When I first started blogging, it was rare to see Americans cycling to work or around cities in the U.S. I remember seeing lots of Europeans doing so and thinking it would be so amazing if we Yankees saw the idea of biking more as carbon-free transportation and less as weekend recreation. Well, less than 10 years later, we are in the midst of an urban renaissance. What was once seen as the domain of bike messengers and kids is now a legit transit option for a growing number of people. 

But what to wear so that you look great while on your bike — and off? See the ideas below about how fashion-forward you can be while getting where you need to go. 

woman cycles with a hat and skirt and shorts

Photo: BruceTurner/flickr

It's always a good idea to wear a hat when cycling, especially in the winter, since once you get going, the breeze can really chill you (and do a number on your hair). I also like that this woman has bike shorts under a cute skirt; the ultimate in comfort-cute. 

Woman in straight skirt and low heels on bicycle

Photo: Mikael Colville-Andersen/flickr

OK, chatting on the phone while riding your bike is probably a bad idea, but I still can't help but admire this cute combo of a bright orange skirt with a leather jacket (which is ideal outerwear for cycling; it is wind-resistant and will protect you well if you take a tumble). 

Mom bicycles with baby strapped to her front

Photo: Amsterdamized/flickr

This mom on the move in Amsterdam is obviously a multitasker, because she's not only biking somewhere with baby in tow, but she's looking superchic as well; a business-style jacket is an easy way to dress up an otherwise casual biking outfit.

woman bikes in schoolgirl skirt

Photo: -Reji/flickr

Yes, you can wear a skirt while cycling, just make sure it comes to your knee and isn't super-tight or very full. A schoolgirl skirt with pleats like this one works well, and the knee-high boots will keep legs warm in cooler weather.  

Woman bikes with layered clothing

Photo: Amsterdamized/flickr

This woman proves that you can wear heels while riding a bike, no problem. Also, her layered look is ideal for cycling, since as you warm up, you can remove layers, then don them again when you arrive at your destination.  

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Starre Vartan ( @ecochickie ) covers conscious consumption, health and science as she travels the world exploring new cultures and ideas.

5 chic cycling outfits
These outfits combine style and practicality, proving that you don't need to wear spandex cycling clothing to pedal to work.