Thursday, August 13, 2009

Cycling 40 Miles In Heels? No problem!

Most people are shocked and amazed when they see me riding a bike in high heels. This was even more so when I went on a 40 mile ride with a group of 50+ people this weekend. 75% of which were dressed in spandex, many in full "kit", a bunch on expensive bikes and some more on very expensive carbon fiber bikes.

I showed up in a v-neck white t-shirt, navy blue shorts, 3" slip-on heels and a 25 year old, 34+ lbs, 3-speed, vintage Schwinn Collegiate with a Brooks B17 saddle.

I proceeded to drop every single one of the cyclists on the ride. Yes. Even the ones in full kit with carbon fiber bikes. The looks on their faces was priceless because minutes earlier I was receiving very snotty and vaguely hostile looks (and comments), many from the women. Most of the men were just amused and a bit bewildered, trying to figure out whether I was actually riding with them or just lost like the gentleman pictured below in the blue kit and new $3,000 full carbon bike!

I dislike "bike-elitist-wannabes". You know, the guys, and some girls, that think that having an expensive bike makes them "better" than someone with a less expensive bike or have the false assumption that having an expensive bike will somehow make them a better, faster, stronger cyclist. I laugh:

It's not the bike that makes the cyclist. It's the cyclist that makes the bike!

I chuckle to myself and say, "You go ahead and keep dropping $$$ on your carbon rig and I'll keep dropping your ass, in HEELS, on a old 3-speed Schwinn". Gotta love bike snobs getting owned by a chick in heels on a vintage bike. LOL! ;)

At the end of the ride we stopped at a Taco stand and had some great food. I had chorizo, fish and tofu tacos. The tofu and chorizo tacos were my favorite.

It was great seeing all those bikes jumbled together as we lined up and scrambled to get some food. Did I mention how much I love bikes, all kinds, and cycling? :)

After finishing my taco, I headed to the beach. Even though it had been overcast, very humid and threatening to rain all day it was still a great ride and a nice day to sit out on the beach just watching the waves and the seagulls...

I rode 40 miles in heels on a hot, humid day with ease. Never judge a book by its cover...


  1. ROCKIT!! shoot me a line if you get on twitter. i'd love to see you there. @newamsterdamize

  2. seem to have created a real "tempest in a teapot" over at the snob-site, luv & while i give ya props (what's not to love about chicks ridin' n' stylin' ???), i'd maybe suggest for yer own piece of mind, insomuch as you'll get a lot less shit from a lot fewer folks, that you keep a good perspective on "the scene"... ARE out on the bike both doing it & digging it & nothing could be cooler but the reality is that you were on a "ride"...while there mighta been a bit of dicing involved, rides are about happened to get yer enjoyment from leading the group & being able to say "i did it my way" (thank you, mr sinatra) & on that particular ride, it worked for

    ...but while yer right in saying "It's not the bike that makes the cyclist. It's the cyclist that makes the bike!" (hey, i know a guy who once rode a stock schwinn 'varsity' from michigan to california wearing 501's), truth is the right equipment can make it easier to fully utilize yer strengths...

    ...check out an actual race in the nyc area sometime & despite the fact that there WILL be a lotta guys w/ a lotta serious attitude, you'll get an idea of the difference between a ride & really goin' fast...

    ...anyway, babe, don't stop enjoying it, just sayin' keep some perspective on it...

  3. @ Bikesgonewild: It was indeed a ride. Not a race. Never, ever, anywhere did I say it was a race. BUT it was a ride in which we were told to KEEP PACE and was NOT for beginners.

    As I stated clearly in my blog post, there were some rude, snide comments and looks. Those folks got to eat humble pie.

