Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The gray areas of bike commuting

I love wool at 7000 ft!
These days when I think of gray areas I'm talking about shades of gray, and when I'm talking about shades of gray I'm talking about my winter wardrobe.  Almost everything these days is black or grey.  Sometimes, if I feel crazy I throw in brown or tan.  Several months back I vowed I would work on clearing out the closet(s) and simplify my life and my dress.  Why do I need so many clothes that I don't wear or won't wear until I loose five pounds?  Bob pointed out that if we moved back to 800 feet tomorrow and I was running 8 miles every day, all that stuff I wore in Louisville would be out of style by now.  The truth hurts.

Nubby, wool, pencil skirt from JCrew final sale.  Very warm.  Has little stretch.
So anyway, I donated all the things I don't/won't wear any more and got a few staples to fill in the blanks with the pieces I always go back to.

Stuff my Inner French Girl carries in her basket.  The Coach bag was on $50 at Poor Little Rich Girl in Phoenix.
One of my New Years resolutions was also fashion related.  I decided to stop trying to dress like a mountain girl and just go with the real me.  Hiking trails are nice on vacation or on the weekend but I really prefer sidewalks lined with wine bars, coffee shops and art galleries void of southwestern themed art.  This feels like a terrible admission to make.  I'm supposed to really love the great outdoors and feel really lucky to be living the dream (somebody's dream, I guess) of living in the southwest far, far away from the hustle and the bustle of the "City", but the truth is the quiet frightens me.  Sirens, the sound of bus doors opening and closing and alley solid waste collection at 4 a.m. remind me that other people are nearby.  So anyway, I'm dressing like me again.  I look terribly out of place most of the time but my Inner French Girl much happier.

These tall leather and suede boots are actually from Aerosoles!  Laugh if you want to but they are cute and comfy and were on sale on Zappos.

It is no more difficult to pedal a bike dressed like a urban girl than it is to pedal dressed like a mountain girl, by the way.  Since I am almost consistently in high heels again, I raised my bike seat just a little - when ballet flat season arrives in a few months, I lower it again.


Ted said...

May I ask a question that will expose my ignorance?

Why do ballet flats and high heels matter vis-a-vis seat height?

I would think that, if you are pedaling with your foot positioned properly on the pedal, with the "ball of your foot, also called the metatarsal... directly over the pivot arm of the pedal," then your height would not be affected. I mean, clearly you don't pedal with your heels on the pedals. Oh my god. Do you?

She Rides a Bike said...

Ted, you oaf! If you understood anything about female anatomy, you would know that high-heels replicate the form of the feminine foot during organism! This is the entire reason why women in pornography wear high-heels. This is why men love seeing women in high heels.

Now, to the question of how ballet flats and high heels affect seat height. Ballet flats position the foot and entire leg in a natural position (unless of course, one is dancing The Black Swan). High heels actually extend the entire leg. If the high-heels have a thicker sole, which many now do in order to provide a more comfortable bed for the foot to rest in while unnaturally positioned, the effect is even greater. I invite you to borrow a pair of your wife's flats and high heels and experience the difference for yourself. Without raising the seat slightly, you should expect to find your knee bending just a bit too uncomfortably when your leg is at the most extended position when pedaling.

Thanks for reading. The political banter on Commute by Bike has been especially fun the last few days.

Jimio said...

You should do a Bicycle Fashion Show! Attire for all 4 Seasons and for different types of commuting - Work,Casual, Dressy and Ruff Sloppy Muddy Mountain Bike Outerwear :-]. Or a Fashion show every 3 months I suppose. That would be Groovy -Jimio

She Rides a Bike said...

Locally, someone does a Bicycle Fashion Show but STRANGELY I've never been asked to participate! I suppose I'll just have to do it all via blog, Jimio. I'd have to find someone to model all the ruff, sloppy, muddy mountain bike outerwear. Some women really know how to carry it off, usually the tall, skinny Nordic types. Spark plugs like me have to stay pulled together.

Rachel said...

I do the same thing with winter clothes - they're all grey, black or brown.

I use a scarf for color, or a hat or a pin.

Might be boring, but when I was in Paris, I fit right in, so I've got that going for me :)

Ted Johnson said...

Oh my.

I do know about the politics and the iconography of the high heel. I'm more of the view that they are oppressive to women -- and not of the view that I should try them myself to see how challenging they are.

I don't like neckties either.

But I hadn't given any thought to the physics of the high heel. Can't bend your foot flat while wearing them -- not even on a bike pedal!

It's like a burqa for your feet!

She Rides a Bike said...

Indeed Ted! You might be unaware that men in the French court were the first to wear high heels. You really should try it.

The burqa is meant to cover up; high heels are vive la difference!

Rachel, I take comfort in the fact that I am not in Paris but pretending that I am.

Ted Johnson said...

One for revealing, one for concealing -- both for objectifying and molding women to the proprietary desires of a patriarchal culture...

My feminist ranting skills aren't what they used to be.

But I did learn something today. At least your not putting your heels on the pedals.

Ted Johnson said...'re...

Dan said...

Looking very spiffy. Keep raising the bar for all of us (of both genders).

I did ride to work once in a suit last year.

Dan On Bike

Courtnee said...

I like your boots. Just hold on to the receipt, girl! I've had 2 pair of Aerosoles disintegrate on my feet. The soles of a pair of sandals just disappeared on me as I was wearing them leaving nothing behind, but black dust on the sidewalk. Luckily, I was close to home. I have a pair of cute, comfy granny boots that are falling apart from the inside out. I haven't had the heart to part with them yet because they were so nice for work, but we haven't really had a winter in North Georgia anyway and now it's almost over so I might as well toss 'em. I have one pair of Aerosoles left--a nylon tall boot lined with Thinsulate. I didn't wear them this winter; I hope they don't fall apart on me if I need them next winter.

DAN said...

It is funny that I know, but the beret that you are wearing is warm. The one that I wore was part of a uniform.

She Rides a Bike said...

Dan, I had a military style bere that has the little flattened area on the side.. Wool very nice but as I've never served it seemed disrespectful for me to wear it.

DAN said...

You wore it well.

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