Fashion: 2 Wheels & Heels

  • Photo by Tessa Berg
From the July 19, 2012 edition

Watching a woman ride a bike as she rocks a dress and high heels has a particular visual appeal.

“It’s so romantic looking. I f---ing love it,” Jessica Mathews said.

So much so, Mathews, a program coordinator at advocacy group Consider Biking, has brought a monthly bike event to Columbus that encourages women to ride while dressed to the nines.

A buddy of Mathews started 2 Wheels & Heels in Cleveland last year. At these events, women wearing everyday clothes — be it dresses or denim — travel as a pack on their bikes around town. There are now also 2 Wheels & Heels rides in Austin, Chicago and Minneapolis.

The purpose, of course, goes much deeper than creating a pleasant sight for sore traffic-stuck eyes.

“Getting more girls and women on bikes on the road humanizes bicycling; it normalizes it,” Mathews said. “Biking becomes not so intimidating, and drivers become more protective of all bikers on the road.”

The biker benefits, too.

“It makes riding accessible for everyday,” Mathews said. “Biking isn’t just about a recreational sport and spandex.”

Last month marked the first 2 Wheels & Heels in Columbus. About 16 women attended, vastly varying in age, fitness level and favored fashion.

The slowly paced treks will be held every last Wednesday of the month until the weather makes riding impossible, Mathews said. This Wednesday’s ride starts with a meet and greet at Brothers Drake followed by a ride to Clintonville’s Pattycake Bakery and back.

Mathews’ skirt-wearing-while-pedaling secret: Wear bike shorts under those bad boys.