Bicycling – something left in my childhood past. I live in the city center and can be where I need to be in a 20 minute walk. As such, it never occurred to me to ride a bike as a mode of transport. But at the beginning of spring, I watched bike riders sail past me, so stylish and carefree, and I knew I wanted to get back on a bike again. Best decision I made this year.
But, deciding to ride a bike after years of not riding was not as easy as “riding a bike”. It turns out that you can forget. And, riding a bike – in the city, is very different than riding a bike in the suburbs as a child.
There was also the question of whether to rent a bike or to buy one. And then there were questions about biking and fashion! I was overwhelmed! I managed to sort through all these questions and I’m going to share with you what I have learned.
Here are 9 tips from fashion to safety to help you get back in the proverbial saddle!
#1 Safety First: Know The Rules!
I decided to take a giant step back before getting on a bike. I realized there was so much I didn’t know about riding a bike in the city. The League of American Bicyclists has a handy guide that breaks down the laws in each state. This hadn’t been updated since 2012, but it was a good place to start.
Once I knew the rules I felt more confident to get on a bike but I had a big decision to make.
#2 Bike Choice: Buy or Rent?
I decided to rent a bike. I wasn’t sure if I would keep to this new mode of transport if I purchased a bike as they are commonly stolen if you do not have all the important locking devices. And there are so many bike sharing options now. Mine is $35 dollars a year and the first 30 minutes are free – like I said, I can get anywhere I need to be in 20 minutes if I walk and a bike cuts that time by a third.
If a bike-sharing program sounds like a good idea to you as well the Unites States has over 100 programs. Here is a link to find one in your city.
Now that I had a bike, there was the important question I needed to address.
#3 What To Wear On A Bike?
I decided to channel Eartha Kitt. I am no wall flower and again one of the inspirations for getting back on the bike was the style! I knew I would need slim fitting clothes – didn’t want to worry about flow-y dresses caught in the wheel or flare leg trousers tangled up in the pedals – I chose shorts and mid-calf mini skirts and dresses.
Simple and chic is the way to go. Rompers are adorable or a fit-and-flare dress with flat slip-ons and a backpack is another great option if you aren’t comfortable with hot pants like Miss Kitt.
#4 Shoes Are Important
As a newcomer to city bike riding, I made a decision to only wear flats while cycling. I found a few pair of comfortable flats in neutral colors that work with any look!
If you are determined to try to cycle in heels, I suggest you invest in rubber soles!
As for beauty, I haven’t changed my routine but there is one big lesson I learned.
#4 Beauty Matters
Carry deodorant and face wipes.
#5 Bike Safety!
Before I hit the road, I gave the bike a quick ten-point safety check to make sure I wouldn’t go riding onto busy streets with a faulty set of brakes.
But it had been a while since I’d ridden and it was not an easy ride.
#6 Riding A Bike Is Not As Easy As Riding A Bike.
My first time out was very scary. I couldn’t find my center and I couldn’t manage the speed. I’d forgotten how to ride a bike!
I needed to practice, a lot! I stuck to side streets without a lot of cars until I felt comfortable. The cool thing was, it didn’t take me long before I was riding smoothly again but there are still a few scary firsts riding in the city.
I try to always be aware of my surroundings, be respectful of drivers on the road and pedestrians on the walkways and stick to routes I know.
That leaves me with my final bit of advice.
#9 The Best Accessories Are Chic!
The one thing I wish bike-sharing designs included on their bikes were baskets. Not all services do. I finally invested in one of my own. I knew I wanted something elegant and stylish but not overly designed.
The bikes from the sharing program I use are very simple. I didn’t want to overwhelm the bike. I chose a tasteful basket with a handle. The basket I purchased has leather straps and metal buckles that allow the basket to be attached in all sorts of ways. I love it!
Purchase this basket: House of Talents.
Hope this helps you get started!
If I missed anything important please feel free to comment in the section below!