    The lesson? Don't judge a book by its shoes. :)

  4. That's it! I'm only riding in heels from now on.

  5. The Louis Vuiton trunk bag is fabulous. Topeak, eat your heart out!

  6. I've always thought that one of the reasons why riding bikes sort of disappeared for a long time was the whole 'you're not riding the right bike/wearing the right stuff' thing. I realize I'm showing my age here, but when I was a kid, anyone could ride their bike wearing anything they wanted (well, within reason but even then, my sister and I used to come back from the town pool in our bathing suits with our towels slung around our necks. Everyone who rides a bike is not a) a guy b) in the tour de wherever and c)trying to impress. I usuall commute to work in a baggy set of knickers I made and a tee shirt. There is part of me, however, that is just itching to do the 7 miles in a pair of heels and a pretty skirt(but I might wuss out and make it a pretty pair of culottes instead).

  7. @ Brendan61: Thank you. I have been trying to find a way to attach the bag to my rear rack without bungees but haven't found a way yet. If you can think of any, please let me know. :)

    @ Helene: Thank you for your comments. I agree with you 100%. In the past, it was never a "requirement" to wear spandex just to ride your bike. No ma'am. You just rode in whatever you had on and you had no problem riding in it.

    Today, in the US, it seems that if you're not in spandex or a reflective vest or a baggy t-shirt and cut-off knickers, that people think it's a problem. Not so! Wear whatever you like that you feel comfortable in. Everywhere else around the world they are doing it, and doing it in style. We can too!

    I believe the whole backwards mentality that you have to dress up like a spandex superhero to ride your bike down the road to get a gallon of milk has kept a good deal of people in the United States from adopting cycling as a daily form of transportation and exercise.

    Yes, there are other obstacles to people adopting cycling as a daily form of transport such as, lack of biking infrastructure or bike friendly roads, lack of secure bike parking, fear of theft, long distances to commute, etc. But I find when I ask people in NYC why they don't cycle just 2 miles round trip instead of taking their car or the subway one of the first things they say is "I can't cycle in nice clothes" and "I don't want to dress up like Lance" and "If I wore nice clothes, I'd ruin them with sweat". This is not the case.

    All of us have been cycling in "normal" non-spandex clothes all of our cycling lives until we bought into the lie that you HAVE to dress up in a jersey and bike shorts to ride a bike well. Sure, if you are doing the Tour de France or a bike race or a triathlon or similar, then yes, some of that gear helps but most of the people I see in head to toe spandex are not even training for any of the above.

    Please don't get me wrong: If spandex is the most comfortable thing for you on your rides continue wearing it, by all means, BUT realize that it's not necessary for everyone else to ride their bikes.

    To each his/her own. :)

    As I've said before: Ride what you like. Ride IN what you like.

    No one dictates what you put on your back or feet except YOU.

    Enjoy your rides and enjoy it in style. :)

  8. I'm from the states, but currently living in Japan. What astounds me here is not just the number of people who are out there riding bikes but how super stylish they can be while doing so. Recently, a family member came to visit me and we went on quite the shopping spree together. After I'd just purchased a charming pair of lavender, suede high heels she looked at me and said, "Well, it's just too bad you can't ride your bike in them." I had to laugh. To me cycling is the ideal time to wear some beautiful, high-heeled shoes. Less wear on the shoes and a lot less wear on my feet!

  9. If I had legs that fine I'd wear heels too. I have learned long ago never to judge the ability of fellow riders. I have been dropped like a sack of dirt from some of the most un-suspecting riders.

  10. Cycle Chic all the way! We are a cycling girl gang just starting out in Sydney, Australia and your blog is so inspiring to us! This looks like a great day - and you look so sassy on your beautiful bike! We'll be sure to keep following your adventures. x

  11. Just found a link to your blog on LA Cycle Chic.

    I laughed out loud when I read this post. I could imagine the jaw dropping moments when you passed those cyclists. It is so true how some cyclists think that having a very expensive bike and sports gear somehow makes you stronger and faster. Or that wearing your own clothes means you can’t cycle. I would often get surprised looks as I passed cyclists in the city (London) just wearing ordinary clothes and heels (or boots) on a Brompton folding bike on my way to work.

    You were wearing the best outfit from what I can see and the heels rocked!

    I am sorry your camera is broken, hope you get back to blogging soon.


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