It’s that time of year already, the start of the holiday season. Wait, you say, it’s only Halloween. That’s right, it’s Halloween, the start of costume season, which makes Halloween my favorite holiday. If you’re a bike person, there is no shortage of costumed bike events where you can express yourself and strut your stuff. So what to wear, and more importantly, what to wear comfortably and safely on the bike? Here are a few things to consider when choosing a bike costume, from a woman’s point of view.
Tip #1: Go Sexy
Not necessarily because sexy is the end all and be all with a costume, but because costumes marketed as sexy usually have short skirts that won’t get caught in your spokes. Most sexy costumes have full skirts that give full range of motion for pedaling. As for modesty, that’s what bike shorts are for.
Tip #2: Keep Your Head About It
Costumes that rely on hats or wigs to deliver the impact can be problematic, especially if you ride in a helmet. If you haven’t noticed, helmets are larger than your head, so you may have to slit that wig or precariously perch that hat on your helmet. I’ve had success attaching smaller items to the helmet, like cat ears, halos and wreaths. I also ripped apart a cheap gladiator helmet and reconstructed it on my helmet. Your best friends for helmet embellishment: zip ties, elastic stretch cord and double sided foam mounting tape.
Tip #3: Stay Grounded
Great costumes are “head to toe”. But if you’re headed to the coast with your mountain bike friends to buy a pumpkin or racing cyclocross at the annual cyclocross costume race, or riding a century with a few thousand girlfriends, your costume will require cycling shoes. Some commercial costumes, like my Batgirl costume, come with shoe covers that work just fine. If you’re doing an urban ride like San Jose Bike Party, there’s a little more leeway with the shoes, so go ahead with the stilettos or thigh high boots.
Tip #4: Accessorize (with care)
If the costume relies on a prop, make sure it works on the bike. The last thing you want is to be taken down by your own sword. While capes were banned for superheroes in The Incredibles, I found they worked ok even for a cyclocross race, so long as I did my running remounts into the wind.
Tip #5: Take One for the Team
If you’re lucky enough to convince a friend or lover to join you in a tandem team costume, make sure the captain’s wings, cape, sword or tail aren’t a slap in the face of the stoker.
Tip #6: Keep Cool, Stay Warm
As with all other outdoor activities, prepare for changes in the weather. Make sure your costume is not a sweat suit and that bundling up doesn’t ruin the look. How to do this: arm warmers, knee warmers and base layers work as well for costumes just as they do with your race kit.
What tips do you have for others preparing costumes for bike events? What was your a favorite costume?