Friday, June 5, 2020

Spit-Spot Waterproof Clothing for a Lady Cyclist

Practical Solutions for Active Women who want to be Modest and Stylish

When I moved to the city, a bicycle became my primary means of transport in all weathers.

Modesty Challenge

How to stay dry, covered, safe, and comfortable while cycling, taking into special consideration rain from above, splashing from below, and wind from any and all directions.

Functional Challenge

The bicycle that started me on my adventures was 22-year-old Plum, a step-through Town&Country mountain bike adapted for urban living. She did not have the safety features of chain guard and rear wheel cover that vintage ladies bikes are often equipped with, allowing modest ladies to cycle safely in long skirts.

I put great effort into finding a clothing or equipment adaption that would allow Plum to accomodate the long hems in my wardrobe, but I was unsuccessful. Even stovepipe jeans (worn under a tunic) were a hazard without ankle clips.

My everyday garb became knee-length dresses with ankle-hugging trousers underneath and an acceptance that, while riding, very often the dress would be rumpled up well above my knees.

That is, until I welcomed a new steed into the stable. Angel is a modern urban cruiser. She doesn't have a vintage chain guard and rear wheel cover, not even spray guards on her wheels, but the design is sufficiently protective to the rider that I can re-explore options in ladylike cycle wear.

My first experiment was with rainwear.

Action Challenge

It's raining.
I have to go out on the bike.
How can I stay dry?


1) Parka in a Pkt by Denim & Co, a thrift-shop treasure found at SaveMart for NZ$10 -- light, portable, windproof, surprisingly waterproof.

2) BoutiqueNarelle rain skirt made from PUL waterproof fabric (sourced from a DIY nappy company). Designed to cover ankle-length skirts, its Velcro fastener tabs also make it easy to wear hitched up shorter.

The trial was conducted on a frigid wintery day (forecast high of 10°C). I wore the above waterproof layers over top of a thick knit tunic and tee shirt, fleece jacket, heavy denier stretch jeans, two pairs of socks, and leather ankle boots. When I reached my destination, I was able to shed the parka and skirt to drip at the door and take care of my errand in a dry and comfortable state.

It was a calm, almost windless day, so the skirt remained covering my knees for most of the journey. I think I flipped it back down twice.

My basket cover is made from PUL, the same fabric as the skirt. More commonly used for reusable baby nappies (diapers), I've found it keeps liquid out equally well as keeping liquid in.

I hope you've found something fabulous and inspiring here today.

Fiat lux!

No comments: