Unlike parking while cheesy, biking while sexy—AKA riding a bike with a skirt on—is not illegal. This truism was tested in a recent incident involving a Dutch cyclist, her skirt, and an NYPD cop who allegedly threatened to ticket her for wearing it as she rode. Last night, a group of cyclists gathered at Columbus Circle for a Short Skirt Celebration Ride organized in part by Copenhagen Cycle Chic, down the Broadway bike lane to show tourists and New Yorkers alike the joy of flashing your gams on the pedals.
Liz Patek began Tweeting about a possible skirt ride not only because it sounded like a good time, but because as a NYC cyclist for 22 years, she's gotten plenty of comments on her biking attire. "Just recently I had a guy tell me 'You don't look like a person who rides a bike.' I don't know if that meant my dress or my gender or what," she told us, wearing a colorful, snappy knee-length skirt. "Comments like that just happen. You keep riding." Union Square resident Holly Trammell who showed up "because it sounded fun," said that on the way to the event someone asked her, "Does your religion require you to dress like that on a bike?" She notes "more people have commented on my skirt when I'm on a bike than when I'm walking. It doesn't make sense."
But what of the fact that the Dutch cyclist in question was a "guerrilla marketer" for a bike company, and the speculation that she had made the whole thing up for publicity? Patek says that, "People will always ask those questions but I think the main issue is not about a skirt: it's about how people in this city are sometimes too selfish. We don't give each other room to exist, on the road or off." Yotam, a bike advocate with Time's Up, said "I don't care about that at all. I just want a mass of riders here."
Though rush hour traffic and last-minute organizing resulted in considerably less than a "mass," the hardy group that showed up was cheery and vocal. Skirts (and even some all-revealing compression shorts) were worn by men and women, as the riders made their way down the pedestrian-choked Broadway bike lane. (Our bikeless photographer fearlessly jogged the entire 2+ miles.) Tourists' cameras flashed, high-fives were exchanged, and a chorus of bells trailed the pack as they made their way downtown in the warm spring air.