Riding bikes while wearing skirts

Did you hear this crazy story: In late May, a NYC cop allegedly pulled over a Dutch tourist, pictured below, and reprimanded her for riding a bike while wearing a skirt. He said she was distracting cars! At first, she thought he was kidding, but quickly realized he wasn’t when he asked for her ID. How insane is that?! So, as a lighthearted protest, a bunch of girls (and a few guys) came together for a skirt bike ride yesterday evening. My friend Shannen took a few photos…
It was a great night!! Thanks to those who organized, and high five to all ladies who ride in skirts or otherwise! :) xoxo

(Photos by Shannen Norman for Cup of Jo. And you might recognize my friend Caroline, above, from the hair tutorials:) And thanks to HUB Bikes and the New Amsterdam Bike Show for organizing.)

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  5. Great post. It’s 30 degrees C in Sydney today and I had to wear pants because I couldn’t find a dress that wouldn’t blow up on my ride to work!

  6. This is great!
    Though, where are the helmets? Ride safe!

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  9. it’s crazy that the original story might have been a hoax! i’m going to look into that….i could actually see that, since i have written a bike in a skirt about 5,000 times and have never had a problem.

  10. Great Job !!! The pics in which a man wearing skirt type outfit is looking so funny :D

  11. I’ll admit, I’m a bit wary of riding my bike in a skirt. After seeing this post, I might have to brave it one of these days. Way to go, ladies!

  12. Anonymous says...

    I agree.. we should be allowed to wear whatever we want while biking. If it can be worn while walking, why can’t it be worn whiling biking?

    I thought US was a country of freedom? I guess not. It’s getting so controlling lately.

  13. This is an older post on your blog, but I found it by searching for ‘riding bikes in skirts’, which I love. These are fantastic photos. I love seeing women in skirts riding by on their bikes; we’re still warm enough here for that to happen, I’m glad to say. I’m very happy to see the posts by fans who’re glad to see the guys join in, too. The right skirt looks and feels really nice on a ride, so c’mon guys – pull one on and go for it. You can find running skirts that look like baggy shorts to the casual observer. This morning, during my commute a guy was riding a Vespa wearing a tan plaid skirt; it was billowing alongside as he rode. If the material had been heavier, I’d say it was a kilt, but this was a really nice light material. I’m all for it, and the comments here are most encouraging.

  14. Anonymous says...

    In Holland we all ride bikes in skirts and high heels ;) There is nothing more sexy!!!

  15. Anonymous says...

    A lot of calls for helmet wearing. Well intentioned, I’m sure. But no calls for addressing all the far more significant safety issues. Keep that bike maintained! Get training in riding assertively and safely. If you don’t think those two (and many more) are enough, wear a helmet!

    You all look lovely BTW

  16. This is great! Amazing photos!

  17. Fabulous! And everyone has such lovely bikes too

  18. Anonymous says...

    loved the photos.

    seriously, i’m not trying to be offensive, but what’s the obsession with americans and helmets? come on. there’s danger everywhere, even in going out in the sunlight with short sleaves nowadays. the rest of the world isn’t obsessed with helmets and we seem to be doing just fine on our bikes.

    a cousin from america was visiting a few weeks ago and he kept shouting at strangers in the street “please wear your helmets!”. i know its safer, but lets drop the preachyness.

  19. Anonymous says...

    I just stumbled upon this and loved it. And I love your bike – can you share the make/model?

  20. someone help me find the purple bike in the 5th picture (red dress) PLEASE!! I need that bike.

  21. I’ve loved and respected your blog for a long time but I find this post disappointing. Not wearing helmets is bad enough (come ON) but as others have pointed out, there’s strong reason to believe that the woman who claimed she was stopped by a police officer was lying and did it in the name of marketing. As an NYC woman who commutes by bike every day (almost always in a skirt), I feel she wasted everyone’s time, not least the NYPD’s, and put in jeopardy the people who might have true claims against them.

    Alright, so you didn’t do the googling you perhaps should have done before you participated and publicized, not a big deal … but then I got to the bottom of your post and read that this event was sponsored by a bike company. Ugh. I guess the whole event/post was a form of “guerrilla” marketing too. (Did you get anything in return?)

    Maybe it’s me, but I don’t like the way marketing on the internet is headed.

  22. I used to live in Berlin and now I am back to Italy: I always bike with a skirt, at least on Summer!

    Biking is feeling free and wearing a skirt is feeling free= biking with a skirt is one of the best thing you can do!

  23. Wow, that’s crazy! I love that that led her and a few others to arrange this great event, though! These photos are really nice, too!

  24. Love it!

  25. oh i LOVE this post! such a great inspiration

  26. Hey it is a good blog, i think every one should ride bicycle as it also helps in maintaining our health..

  27. i love this :D

  28. Silly New Yorkers. Always protesting something. (For the record, I love love love NYC, and would move there in a heartbeat, and celebrate the right to protest, wear skirts on a bike… whatever floats your boat, it just cracks me up. True or not, the fact we as Americans are SO wrapped up in our rights, we get offended if someone is trying to protect the common decency.)

