me first to Seattle (where I experienced real hills), then to Olympia (much shallower hills, yay!), each city presenting new places to ride and new topics to write about.
In my early years years of improvisation and bathroom stall clothing changes I developed a bag of tricks that you’ll find here in numerous posts on clothing and commuting. It isn’t easy. Let’s face it–a lot of women’s clothing isn’t cut to be comfortable for riding a bike (or many other activities, for that matter!). And a lot of the most comfortable clothing is too sporty for business. (Who wants to make a swishing sound when you walk or wear someone’s logo on your butt?)
The Quest, Part Deux: Along the way I found a lot of great women’s bike blogs, which led to my modestly titled Comprehensive List of Women’s Bike Blogs. It’s sadly outdated; it needs some care and feeding I haven’t had time to give it for a while but I keep it up because it’s at least a starting point, and I’ll come back to it one of these days.
The search for a better bike life, one lived with style, continues. Join the quest.
P.S.: I updated this post most recently on January 15, 2023. Older comments reflect an earlier version that focused a lot more on the clothing question.