Female cyclists rock at finding ways to bike in comfort and style. For the most part, bicycling-specific products aren’t even necessary. One OTM reader suggested cutting off the feet of tall socks to make cozy legwarmers. Another just throws standard-issue leggings under everything for warmth and coverage. Our favorite suggestion was bringing back the fanny pack to transport essentials like bike tools, phone, and chapstick. “Riding while female” isn’t that different from cycling as a guy — you don’t need much more than bright lights and a snug helmet to reach your destination safely on a bike. Most products work well for riders of either gender, like a cozy merino wool balaclava. For the holdouts, those issues that don’t have an easy DIY fix, we’ve found some woman-specific products that solve the problem creatively.
It takes a special kind of human to feel sexy (or even just not like a total weirdo) in padded bike shorts. If that’s you, awesome. If that’s not you, Pedal Panties have your back[side]. These boy-cut undies look no different from regular skivvies, yet their moisture-wicking material and thin padding mean you can ride to work in comfort and still feel fresh when you get where you’re going. $36. Find a retailer at pedalpanties.com or get them at amazon.com.
Levi’s Commuter Line
Nobody will even know you’re in your cycling gear in the Levi’s commuter line, which features subtle, practical, bike-friendly features. The skinny jean rocks a high-cut back, stretch, reinforcement in the spots where body meets bike and—get this — reflective cuff seams. The pockets are deep enough to actually hold stuff. Crazy, right? The line also includes stretchy, moisture-wicking tanks and button-ups that don’t look like athletic wear, and equally urban chic water-repellent jackets with reflective details, vents, and dropped rear hems. $40-$250 at levi.com.
Women-specific saddles come standard with most lady bikes, but if you still don’t feel comfortable on long rides, your seat may be to blame. Options include ultra-cushy tour seats, sleeker race bike styles, and everything in between. $40-$200 at terrybicycles.com.
Smartwool Arm Warmers
Nobody wants to drag a pile of riding gear to the office, then to a coffee date or night out before riding home. In mild weather just a bit too chilly for a bare-armed ride, arm warmers do the trick — and roll up small enough to tuck into a bag for the rest of the day. $25 at smartwool.com.
Specialized Aspire Ponytail-Friendly Helmet
Ladies don’t always wear ponytails, but when they do, it’s kind of awkward with the helmet situation. If preserving your ‘do gets in the way of your decision to ride, consider a ponytail-friendly helmet. Specialized offers a sporty, affordable version, but a quick online search offers a variety of styles. $43-$46 at specialized.com.
Terry Bicycling Skort
The skort is back in fashion — or at least, you’re welcome to pretend it is long enough to buy one. We support you wearing whatever you like while you ride, and bicycling certainly doesn’t come with a dress code. But if you like to wear short skirts and feel concerned about revealing a bit too much, it’s worth giving the skort a second look. $89 at terrybicycles.com. //