A month ago my husband and I got a lovely treat:
A tandem bike!
My husband is a bike obsessive who commutes by bike daily and owns 4 bicycles so when he heard that Rivendell bicycle works was making a limited release of tandem bikes he signed us up for one. We had to wait a year and a half for our bike, but finally this June it arrived. We traveled by ferry
to pick it up at a Brooklyn bike shop where it was being assembled.
Right away I knew it was worth the wait. This bike is just so cool!
I don’t bike nearly as much as my husband, but I do ride 15 min to and from the train every day and we often bike together on weekends. I never bother with “biking” clothes and regularly bike in skirts and dresses. In fact one of my favorite things about biking is I can do so easily in high heels, not so with walking! My regular bike has a chain guard to prevent grease from getting on my clothes and a fabric skirt guard to prevent billowy 50’s style circle skirts from getting stuck in the spokes.
Unfortunately, the tandem bike with its extra parts and gears has none of that, and while my husband and I are still trying to figure out ways to make it work with my entire 1950’s wardrobe an early dress disaster, the dress did not survive, proved that I’ll have to be careful with my tandem bike fashion choices. I love the bike so much I want to ride it as much as possible and I’m having fun coming out with 1950’s appropriate outfits, and hair, for biking. Since I prefer casual vintage style this isn’t too much of a sacrifice.
Since we haven’t yet been able to fit a skirt guard on the bike, pants are definitely the best choice. Fortunately, one of my favorite summer clothing items are my Freddie’s of Pinewood clam diggers. I absolutely adore these jeans. They are the perfect length for a short girl like me and have a great relaxed fit. I loath tight, clingy clothes, so unflattering and uncomfortable in my opinion. Sadly many of the vintage repro companies cater to the pin-up market and produce skin tight jeans and pants that are nothing like the ones ordinary women wore in the 50’s. Thankfully, Freddies don’t have this problem. Their jeans are 100% authentic to the mid century look.
I’ve worn my jeans with a blue plaid blouse from Nudee Dudee, technically more of a 1940’s style but I think it works with 50’s looks as well, and a pink 1950’s coolie hat from my beloved Briony Lodge Vintage (I wrote about that wonderful shop in this post). I don’t wear hat’s on the bike but we do have baskets on all of our bikes and I regularly carry hats in them to when I get off, it’s a good way to hide bike mussed hair (more on that problem later.)
The hat is so amazing I had to show a close up, you can see here my hair is soaked from a bike ride in the pouring rain.
I’ve also worn the pant’s with another Nudee Dudee top in the same style but a smaller size and a brighter primary plaid.
Another 1950’s clothing option that works well with the tandem bike are slim fit pants. I have a pair of 1950’s style pink pants from Piplotex that have a bit of a slimmer fit then I usually wear, but that are great for biking. The wrap top is from Piplotex too, it is made of authentic 1950’s novelty print fabric.
Finally I have a pair of late 1940’s or early 50’s style short overalls from Swell Dame. They are perfect for biking and have a nice stretchy fit. I wore them on a bike ride to the vintage style Soda Fountain, Brooklyn Farmacy.
(I have to take a minute and show off the bag I have here. It is a Miss Ponytail clutch bag from the late 50’s or early 60’s with a Date Timer design. The dial moves and you can set it to represent your current romantic feelings. I love Miss Ponytail.)
More so then clothing for me, vintage style hair is definitely a big issue with biking. I have very poor hair styling skills to begin with, but occasionally I can get a decent wet set using foam rollers.
To protect my hair on these days I wrap it in a chiffon scarf, sorry no picture of that, sadly this only works for short bike rides like my ride to the train, and not all of the time even then.
If I know I’m going to bike a longer distance on the weekend I don’t bother setting my hair. I either wear it straight:
Put it in a pig tails
Or my favorite option: wear a snood. All of my snoods are from Arthelia’s Attic on etsy. Her’s are definitely the best. The elastic keeps them on securely and they come with cute bow.
So those are my summer 1950’s fashion biking solutions. I’ll hopefully be coming up with some more ideas, particularly for winter. Happy Trails!