There has already been a ton of buzz about Levi’s new collection of bike commuter clothes for women – yes, at long last, Levi’s has made bike jeans for women. Only some 3 or 4 years after their men’s collection. Slow to the bandwagon, but at least on it, finally! I can’t wait to get my hands on a pair!

Levi's Women's Bike Commuter Jeans

Levi’s Women’s Bike Commuter Jeans (Image from website)

Another sharp-eyed member of the women and bikes Facebook group I belong to found these REI Novara Bike Jeans on clearance, so I ordered a pair. Frankly, they look a bit more figure-forgiving than the Levi’s.

Novara Bike Pants for Women (Image from REI website)

Novara Bike Pants for Women (Image from REI website)

But I noticed that while the Novara jeans offer a loop for one’s U-lock, the Levi’s don’t seem to have that. I guess the “deeper back pockets” are their option. Personally, I’m glad, because I am not the kind of bike rider who carries their bike lock in a pocket; mine is clamped to the top tube. But it did make me wonder who carries their U-lock in their pocket.

On the left hip is the U-lock loop; you can barely see it but for the blue logo.

On the left hip is the U-lock loop; you can barely see it but for the blue logo.

So I want to know what you wear when you are biking:

  1. Do you ride your bike more for commuting to work, or for running errands on weekends, just for run, or purely for sport?
  2. What do you wear if you bike to work? Do you gear up, or just wear your work clothes?
  3. If you bike to work in your work clothes, what type of job do you have? Do you need to look corporate, or is your job pretty casual?
  4. If you mostly spend time on your bike on weekends/vacations/free time, do you wear bike gear or whatever?
  5. What sort of “bike friendly” touches would you want on your dream bike pants? The U-lock loop? Reflective trim on pockets and cuffs? Reinforced crotch? Seamless crotch? Articulated knees? Moisture-wicking fabric? Fabric that takes off 10lbs?

I’m certainly not out to make the ideal bike jeans for women, I am just curious what you wear on your bike. Reflective Challege Day 10

For example, I pretty much only bike to work, because most of what I need on the weekends is walking distance, or something like IKEA, where I need a car both to get to it and to haul stuff home. Therefore, I spend more time biking in my business clothes, and less time biking in jeans and casual wear. I really don’t need bike jeans, then, since normal jeans do just fine (although I do like my Ligne 8 jeans!). And I certainly don’t want to put my U-lock in the pocket of my business pants, and it would never fit in a blazer pocket.Ligne 8 jeans 3

If you would be so kind as to leave comments, telling me what you prefer to wear while you are biking, I’d be grateful for your responses for my non-scientific (or even Survey Monkey) survey!

19 thoughts on “What Are You Wearing?

  1. I commute, run errands and ride my bike for fun.

    For my commute (10km), I wear bike shorts/tights and a light coloured tee. In winter, I wear a Gill cycling jacket that has lots of reflective bits and vents to modify how hot one gets underneath. Often I wear a wind proof vest that I added reflective ribbon to because the vest was black. I top this with reflective ankle cuffs. As I also drive, I know that the most visible thing is something that moves, and I’ve clearly seen cyclists with nothing bright on them except for narrow trouser clips! I also always wear short fingered gloves.

    My work environment is smart casual, and occasionally formal but I have a suit with button up shirt permanently at work in case of unexpected court appearances!

    For errand running, I wear whatever I happen to be wearing. Unless it’s jeans. I’ll change out of jeans except for the very shortest of rides (less than a km). If I’m in a dress, I put leggings or bike shorts on underneath. I kinda throw my leg over my top tube to get on the bike, so I need to not embarrass myself or shock the world.

    For fun rides, I’ll wear ‘cycling clothes’, which involves bike shorts and the top will depend on how long the ride is, the weather and the purpose. I often wear my hiking button up shirts because they protect me from the sun. Sometimes I’ll wear a sporty dress if we’re riding an urban trail.

    The things I want for my cyclable clothing are secure pockets (or at least a loop somewhere that I can attach my keys to), lots of reflectivity anywhere and freedom of movement. Oh, also ability to secure the trouser leg so my chain doesn’t eat up my trousers!

