Safe Routes Scoop

Bicycle Chic
by Dr. Cheryl Allen-Munley


skirt, although not all styles work. Speaking from experience, long flowing skirts can get caught in the brake pads. Tight skirts can ride up.  Aside from skorts, business shorts, and divided skirts, the best choices are modest form-fitted skirts that end below the knees and won’t fly up if caught by the wind. Long coats work as well as short jackets, but avoid coats that end mid-thigh. It is impossible to dismount if your coat has tethered you to your seat. Shoes are less of a problem than might be imagined.  The only criteria for a decent cycling shoe are that the ball of the foot provides good contact with the pedal, the shoe allows flexion at the ankle, doesn’t fall off and is sufficiently stable when dismounting.  While flip-flops are an obvious poor choice, I have experienced no problem cycling in everything from wedgies to high-heeled sling backs. Loose pants can also be a problem -- without a chain guard, you will need a band to wrap your pants tightly to your ankle. 


In addition to chain guards, other desirable bike accessories include removable baskets for shopping, rear view mirrors for steering through traffic, fenders for preventing road debris from being kicked up onto your clothing, and rear racks with panniers for carrying laptops and briefcases. Heavier wheels with fat tubes and larger diameters are best for spanning potholes. Without question, however, all of these accessories add weight.

Better skip the triathlons and join the Slow Biking movement (http://www.slowbicyclemovement.
)  albeit with a warning -- don’t be shocked by the price of these vintage-styled cycles. If you can’t afford Jennifer Anniston’s  $17,000 Chanel, the $3,500 Hermes, or a $1,300 handmade British Pashley, a local bike shop can often refurbish and paint that 10-speed clunker you have rusting in your garage for a lot less. 


You will also need a helmet that coordinates with your appearance. You don't want to dress like the Great Gatsby from the neck down and Darth Vader from the neck up. Attractive covered helmets are sold by Yakkay, Bandbox and Riding Pretty. President Obama, already criticized for his 2008 biking attire, got even more grief a year later when he failed to wear a helmet while bicycling with his daughters during their summer vacation on Cape Cod.  Whether you are slow bicycling in a Tweed Ride or racing in the Tour de France, going helmetless is never smart.  A dandy cap won’t make the pavement any softer. Riding on congested city streets will increase the likelihood of a crash.  The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reported that, in 2006, 95 percent of bicyclists killed in crashes were not wearing helmets. 


Still don't know what to wear while cycling?  While fashion can be very important, the most imperative thing

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