Monday, 21 January 2013

Wear You Skirt With Pride : How to Cycle in a Skirt in Winter

What's this? Snow eh?

Winter is here and it is chilly, but don’t go ditching those skirts in your wardrobe in the name of Mr. Practicality! Oh no, for I believe that the winter months allow the female cyclist to wear a variety of skirts, more than in summer in fact. 'Oh hello? What do you mean?' I hear you cry. Well, yes, hello my reader friend! If I have to spell it out then fine. That's what I'm here for....

In winter the rules for wearing a skirt to cycle in are different and the main reason for this is the humble tight (or pantyhose as those across the pond like to call it).  100 denier or fine wool, when teamed with a skirt, tights are my best friend on dark, winter bicycle rides. And it's not just warmth they provide but COVERAGE. Here are the reasons why you should carry on wearing skirts and how you can get away with going a few inches shorter if you wish:

NUMBER ONE – Wearing black tights means that even if you do flash a little bit of your nether region then no one will be any the wiser. All you can see is darkness! So all those sleazy van drivers out there who actively wind down their window to stick their head out to check you (yes this happens) can go and stick their head in their concrete mixer instead. Thick wooly tights are practically like leggings, there is no way you will reveal any surprises. Dignity in tact, phew!

NUMBER TWO – On the subject of leggings, why not stick a pair over your tights if you are feeling the chill? This will add extra warmth and comfort and 100% pant coverage under your skirt. Plus, it’s easy to take off when you arrive at your destination without too much fumbling in the toilets.

Whatcha looking at?

Yep, thighs of steel, I know I know...

NUMBER THREE – Oh, how I love the humble winter coat. This is the ultimate in bottom half coverage. Most winter coats fall below the waist which is a lifesaver if you want to sport the mini-skirt on a bicycle when going on a night out. The winter coat adds extra coverage around the saddle and the sides of your legs as demonstrated above. Buttoning your coat up also means that your lap is also covered up.

So you see, don’t ditch wearing a skirt on your bicycle this winter, just make sure to buy some snug tights or leggings to keep you warm and dignified!

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Confronting Bad Car Drivers

I’ve been getting my game on lately and standing up for my little patch of pot-holed concrete I share with other road users. By getting my 'game on', I don't mean pelting passed all those mini-wheeled Brompton diva's out there.... I mean being more vocal to car drivers who have very nearly rammed their big fat car into me.

Building up enough confidence to ride your bicycle in a city is one thing, but being able to speak to car drivers about their misdemeanors is another. I have always been the kind of cyclist that when you get cut up, you deal with it and carry on.

I'm not sure why I have started to speak up, maybe it's because those near misses have happened just one too many times, or maybe it's because I have been reading up about that unorthodox Superman style character called 'Traffic Droid'.

Whatever the reason may be,  I have found myself giving the Help!MyChainCameOff dressing down to a few people of late*. I only really chirp up when I've been the target of the kind of near miss which makes you wish you had an ejection seat like this guy:

But I don't, so instead I have to say to the driver that their actions had put me in danger.

For example,  I was cruising my way to Stoke Newington on a Friday night when some kind of East End gangster and his mate slammed right passed me with only a fraction of space between us. I’m no Tony Soprano but I knew these guys were just softies at heart. At the traffic lights I knocked on their cheap blacked out windows and explained that they had driven far too close to me. The driver reassured me that he was a good driver and that I shouldn't worry (Oh...ok then, I see, that makes sense??!).

So I said-
'Hey you, I could have been a child on my bicycle or a nervous rider, how do you think they would feel, HEY?' 
And they were like-
'So sorry Lady, we won't do it again, have a good evening.'
They finished off the sentence with a nice smile which I returned. And that was the end of the Help!MyChainCameOff dressing down.

Do you ever attempt to speak to car drivers who have cut you up? And has it ever gone disastrously wrong?

*Please note that I am not transforming into Traffic Droid's Superwomen counterpart, no way Jose!