02 October 2009

Diamond Frame in a Mini Skirt

Last week, leaving work, I was stopped at a red light when a voice issuing from a car behind me politely asked "Excuse me!". I turned and looked and the man in the passenger seat asked "Is that a skirt you're wearing?"

I responded in the affirmative. "On a man's bike?"

Yes, again. "Wow!" he said, "I'm very impressed!"

I hadn't thought much of it before then. Diamond frames are stronger and are made large enough for this tall girl, so that's simply what I ride - in a non-stretch mini skirt or whatever I happen to be wearing. Yes, I have to make some concessions while mounting and dismounting and so here they are:

How to ride a diamond frame in a non-stretch mini-skirt
while carrying lots of groceries:

triangle frame man's bike ridden in a skirt
If at all possible, try to mount and dismount to a curb, a parking block, or any other slightly elevated surface. This permits the most elegant approach as you pass more easily over the top bar and then step down to ride off.

triangle frame man's bike ridden in a skirtIf you happen to be somewhere without an elevated surface (and we want to be able to go anywhere ladies!) then all you have to do is lean your bike over sufficiently to get your leg over. There's a bit of a shuffle to get the bike fully vertical, and then you're on your way!

No big deal.


Dottie said...

"Man's bike" ? Goodness, this is not 1950.

Anyway, you are impressive! I've wondered about the most graceful way to mount a diamond frame in a skirt, but never thought of standing on a curb or leaning the bike over. Good stuff!

Beany said...

Excellent tips! I always lean my bike over as I found that to be the easiest way to mount a bike with a skirt.

Caroline said...

Yay! Nice advice. I've always preferred the lean: with an arm out and the wrist just so I always thought it seemed dainty and somehow lady-like. With cargo, though, I can see the struggle and the desire for a tall curb or short ladder.

Bikejuju said...

"No big deal." I love it!

Pedalfeet said...

Why do women have a big issue with flashing their knickers when on a bike? They're just knickers! Most of us wear a bikini without spending hours trying to work out how to swim breaststroke without flashing our bits.

Charlotte said...

Pedalfeet, If you knew me you'd know I don't have a problem with the knicker flash, however it might be an issue to advocate it for others on a blog!
In this case it was a range of motion issue, the skirt precludes any kind of knicker-flashing, or leg-throwing. But it's cute and I like it so I wear it.

Cosmo said...

Awesome post. I'm not very likely to need to ride a diamond frame, but I really appreciate the photos of how it can be managed. I haven't even figured out how to mount a diamond frame bike in jeans.

Filigree said...

Nice! - I have to admit that "No big deal" is not what comes to mind when I look at the photos of you mounting and dismounting that bicycle. Flashing my bloomers is not what worries me when attempting these maneuvers; I am more concerned about getting tangled in the bike and everything just toppling over. I think that I just have an exceptionally poor sense of balance though.

I've linked to your photo tutorial in my "Ladies and Diamond Frames" post. Thanks for posting this!

RidingPretty said...

How graceful and fluid your movements look in that top photo, so ballerina like!

I've taken so many photos of girls in skirts riding diamond frames (especially riding fixies) that I've lost count, so I completely agree it is 'no big deal' based on the sheer numbers of girls I see doing it. You however elevate the concept and practice of the mount/dismount to a graceful art!

SK said...

this is wonderful! you are so cute btw!! thanks for the tips. i'm bummed that i can't ride my bike outside right now. i got sick 3 days after i got it and i'm still recovering.

dc said...

funny, i had a similar experience yesterday on my way home from work. i was at the harvard/washington/huntington intersection and i got a few comments about my dress/turquoise tights/diamond frame situation. i guess i don't really think about it much anymore. i like skirts and i ride a bike. if you were driving or riding along the jway yesterday at about 5:15 you most likely saw my knickers. oh well!

lagatta à montréal said...

When I was young one of my bicycles was a diamond frame; a CCM Targa. Those old things are still around. But I usually wore jeans.
Think I must have worn jeans skirts too though. Couldn't possibly mount one now (arthritis) and do try to find curbs, though I can jump onto my mixte if I have to brake on the roadbed.

I've never noticed any frame strength or resilience problem with a mixte. The very low-entry frame you showed not long ago does seem problematic: I'd be afraid of speed bumps and bits of old snow and ice in the wintertime.

I usually wear a skirt - and leggings, if it is cool, though I've past the age for true minis. Most are about knee length.

Lots of women taller than you ride so-called "women's" frame bicycles in Netherlands and Denmark, but guess there is a market for them there.

PJDodge said...

Actually, this is good advice for us blokes who are considering wearing a kilt whilst riding. Although they're a bit more flexible than a mini-skirt, traditionally there's no knickers underneath to flash either.

BTW, I think I saw you and your husband before the men's race at Government Center last weekend. I was going to say hello, but by the time I was finished talking to one of the vendors, I lost sight of you.


P.S. I may have a few pictures for your blog soon.

Felicity said...

Great post!

I have a diamond frame too. When I wear a skirt, I do a very un-ladylike maneuver that involves reaching between my legs, grabbing the back of my skirt, and pulling it between my knees before getting on. The biggest problem with that is that, when I'm wearing a knee length skirt, sometimes it gets caught on the front of my bike seat as I'm getting off!

Roadrider said...

Beautiful photo (and nice toe-point)!

Charlotte said...

Roadrideder - you sussed out my ballet training! :)

dc said...

any tips for riding in a pencil skirt?
so far when i wear one of the few pencil skirts i made recently i ride my mixte and hike the skirt up.

Charlotte said...

dc, pencil skirts (and hobble skirts!) are tough. I think you have to hike them up if you're not on a very easy step-through.

Eva said...

@dc -- I ride in pencil skirts sometimes. Charlotte is right, the best way is to hike them up slightly. Most of mine have a bit of stretch to them which aids in dis/mounting, but I almost always try to find a curb on which to do it because I tend to topple if there's anything heavy on my bike (after commuting by bicycle for several years, I still find my lack of balance here a bit stunning)..