Do you own a bike, but only use it on occasion? Do you avoid biking to work or events because you are nervous you might show up too sweaty? Are you not quite confident biking in a city? Or, maybe you don’t own a bike, but have always been interested in getting one and learning the ropes? Help is on the way! Jeanne Eisenhaure, the charismatic Co-founder of Bike Stylish, has you covered! She shares her inspiration behind starting Bike Stylish, tips on how to show up to your destination presentable, what basic commuter starter items to buy, ways to get over your fear of biking in a city, and how to join the Bike Stylish movement!
What is Bike Stylish? What inspired you to start this movement?
“Bike Stylish is dedicated to making biking accessible and even a little bit aspirational; making it sexy, fun and easy more than anything. It started as an instagram project a couple of years ago…I was biking to business meetings wearing professional clothing and biking around Boulder and thinking ‘I’m doing something here’ – I’m showing that you can bike in anything and thought why don’t I just share it on Instagram. So for a little over a month, I started taking a picture of what I genuinely wear everyday while biking that shows you can really wear almost anything. Then my friend Waylon at Elephant Journal asked me to blog about it, which led to answering people’s questions like, ‘How do you bike wearing high heels or a long dress, or bike to a business meeting without getting super sweaty?’. I realized that clothing is a big part of how we feel comfortable and if you can’t get around in the stuff you want to wear then you most likely won’t do it.
“These concerns are a huge barrier for a lot of people, particularly women. If you look around at commuters and biking rates, it’s still heavily male dominated. Yet you have women who are some of the largest bike consumers because they are buying bikes for their entire family, but they aren’t biking as much themselves. In our society there is more pressure on women to maintain an appropriate appearence and that pressure leads a lot of women to abstain from biking. Then my business partner Tanya Dueri (who is a professional photographer, and the person I work with on Bike Stylish and our video production company Jett DIGiTAL) thought it would be great to do a photo shoot – so we took it to the next level. Now we share tips and tricks on our website on how to make biking easy and fun, and take it out of that elite, exclusive arena.”
I don’t call myself a hard-core cyclist. I can definitely relate to being a begginer, but overtime bike commuting has become easier for me, so I want to share with people things that I’ve learned to make it easier and more accessible. Jeanne Eisenhaure
Can you give us some of your tips and tricks on how to Bike Stylish?
- Layers are your friend: Start with wearing whatever makes you comfortable. Layers are always your friend, so start a bike ride with multiple layers and if you feel yourself starting to sweat, stop, take off your top layer and fold it up, put it in your bag and keep going.
- Arrive early: Plan on arriving to your destination a few minutes early, so you have time to cool off.
- Bring a change of clothes: If you sweat a lot, you can always change.
- How to deal with skirts, dresses and high-heels: If you are wearing shoes with a pointier heel, make sure to pedal on the ball of your foot and give yourself plenty of time to start and stop so you don’t slip. If you are wearing a skirt or dress, wear short shorts underneath. Then simply go to the bathroom and remove them when you’ve arrived to your destination. There is also a skirt weight that you can get from this great company called tandem new york. You can clip it to your skirt to hold it down while biking. If you are wearing a maxi dress, simply tie up the extra material.
Above, Jeanne proves to us that you can Bike Stylish even in winter. Get more of her tips on winter biking here.
What are some of your must have bike equipment recommendations?
Basic commuter starter items:
- Helmet: Safety first.
- Bike lights: So you can be seen and see the road.
- Storage bag: I recommend Panniers that you can attach to the back of your seat, or a basket that can either go on the front or back of your bike. This way you can store all your stuff, like your work items, lunch, or gym clothes. I’ve even brought camera gear. I’ve biked to full on video shoots for my work and brought a bunch of gear with me just on my bike. I like these a lot more than backpacks because your back doesn’t get sweaty.
- Bike bell: So people can hear you. If you are sharing a bike path with pedestrians, it’s a nice way to warn people.
- Bike lock
- Fenders: These help prevent your wheels from kicking up dirt and water on you.
- Chain guard: These help protect the change from touching your clothing. You can also roll up your pant leg or tie up your dress or skirt to prevent this from happening as well.
Some people can be intimidated to bike in a city or downtown area. What are some useful tips to help them get over that fear?
- Test out your commute on the weekend: I used to live in Boston, and before I started biking to work I actually took my commute route on the weekend because there are typically less people and the city is going at a slower pace. There is a different energy unlike the frenetic rushed feeling when people are trying to get to work on time. Testing your commute route on the weekend with a friend always makes people feel more comfortable. Ideally, if you have a friend that is a more experienced cyclist, just ask them if they would be willing to go for a weekend bike ride so that you can practice your commute.
- Use Google Maps: Google Maps has a great bike feature. Simply plug in where you need to go. It defaults to the car option, but you can change it to the bike option and it will show you a route that has bike paths on it. It often shows you multiple routes, so you could test out the options and see which ones works best for you. For example, there might be a hill in one option, which you get too sweaty from, so you may want to choose another option that is more flat.
For people who are first-time or inexperienced bikers, what are some inexpensive options to help them get started?
- Bike Rentals: Most bike shops have rental bikes that are not very expensive. Rent for a week and see if you like it.
- Borrow from a friend: When I wanted to try mountain biking, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, so I sent out a post on Facebook asking friends if anyone had a mountain bike I could borrow for a weekend. A friend of mine lent me a bike a few times throughout the summer, which allowed me to try something out before spending a bunch of money.
- Free 99: Free 99 is my favorite price tag. Almost every bike I have has been given to me in someway or found. My Brother found my yellow Mazerati in a dump and we fixed it up. My Scot that I ride now while my Maserati is getting fixed, I got from friends who I did trade for.
- Craigslist: Is another great place to find an inexpensive bike. Just be careful that you aren’t getting a stolen bike.
- Inexpensive Commuter Bikes: There are some great inexpensive commuter bikes on the market. Public Bikes, State Bicycle and Brilliant Bikes have some great options.
“People get too caught up in getting the right gear. I don’t think the gear is that important. If it gets you where you want to go and is safe – that’s all that matters. For starting out commuting – I recommend getting an inexpensive road bike or road bike hybrid.”
What is your Modern Sanctuary?
“I suppose I should say on my bike, but I feel like that is too limiting. Modern Sanctuary to me is being outside – its being in nature in any capacity. Whether it is going for a mountain bike ride, rock climbing. or even going for a walk around the block from my office to clear my head. When I am outside and being active like biking to work, it’s when I get my best ideas, when I get clarity, it’s 100% meditative.”
I think being in nature makes you more empathetic to the world around you, more centered, and a better human being. Jeanne Eisenhaure
How can people get involved?
“Ride your bike and have fun! Whether you share it online or not it doesn’t really matter as long as you are out there biking – that’s how you can join the Bike Stylish movement. Sharing photos of what you are wearing and how you are getting around is really helpful. You share with us on Bikestylish.com or on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. You can use the hashtag #BikeStylish and then we go through those and reshare people who have used our hashtag.”
Happy biking everyone!