    Which reminds me of a great book selection, A Return to Modesty. Not really what the title suggests, this book really has far less to do with hemlines or clevage shown, but is sort of a feminist manifesto (or really the exact oppisite of what we think of as feminism) on how all our freedoms haven’t really made us any freer or uninhibited. Wendy Shallit is this really crazy smart girl who grew up Jewish, I believe, and has a million statistics. Fascinating read.

    Sort of a Freakonomics for women.

  29. Women on bikes in skirts look so demure and lovely. No need to compromise an outfit for an eco-friendly mode of transportation!

  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

  31. That’s lovely and everyone looks gorgeous, but I have to wonder why no one is wearing a helmet?? Since your blog is seen by so many people, it’s an important message to send that helmets are crucial to preventing injuries to the head. I don’t want to sound preachy and I apologize if I do, but I work with children who have had traumatic brain injuries and many of them could be prevented if helmets are worn. Please understand how important they are and pass this message on. There’s no way children should bike without helmets. It’s just not worth the risk…

  32. It seems that every time I end up on a bike I’m in a dress and flats so I love that people are standing up for what many others would see as a unnecessary need. Go girls!

  33. This comment has been removed by the author.

  34. this is awesome! i so would have joined in on this if i wasn’t living so far away, haha :)

  35. Joanna, I love that dress you have on. May I ask where you got it? Love the idea of this bike ride. I ride to work in a skirt/dress nearly everyday :)

  36. Adorable, but where are your helmets? Safety first, ladies!

  37. great idea to write about this, i think it’s about time somebody stood up for girls wearing skirts on their bikes :-) i don’t like the way old ladies look at me when i’m cycling past them wearing a skirt, and when it’s really hot i can’t be bothered to wear leggings underneath for the ride…

  38. check out the Sartorialist post today with a photo of a woman riding a bike in a short shirtdress. A lot of the comments talk about how unsuitable and short her dress is! Like, who cares!?

  39. I wore a dress while I was biking yesterday! Are any of the pictures for sale? I love the one of the bike and the blue dress just from the legs down.

  40. shoot, not sure where my last comment went, but I love biking in a skirt. I also run races in them, too.

  41. This is awesome. Not only do I bike in a skirt I run races in skirts. Ran a 5k yesterday and a fellow racer commented on my attire. It made my skirt! Skirts rock!

  42. That cop must have been bored! He just needed someone to boss around :) These pictures are lovely

  43. The extreme amounts of energy required to bike 7 hours a day, everyday. The extreme beauty to behold in each of the mountains, trees, rocks and rivers en route.

  44. Helmets please, Ladies!!

    Oh, and that cop totally needs to get a life! Sheesh. I’m glad these ladies took the time to organize this and I hope the same cop was on patrol to watch them pass by. :-)


  45. so lovely! but no helmets?

  46. what a cute protest, love all the outfits! what type of camera are you using? great shots :)

  47. Joanna- love your dress! Where is it from?

  48. love the photos and the act itself. I always go by bike at work and can’t imagine in summer without dresses or skirts… always long enought, I don’t like go very short

  49. I have always though it is a bit hard but I guess it is a matter of practice.

    B* a la Moda

  50. oh, the bar attached to my bike is for toby’s bike seat! i’ll post about that soon :)

  51. love these photos, and I think all ladies and {man} look fabulous at their dress and bike :).

  52. I’ll admit, I’m a bit wary of riding my bike in a skirt. After seeing this post, I might have to brave it one of these days. Way to go, ladies!

  53. oooh it’s crazy that the original story might have been a hoax! i’m going to look into that….i could actually see that, since i have written a bike in a skirt about 5,000 times and have never had a problem. i can’t imagine a cop pulling someone over, which is why i was so shocked! going to google now :)

  54. thanks for all these comments! about the short skirts — please rest assured that no one was flashing their underwear, ha! everyone’s skirts were long enough (of course!!!!) to ride modestly. it’s very easy to ride a bike in a short skirt and be very modest — your legs don’t really move up very high in a bike and you can easily ride without flashing anyone. i would never ever do that, eeks! :)

  55. elena, that is me, haha! they are steve madden flats that i got ages ago. i looked on their site and it sadly looks like they don’t make them anymore! xo

  56. They look so cute! I’m so nervous my skivvies would show, but maybe I just need to go for it and not care! The comments about helmets sure are passionate… I wear a helmet because I’m a klutz. End of story. xoxo

  57. I’m all for solidarity and women power, but I have to admit…I wouldn’t want anyone to see up my own skirt on a bike…However, it’s great that all these people got together to support this woman. That citation is absolutely ridiculous.

