Fashionista's Guide to Bike Riding in Style

Today, May 27, New York City is set to become the latest major metropolitan area to offer up a public bike sharing system. Citi Bike, operated by NYC Bike Share, will provide commuters and joyriders alike with thousands of bicycles at hundreds of stations across Manhattan and Brooklyn. But as much as we love getting some fresh air and cardio time in during our daily commute, we can't help but worry that biking to work might put a damper on our fash. Does saying hello to a bike mean bidding adieu to skirts and heels? And helmets--can they ever look not awful?
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Nora Crotty
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Today, May 27, New York City is set to become the latest major metropolitan area to offer up a public bike sharing system. Citi Bike, operated by NYC Bike Share, will provide commuters and joyriders alike with thousands of bicycles at hundreds of stations across Manhattan and Brooklyn. But as much as we love getting some fresh air and cardio time in during our daily commute, we can't help but worry that biking to work might put a damper on our fash. Does saying hello to a bike mean bidding adieu to skirts and heels? And helmets--can they ever look not awful?
Audrey Hepburn being perfect on a bicycle.

Audrey Hepburn being perfect on a bicycle.

Today, May 27, New York City is set to become the latest major metropolitan area to offer up a public bike sharing system. Citi Bike, operated by NYC Bike Share, will provide commuters and joyriders alike with thousands of bicycles at hundreds of stations across Manhattan and Brooklyn.

But as much as we love getting some fresh air and cardio time in during our daily commute, we can't help but worry that biking to work might put a damper on our fash. Does saying hello to a bike mean bidding adieu to skirts and heels? And helmets--can they ever look not awful?

We consulted Emilia Crotty, education and outreach manager at NYC Bike Share (and, full disclosure, my very own cousin!), for some tips on looking more like a Sartorialist snapshot and less like Lance Armstrong on our way to work, happy hour, and beyond. Read on for her advice on cruising the bike lane in style.

Bicycles

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With all the different kinds of bicycles available today, how do you know which one's best for your lifestyle? For everyday commuting, Crotty suggests getting a bike with a low step-through frame and upright riding position. Because of the unrestrictive structure of this frame, "you can wear just about anything on it," she explains. (There's even a Lilly Pulitzer model!)

1. Globe Daily 2 Step Through, $599.99 2. Schwinn Women's Cream 2, $422.99 3. BARCELONA Citizen Bike 20" 3-speed folding cruiser, $399 4. Schwinn Rendezvous 1, $584.99 5. Lilly Pulitzer printed cruiser, $450

Helmets

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Look, we know it's not the cutest accessory but a helmet is an absolute necessity for riding.

Thankfully, as commuter bike riding increases in popularity, so do non-cringeworthy helmet options--so you "won’t look like you’re trying to win an Olympic time trial," says Crotty. Here are some stylish helmets to ensure you stay safe on the streets--and look stylish while doing it.

1. Sawako Furuno black croc, $128 2. nutcase spots, $60 3. Bern Berkeley Summer Bomber helmet with visor, $79.99 4. YAKKAY Smart Two customizable helmet , $142 5. Sawako Furuno floral helmet, $120

Bike Accessories

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When you don't have a backseat (or, hey, the floor of the subway) to toss your handbag onto, you've got to adjust the way you transport your daily necessities. "One lesson I’ve learned is that, when riding, your bike should do all of the heavy lifting," says Crotty. She recommends avoiding backpacks and messenger bags while riding, which can be both sticky and stifling for warm-weather commutes. Instead, opt for a rear rack and pannier to store your stuff when you're on the go.

Oh, and pet baskets? Totally a thing--and totally adorable.

1. Po Campo pannier, $85.93 2. Retrovelo frame bag, $395 3. Carrie bicycle basket, $89 4. Bobbin straw pannier, $95 5. Nantucket bike basket, $130

The Ultimate Riding Outfit

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So what constitutes the ultimate city bike riding outfit? Comfort is of course key--but this is commuting, people! Most people (Richard Simmons excluded) can't show up to work in a tee and spandex. Crotty's ideal riding outfit consists of a longer top (so it doesn't blow up in the back) and leggings. "With leggings, you never have to worry about anything getting caught in the chain or spokes," she says.

Leggings-as-pants not your thing? Crotty is also heavy into Outlier Daily riding pants, which could easily become your favorite non-riding pants, too. And as far shoes are concerned, anything goes (yep--even heels). Though for all you novice peddlers, we'd still recommend a pair of sleek booties. Seriously... look at those.

1. Topshop top, $160 2. Outlier riding pants, $225 3. Lulu Frost necklace, $384 4. Alexander Wang booties, $595

Et Cetera

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As with everything in life, one of best things about biking is the awesome accessories. And while Alexander Wang hasn't put out a rear bike panier just yet, there are some pretty neat things you can get to adorn your bike. Some are a necessity, like the flashing lights and reflective stickers, while some (hello, orange bike bell!) are just ridiculously presh.

1. orange bell poketo, $29 2. Rydesafe nautical reflective lights, $9.99 3. lights llbean, $29.99 4. bike seat cover Etsy, $24 5. Abus Ionus lock, $74.99