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The ones who didn’t wear bloomers, that is, and who clung tenaciously to skirt wearing. How, in an era when it was considered racy to show anything above your ankle, did they manage to ride bikes in skirts without showing everything up to mid-thigh?

I ask this question because I was wearing a skirt today that wouldn’t have raised a comment in 1910 and I could not keep that goddamn thing below my knees. This skirt is an ankle-length model, six flared panels of heavyweight cotton velveteen, buttoned from the raised waist to within 6″ of the hem. It isn’t a light, flippy little thing that would go all Marilyn Monroe with the slightest breeze, but the combination of the headwind caused by riding and the up-down motion of pedaling legs skootched it up to mid-thigh over and over and over again.

It’s not that big of a deal, in all reality, because I’m not overburdened with modesty, plus I typically wear cycling shorts under my skirts (and heavy tights now that it’s getting cooler out). Nobody would see anything unauthorized anyhow. I just don’t see how ladies managed in an era when modesty was much stricter, knowing the physics of cycling and the habits of skirts. If I was a lady cyclist 100 years ago, I’d be ALL about the Bloomer action.

My bloomer suit (and Schwinn Suburban)

One Response to “I'm not quite sure how the Victorian (& Edwardian) lady cyclists managed”

  1. Robin says:

    I wear skirts a lot more since I commute now everyday. It’s much more comfortable for me but I always wear either leggins or cycling pants under the skirt this works our pretty well because it’s pretty cold here in Portland now.

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