We know that the last thing you want on your cycle commute to work is to turn up sweaty and dishevelled. We also know that lycra and high-vis aren't everyone's cuppa tea, and while we tend to choose function over style, Anna Michna shows us how to look great on your commute and pedal in heels.
Hailing from the rolling roads and mountains of Scotland, Anna lives in the city of Edinburgh where she commutes anywhere from 3-6 miles per day, 5 days a week. Although Anna doesn't look like your regular commuter, she prides herself on looking good and feeling comfortable in her work attire and favourite heels.
"The commute to work is a nice downhill but back home is a challenging up hill. I don’t complain as it makes my legs look great." - Anna Michna
Like so many cyclists commuting to work, Anna isn't a fan of Lycra and high-vis cycling clothing, so she chooses to ride in what's most comfortable and empowering for her - heels and more casual clothing. We caught up with Anna to quiz her on how she does it, looks fresh and what it means to her.
When we cycle, we work up a sweat. Puddles, grit and grim cake us in all sorts of road unpleasantries. We asked Anna how she rides to work and maintains a fresh look for the day ahead:
"I like wearing black, and darker colours in general, so I when I cycle to work, I put on either black jeans or a flared skirt when cycling to work. I often complement it with a brighter top or some contrasting jewellery. I also have a couple of vintage dresses, all of which are either A-line or a skater dress.
I avoid synthetic fabric, especially polyester, and I go for lightweight cotton especially for the upper body. Thanks to this, I avoid sweating.
As for footwear, I go for leather heels, most of which I have in darker colours, expect my favourite red suede shoes. The leather is great 'cause you can easily brush off the dirt and have clean shoes in no time. I carry a small shoe brush with me, so this is easy. My favourite red heels can be a bit of a problem, so I only wear it when it’s sunny outside."
But what about messing up your outfit, or getting caught out?
"I have tried and tested clothes that can easily be fixed. Some of the clothes wear off faster because of cycling, but I don’t buy expensive clothing – a good excuse to buy something new every so often.
I also have spare leggings and an emergency top on my desk draw. A few times, I got soaking wet when cycling to work, so I could wear the emergency clothes whilst the other ones were drying."
I don't know about you, but after every ride, I have the task of fixing my mane of hair that's often tangled, kinked and mostly flat. So how does Anna tackle this key issue?
"When I first started cycling, I was worried that helmet would mess up my hair, but I watched a few YouTube videos on quick and easy hairdos, like simple plaits or up-dos that look smart and could be easily fixed.
I also leave the house with a considerable amount of time before starting work, so I don’t sweat or cycle through puddles like crazy just to make it on time."
"You can look smart on your bike, you just need to be a bit smarter about type of clothes you wear." - Anna Michna
So what's the problem with how commuters and cyclists look, and why has Anna chosen to make this bold choice? For herself of course...
"I think it was an act of rebellion against pre-defined rules of cycling and looking sporty as oppose to cycling wearing what you want. I like the fact that cycling has become so popular in the recent years, but at the same time I’m amazed at the amount of misconception people have around the way cyclist should look. If you imagine someone cycling, the first thing that comes to your mind is trainers, lots of spandex and unisex jacket. I wanted to alter that image and bring something new. I feel that you can combine being fashionable with being practical, so, in other words, you can look smart on your bike - just need to be a bit smarter about the type of clothes you wear.
Empowered women honestly don't care what others say, they'll do what they want, whether it's biking in heels, or a tight, short skirt. It’s all about embracing the womanhood and being proud of it. Why hide behind the unisex outfit, when you can show your beauty!
I would not walk 3 miles to work wearing heels - walking its way too uncomfortable, but cycling it’s a different story. Heels fit perfectly on the pedal (trust me it’s true), you don’t even feel the difference between flat shoes, and it’s far more comfortable than walking!"
Passionate about cycling and encouraging more people to ride to work, Anna is working on the new City Cycling project. Expedia and 6 of London’s urban cyclists have teamed up to bring you a guide for the top cycling routes around London along with safety tips, bike hire advice and ideas for day's out.
Now you've seen how easy it is to cycle in heels and maintain a stylish look, fancy giving it a go yourself?
It's great that more and more women are riding bicycles for commute, freedom and fun. What's even better is that despite the growing collection of women's specific cycling apparel, there's still women out there, like Anna, who can rock a stylish ride to work and defying cycling's unwritten rules.
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