BE PEDAL CHIC!!! 5 TIPS FOR BIKING SAFELY & FASHIONABLY
My first “real” bike was a 10-speed baby blue Schwinn that I got for Christmas when I was ten years old. I loved that bike. There was nothing like the feeling of happiness and freedom when I was out riding: my hair blowing in the wind, arms outstretched, face to the sun. I rediscovered my passion for life on two wheels a few years ago and it is now my life’s work to help other women find it too. There are a few things to know if you are beginning your journey that will help you navigate the wonderful world of cycling.
1. Buy the Right Bike
There are many different genres of bicycles, such as, cruiser, hybrid, city, road, and mountain, to name a few. Knowing the type of riding you wish to do is imperative when selecting the perfect bike for you. Think about where you will be riding, who you will be riding with and what your goals might be – fitness, distance, riding the neighborhood or commuting through town. Also, check with the friends you will be riding with, if you are joining a group. These factors will all determine which bike style is best for you!
We do recommend that you visit your local bike shop to help you make your decision. The staff will fit you properly for the right size bike and you will be assured that your bike was built by a professional. At Pedal Chic, we even provide personalized bike riding lessons to help you learn proper shifting (if applicable), rules of the road and how to ride safely in traffic.
Saddle Selection: One point of contention that comes up often with women, is experiencing discomfort in the “private” areas, so to speak. Let’s face it – the seat can make or break your comfort on the bike. “Just get used to it,” is not the answer to a painful bike ride. Saddles can be changed and the right saddle will vary from person to person depending on body structure and ride position. Bigger saddles are not always better – again, when you do have issues, contact a professional in your bike shop to help you address your particular concerns and find the right seat for your bike.
2. Wear the Proper Clothing
Fashionable and proper biking apparel isn’t just for looking great – although isn’t that reason enough? With more women getting on bicycles, the clothing selection and styles have greatly improved. There are now colorful patterns from which to choose, as well as cycling skorts – even beautiful dresses!
Helmets are not always required by law (check your state requirements) but we always encourage their use. And there are some fantastic new helmets available that will allow you to express your personality and show your style, such as our Nutcase line or Yakkay helmets.
There are also important functionality attributes for comfort and safety with apparel. For longer rides, consider investing in a good pair of bike shorts with a chamois (you know, the thick padding in the seat). They will make a big difference in your ride. The right chamois for you will depend on your personal comfort needs as well as the length and type of your ride.
Bright colors and reflectivity will insure that you are visible to passing motorists, as well. Never assume that the automobile drivers see you – always err on the side of caution. When riding in a skirt, consider a skirt guard, and chain guard, on your bicycle to keep your clothing from getting caught in the spokes and chain. And remember to take into consideration whether or not the wind is blowing!
3. Always remember to carry $20 and a lock.
When I asked my good friend April Lemly, of Chicks On Bikes Radio, for an article idea, she said, “Always remember to carry $20 and a lock – you never know what might happen while you are out. The lock will secure your bike and the $20 will get you a cab to safety!” What great advice! No matter how long or short your ride, always have a plan, should you find yourself in need of assistance. Prepare for any setback, but always enjoy the ride.
4. Be aware of your surroundings and know the rules of the road.
It is always wise to know your planned route. When bike lanes are available, use them. When riding, you should be aware of the laws in your particular state. In my town, for instance, bicyclists are expected to follow the laws of automobile drivers. That means stopping at red lights, and stop signs, or face a $250 fine. It is legal in South Carolina to ride two abreast on the road, and drivers are required to stay 3 feet from the cyclist when passing. Once again, I reiterate to always stay alert and never assume the drivers see you. That will help you have a safe and wonderful ride, each and every time.
5. Bling Your Bike
Take the opportunity to personalize your bike and your ride. There are so many great options available now to make your bike spectacularly your own. Baskets, bells, panniers (bags on the back rack) are all extremely useful, and now, so many fashionable options are available, that the thought of going to the store by bike can be a chance to show off your fashion savvy! There is a fantastic movement that was borne in Copenhagen, called, “Cycle Chic.” They enlist their followers to send photos from around the globe of those most fashionable riding their lovely bikes. The Dutch really know how to ride with style. The movement is growing in the states and it is so exciting to see women here riding in style on beautiful bicycles.
Our motto is, “Roadways are the new Runways,” so never forget to Pedal Chic!
Visit Pedal Chic in Greenville, SC or online at www.pedalchic.com