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On Being a Female Biker in Bushwick: Skirt

It hasn’t been such a long time since bicycle has upgraded from a humble mean of transportation used primarily by strangely smelling bachelors, to highly fashionable and all-Brooklyn-wide desired accessory

It hasn’t been such a long time since bicycle has upgraded from a humble mean of transportation used primarily by strangely smelling bachelors, to highly fashionable and all-Brooklyn-wide desired accessory.  Actually, this simple 2-wheeled device, which has been used to keep ADD kids manageable since 1910,  has become a cult prop and a definition sign of a dude infamously referred to as a hipster alongside with tattoos, longboards, sockless boat shoes, and PRB breath.  Well, regardless of your expertise in PBR breath, if you’re a Bushwick girl, you know you need a bike just like your tattooed male hipster friend needs one, because no one can deny that fashion has never chosen a cooler item than a bike to impose on us!

But just before you throw away your metro card for good, let’s talk about fashion concerns that every female biker has to deal with. Let’s say… a skirt. If you like wearing skirts and dresses, you probably know by now that it’s not particularly easy to bike in these outfits…

Just like me the other day biking from Bushwick to Williamsburg….

My bike is goes swiiiiish down the Manhattan Ave bike lane at a speed very close to the speed of light. The bicycle mode is the only possible mode of existence on a hot summer Brooklyn day like today, because a gentle breeze is stroking my hair, and endorphins are running in my veins. A sweet song on my lips, when oh, I pass over some Williamsburg aloof who worships the only holy trinity: his fixie, a messenger bag, and a Brooklyn cycling cap.  “Byee, dude!”

The second I start to think about maybe slowing down a little, the lights on the BQE turn green, and the universe is giving me a huge high five! I mean, nothing can go wrong, right?

Except that about 2 seconds later, my skirt takes off. It takes off and is flying like an airplane!! It’s flying that high so Marylin Monroe’s legendary blowing skirt looks like a fat chicken attempting to fly in comparison with an eagle. Thanks to my skirt, or should I say, thanks to the sudden lack of it, a couple of truck drivers immediately start to believe that the world is a better place... But I look around in fear, because the story about a woman who was threatened to be ticketed by a cop because she was biking in a skirt pops up in my mind right away…  “Pheww….” Luckily, there are no cops around.

There is a happy ending to The Flying Skirt on BQE story, but I learned a lesson: To be able to select proper clothing and accessories when riding a bike (which is always), I need higher education in math, textile materials, and meteorology. How otherwise would I be able to calculate the optimal speed to ride a bike without my skirt blowing?  Well, I don’t have a degree in math, but luckily I dated a mathematician, which gave me enough background to create this formula for calculation of the optimal speed, i.e. the speed, at which your skirt stays in place and doesn’t fly around…

Where V is the optimal speed. R is the distance you want to bike, and T is the length of your skirt.

Simple right?!

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