    I really don’t understand why you would hang a ulock off yourself. The bike is magnificent for carrying weight, why carry that weight on your person? I don’t get backpacks on the bike for that reason as well. Panniers are the best!

    • I keep a change of clothes at work too, which has saved me when I’ve been caught in a rainstorm, ripped my pants, and needed a blazer. Definitely something I recommend to people who bike to work!

      I agree, some of the “reflective” gear out there doesn’t offer much visibility. It’s disappointing, because it’s often expensive sports gear, either for runner or cyclists. Who thinks that a 1″ spot on a calf will make the wearer more visible?!

      I don’t understand backpacks either, but for me it’s more a sweat thing. I don’t want all that sweat on my back. Really, panniers are not that big of a deal! : )

  2. I have seen some guys bike with a short lock attached to their pants.

    Honest, it just seems to be a big stretch (pun) to ride around with a U-lock attached to belt loop on pants. I would worry over time, my belt loop would rip off.

    I have an (expensive) pair of black yoga (brand name) jeans with a tiny bit of spandex. They were $100.00 CAN. Now I believe they are $130.00CAN. I wear them 50% on the job at the office. I’ve only occasionally biked in them with a business top from home, to a group work meeting and then I change into dress shoes from bike shoes. Sorry, I am not going to cycle in dress shoes on bike.

    I do wear cycling oriented clothes on bike …even if cycle commute is only 15 min. I do have a job that is not meeting members of the public and 80% of the time I am working at my desk.

    It’s just expensive for me to wear out my non-bike dress/business clothing..when I no longer sew. I am:
    5’1″ @ 100 lbs. (or less) @ 56 yrs. old. Quite petite. Can one not see the challenge for me to buy business wear at reasonable prices without getting into some inappropriate teen fashions/designs, in a prairie city where quite bluntly, people tend to be abit fatter, bigger boned than I? Vancouver BC and Toronto offers a lot more choice than where I live. Sadly I find a lot of women’s fashion on the store racks in my present city, tend to be too loose/wide for me… major alterations for me.

    It’s actually cheaper for me to cycle in tights /spandex shorts or walking shorts…most of my cycling clothing I make last more than 10-15 yrs. No kidding.

    My lifestyle has been cycle-commuting, also for recreation and touring for past 2 decades. Here are my thoughts for my situation: https://thirdwavecyclingblog.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/cycling-chic-not-for-me-i-cant-afford-it/

    Yup, I refuse to rip the lining of a tailored business jacket that fits me, by biking in it. Then sweat up the jacket at the neck, where then I have to spend money on drycleaning the jacket sooner than later. Forget it. It will happen because I lean forward and move around with my panniers. Wide business jackets…look awful on a small person like me.

    • I shared your blog post, too – I think its good for people to see the wide range of what women wear on their bikes. I don’t personally know anyone who doesn’t make some concession to bike-ability regarding their wardrobe – I sometimes put the good blazer in a pannier, usually wear pant straps, and only have a few pairs of good shoes that I won’t bike in (my Power Straps mean I don’t need to worry about my feet slipping off my pedals). But I don’t buy or make impractical clothing anyway. If I can’t walk around in it, I won’t buy it.

      I think the biggest takeaway regarding what one wears on the bike is that it takes a bit of forethought, more than is needed if you roll out of bed and into a car, or even onto a bus or subway. Once you work it out for yourself, you can do it forever! : )