  58. I would love to buy a eletronic bike…but i have to confess that i fear cars around me! =/

    Joanna…I’m from Brazil, and I love your blog!

  59. Tom Fuller says...

    I have a kilt, can we make an annual thing?

  60. I love it when girls have eachother’s backs! Good on ya!

  61. I ride my Vespa with a skirt! Wonderful!

  62. As a Dutch girl living in Amsterdam I am flabbergasted by this story! Recently we had ‘The World Naked Bike Ride’ in town. Not that that’s a nice picture, but skirts blowing in the wind, wow!
    Well done for this great skirt riding night.

  63. this is great.

  64. These photos are fab, and I seriously cannot believe someone got pulled over for that!! That’s crazy! I think cycling in a summer dress looks super cute :)

  65. Joanna You are such a beautiful person! Such a inspiration for life to read your blog! Your family is so beautiful, Toby is so precious! Its so beautiful to see people like you, that know the valor of the real things in life.

    Thanks for giving us a little taste of happiness and for inspiring our lives.

    much love x

    Janini Milet

  66. hi there…
    your blog is amazing…
    if you want we could follow each other..let me know…

  67. Lovely pictures!!! Union Bicycles hope more and more women will ride their bike in future!

  68. Amazing! What a great response!

  69. What a wonderful way to protest!!

    I am a Dutch girl as well and I do ride my bike in shorts, skinnies and (short) skirts, we ride our bikes that often, it’s normal here in The Netherlands. So distracting? Never heard of that!


  70. Anonymous says...

    Um, you guys know that the original story of the girl getting harassed for biking in a skirt is a hoax, right?

  71. i LOVE this! wish i had been there, my husband and i would have worn matching kilts! ;) happy fourth!

  72. The rapist comment was completely uncalled for, anonymous.

  73. Nice outfit! love it ;)

  74. Jo says...

    what a great idea and what a crazy cop. She did look fantastic so can understand the distraction.
    Thanks for an amazing blog xo from another Jo

  75. I was so interested when I saw your post and then incredibly disappointed that you chose to not wear helmets. I thought it was just for posing, then I saw the pictures of you on the street and realized you really thought it was appropriate to promote fashion over safety. Doubly sad considering you’re a parent.
    My husband was in a hit and run accident while riding his bike recently, he was severely injured. I thank god he loves me enough to wear a helmet.
    I really wish you would consider your message more carefully, you had an opportunity to promote safe biking and instead promoted irresponsible idiocy.

  76. the step-through frame, according to dutch frame makers, were first made to accomodate a priest’s robes, called priesterrijwiel, since women weren’t originally considered the target market.

    otherwise, there were many more swell-looking men–and women–who attended this event. ny press and the hub will most likely post a more complete selection of shots.

  77. Anonymous says...

    Love this!! But why no helmets?

  78. Great post! And some super outfits.

  79. Joanna, are those brown shoes from Steve Madden? I have the same ones and wear them instead of sandals in the summer. I ride my bike in dresses almost everyday. Except no wrap dresses or you’ll flash everyone when the wind blows!

  80. So funny! My friends and I used to navigate this issue in college all the time. I don’t remember any of us being pulled over by a campus cop, though. Ha.

  81. Oh my God, we dutch girls all ride bikes in skirts! LOL! Great blogpost :-)

  82. haha what an old fashioned cop!
    being dutch I am so proud the girl was dutch and to see this bike right ;) My favorite post of the week!

  83. You go girls! This should be a yearly event!

  84. I recently began riding a bike in Paris and I think MOST women ride in skirts! (Perhaps an exaggeration, but still!). Hooray for these women for standing up for a rather simple right. Funny how in the past women weren’t allowed to wear pants…. oh how things change!

  85. Anonymous says...

    Stupid exhibitionist bitches. Hope you will find your own rapist:)

  86. I ride my bike everywhere in Portland, often in a dress or skirt. Great post!

  87. so cute!!!!

  88. Stop obsessing about helmets! Bicycling is safe and healthy! Do you obsess over overweight people? And do you tell them they better loose that weight or else! In the USA a third of adults are obese & 17% of children are obese. Bicycling would be an excellent form of exercise for them. Even without a helmet! 112,000 people in the USA die annually from factors relating to obesity. By comparison under 700 people in the USA die annually from riding bicycles. How about children not wearing sunglasses? Do you worry about people not wearing sunblock. The sun’s rays cause deadly damage to our eyes & skin. Especially to children. Do you continually chastise smokers? 435,000 people in the US die each year from smoking tobacco.
    After wearing a helmet for 20 years, I stopped after a trip to Amsterdam. This obsession with helmets is like a religion! I put my faith in my good riding skills.

  89. I also want to note that Jasmijn, the accused skirt distractor, did not mention her relationship with any company that she works for when she addressed us and/or when she and I spoke casually before/during and after the event.

    I think it’s a coincidence that she’s a sex kitten and a marketer. ;) I like her!