I bike to work unless it’s raining or I’ve curled my hair. I resisted it for the first nine months I lived in San Francisco. Not because I live on top of a steep hill (really, I just calculated it and it’s 25% grade…for 5 blocks straight). Not because city drivers are crazy, especially during commuting time.
I didn’t want to bike to work because I live for dressing for work. It’s sometimes the best part of my day. And I didn’t want my outfits to be dictated by what can work on a bike. But at a certain point in the fall when my bus route was under construction and I was late to work – like WAY late to work – every day, I realized cutting my commute from 50 minutes to 15 minutes was worth a little venture into athleisure style.
Also, it turns out that most people who work in tech dress like they bike to work anyway. Really, I wore heels once to a large, important tech company because #bossbabelife…and definitely didn’t fit in with the hoodie and sneakers attire.
What I’ve found works (and doesn’t) for bike-to-work wear.
1. No dresses or skirts.
Sometimes I find myself – in the middle of rush hour in downtown SF – biking with this woman who wears straight up sundresses on her beach cruiser, chilling like she doesn’t have a care in the world. Other times I find myself BEING PASSED by women in pencil skirts standing-riding (something I can only assume is learned with a monthly membership to SoulCycle) on share bikes. I envy these women, the sundresses and the pencil skirts, but I will never try it. I very rarely wear dresses or skirts, but when I do I bus or Lyft. Just stick with pants that stay close to your ankles, and you’ll be worry-free.
2. Short, open coats.
I have one amazing long-ish coat (shout out, Betabrand All-Day Coat) that works with my bike, but it makes me nervous every time I stand to stop. When I hop back on, I have to check my butt and fold my coat under it so it doesn’t get caught on the tire. I usually opt for short coats, like this camo cargo jacket. And I keep it open, because, well, the breeze while riding down my 25% grade hill is AWESOME.
3. Sturdy shoes.
While I wear sneakers most often while biking, any sturdy shoes will do. I made the mistake of wearing my favorite suede booties once, but the pedals dug right into the suede on the heels. Not only did that experience ruin my go-to shoe, but it was also a safety hazard. It was almost like having clip-ins. I struggled to put my foot down at traffic stops. So now if I wear booties, I make sure to either ride with my feet forward on the pedals or check the heels for maximum durability.
4. Second-day hair or a top knot…or wet hair.
Second-day hair is perfect for biking because it’s a little stiffer, 100% dry, and easy to fluff up post-helmet. A top knot is another option, BUT wait until you get to work before tying it up. That way all of the helmet hair goes straight up into the bun. Today, I opted for wet hair. Mostly because I suck at being on time and enjoy my couch time pre-shower way too much. Wet hair actually works. I put a little bit of Not Your Mother’s Kinky Moves curl cream (which BTW is only $6) and then when I get to work I fearlessly crunch and twirl my hair until it’s dry. So yes, if you’re wondering, I might be the only fashion blogger to take pictures with wet hair. #nonbasic
5. Always have workout clothes on hand.
Seriously. I keep one set in my desk drawer and another in my purse. One more time: I LIVE ON A VERY STEEP HILL. I’ve only made it up all the way once. And nearly puked after. But biking uphill with a tank and leggings versus a sweater and jeans really does make a huge difference. Plus, you’ll do less laundry.
One more bonus tip.
Spray your face before you go! I was very skeptical of makeup setting spray. It seemed like an excuse for makeup companies to take even more of my money. But I have Sephora VIB in my DNA and a friend who convinced me it was worth it. And you know what? IT TOTALLY IS. When I get to work all sweaty from biking, I just dab my face with a tissue and call it good. No reapplication. No touch-ups. I use Urban Decay All Nighter which has new packaging that it freaking beautiful.
I also low-key love that my bike and helmet match. My helmet is a I also low-key love that my bike and helmet match. My helmet is a Bern Lenox in Satin Black (it’s even gold underneath the visor) and my bike is an Orbea Carpe.
Do you bike to work? Do you want to now? Let me know any other questions you have and I’ll answer them in another post!
Jacket. H&M (similar)
Top. LOFT (exact)
+ Right now LOFT has 30% Off Tops. Offer valid 2/24 12a EST – 2/27 11:59p EST
Jeans. Nordstrom Rack, Joe’s Jeans (exact)
Shoes. Vans (exact)
Necklace. Forever 21 (similar)
Lip. NYX Liquid Suede in Pink Lust (exact)
Helmet. Bern (exact)
Sunglasses. Kate Spade (same style, different color)
Purse. Vera Bradley (similar)