  3. 1.Do you ride your bike more for commuting to work, or for running errands on weekends, just for run, or purely for sport?
    -Commuting to work, just for fun, and running errands on weekends.
    2.What do you wear if you bike to work? Do you gear up, or just wear your work clothes?
    -Leggings and a skirt/dress with high boots. Or skinny jeans tucked inside boots.
    3.If you bike to work in your work clothes, what type of job do you have? Do you need to look corporate, or is your job pretty casual?
    -Pretty casual. I usually pack the sweater/blouse I’m wearing, and ride wearing a tank top and long sleeve (if it’s super cold) under my coat so that I don’t stink when I get to work.
    4.If you mostly spend time on your bike on weekends/vacations/free time, do you wear bike gear or whatever?
    -Whatever.
    5.What sort of “bike friendly” touches would you want on your dream bike pants? The U-lock loop?
    -Reflective patches or trimmings! Any maybe pop buttons inside the lower leg so that the pants won’t get stuck in my chain.
    6.Reflective trim on pockets and cuffs? Reinforced crotch? Seamless crotch? Articulated knees? Moisture-wicking fabric? Fabric that takes off 10lbs?
    -Reflective trims on pockets and cuffs, and seamless crotch 🙂

    • Yay for reflective trim! You know I’m a fan. : )

      Thanks for sharing your experience and preferences. I wonder if anyone has ever thought to make some sort of magnetic clip that we could use on our pants to hold them up, rather than have something added to the pants themselves? Hm…. I see a business idea!

  4. My commute is 4 miles which I do 4 days a week. I may use my bike to go to the local shops at the weekend but it is less than a mile away.
    I wear my everyday clothes for work, the office style is casual. I work in product development for a sportwear brand.
    I tend to wear skirts / dresses but they need to have the width to be able to cycle in. I usually wear thick dark tights so showing a bit of leg isn’t a problem, when the weather gets warmer I may need to check I’m still decent.
    In the UK nearly every cycle commuter wears high vis and most wear full on cycle gear. I have a very unflattering yellow and orange reflective vest that I wear over my coat.

    • I love biking in skirts and dresses, and because my bike has a top tube, I am careful to get fuller skirts, so I can comfortably pedal. I love my Jockey Skimmies Slip Shorts (http://www.jockey.com/catalog/product/skimmies-slipshort) under them in the summer, because then I can feel covered and decent, and if my skirt blows up and exposes a hot pink leg, well, so be it! ; )

      I have a hi viz vest too, that I used to wear over my black winter coat, but after I bought a bright red coat and added a reflective belt from Vespertine (http://shop.vespertinenyc.com/category/belts), I rarely wear it. There is a huge need for slightly more stylish vests, I think! Maybe not 100% hi viz, and maybe a bit more fitted?

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences! I’m glad to get feedback. : )

      • I’ve noticed comments about shorts under skirts before so I think I’ll look into that in the summer.
        On my sewing ‘to do’ list I want to make a new reflective vest. More fitted and maybe not orange / yellow but red. Red is still a bright colour and as long as it has enough reflective areas should be fine.

  5. I’m always tempted by clothing designed for cyclists that chic and practical although I try to insist that they’re made in the US or country of origin, so that often means I don’t click “submit” on that impulse purchase on REI. I find most pants and jeans do not accommodate or flatter women with hips or thighs, which is one reason why I like these pants (http://velocitycyclewear.cc/shop/trousers/the-sprinter/).

    And like you, I am modifying and crafting my own reflective accessories. It’s great following your progress.

    • Oooh, thanks for sharing those pants! I’m not a fan of pleated fronts, but I like everything else about those, even the color. And even though I like the skinny pants I can fit into (which is not all of them), I don’t always want to wear skinny pants, so I’m glad to see an alternative. Someday, there will be better options out there! I just wish I was better at sewing pants. I guess practice makes perfect, but what do I do with the practice pairs I don’t like?!

      Thanks for commenting and following me, too! I really appreciate feedback and input and new products! Cheers!

  6. My riding is about 70% commuting, 27% errands and maybe 3% just for fun. I work in a business-casual office and my commute is only 3 miles, so I wear my work clothes, with some weather exceptions — I live in northern Illinois, so if it’s above 85 F I may bring my outfit separately and if it’s below 50 there will be many extra layers.

    I don’t carry a U-lock, so no adaptations needed there, but I wish my pants had reflective material in the inside cuffs, since I often have them rolled up when riding. After finding your blog I’ve been considering buying reflective ribbon and adding bits here and there to my clothes.

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