Karen Canady: Fabulous Lady Cyclist and Entrepreneur!

Guest Post: Karen Canady is Founder of Bikie Girl Bloomers and a Fabulous Lady Cyclist in Los Angeles. Here’s her story:

I love city riding and riding in style/regular clothes. I started Bikie Girl Bloomers out of a combination of my own self-interest and a desire to inspire more women to get on their bikes.

First Experiences as a Cyclist

I’m a 54-year-old patent attorney who has been pedaling to work and wherever off & on since way before the interwebs. I used to not give a rip what people said when I biked to my first post-college job (an Admissions Counselor at Pacific University, right there in Forest Grove, OR) in whatever dress or skirt I felt like wearing. Then, on another day, I’d succumb to the pressure to conform and drive a car. This was the 80’s, and my commute was 2 miles and paying for parking or caring about the environment were relatively unfamiliar concepts.

I continued through my life, alternating between living my bike love and giving in to the car thing, always enjoying the way that, everywhere I worked, every guy I dated, folks were getting turned on to bicycling in a way that made me a proud pusher of the dream drug.

Bicycle Versus Car and Cute Outfit

I didn’t really examine this ridiculous alternation between bike travel and the car thing until a few years ago, when I moved my law office to a building just 1.25 miles from my house. I was so excited that now I could ride my bike every single day, or even walk! Yet I realized a couple of years into it that I was still only biking to work a couple times a week, sometimes less. So I decided to really ask myself what was keeping from doing it every day. I realized that one aspect was the road bike, and another was the clothing. I dusted off a hybrid bike that had been gathering dust in the garage, put a wire basket on the rear rack to make it easy to carry my stuff, and discovered how much more I enjoy city riding when I’m sitting upright and I don’t need special shoes for my pedals. 

As for the clothes, I observed that, while biking in pants is sorta OK, I much prefer riding in a skirt. But I didn’t like flashing when the wind blows my skirt up, and I hated the skorts I’d tried. Either the skirt looked dorky on me or the shorts part didn’t fit me right. I then tried spanx or bike shorts under my skirts, but I prefer to be able to breathe, and I don’t want to straddle a chamois all day, nor do I want to have to change my clothes. And who needs a chamois for such a short ride?

Taking a Stand by Starting Bikie Girl

Through the help of a friend who knows the garment industry, I ended up becoming a garment manufacturer on the side. Luckily back when I decided to launch this, I had no idea how much money and time it would suck from my life. It has been so much fun to design clothing that so perfectly fits my lifestyle: more comfortable than I had hoped for, expressive of my personality, delightfully simple, and incredibly versatile. Now I bike to work every day on a Dutch Gazelle, and bike to the store, and go on bike dates with my hubby, and get excited when I have to go somewhere that gives me an excuse for a longer ride. 

I also bike to work every day now, taking a longer, prettier route to the office because 1-1/4 miles is over just too quickly!

The Bikie Girl Bloomers Clothing Line

Why choose between fashionable and practical when you can have both?
Wearing Spandex under my skirts was the usual way I got around flashing people, but I kept thinking there should be something with a better fit that wouldn’t roll up on the leg. More importantly, every time my skirt blew up, I thought there should be something more fashionable showing. And that’s how Bikie Girl Bloomers was born.
Now I design an entire line of bicycle-friendly clothing that women can wear to work, and we just added plus sizes! The line now includes bloomers and pettipants, skitches, skirts, tops, and even bundled sets. All fabrics are sourced locally and each garment is sewn right in Los Angeles.
I started the line for people like me, who don’t want to have to change clothes just for a bike ride, but also don’t want to sacrifice looking nice just to be comfortable. And more than that, I hope to inspire women to start riding when they see how it doesn’t require changing clothes or being an amateur athlete.


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