Why I Wear Cerise Instead of Fluoro

I bought this dress just before Christmas last year at Leona Edmiston.  It’s bright cerise and the fabric drapes beautifully. It has “cold shoulder” sleeves. The belt, which is made out of the same fabric, gives it a lovely shape.  I wore it on Christmas lunch with my parents and brother who came to visit from overseas which made the occasion very special.

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It’s more an awareness of what’s around me rather than trying to be visible.

My friends M and S and countless strangers have asked me why I don’t wear a fluorescent vest/jacket/belt to make me more visible.  In Sydney, I am very noticeable on the bicycle because most people expect to see a man in lycra on the road. There aren’t many women riding in bright dresses and heels. I have a very loud bell and an even louder voice.  I keep up with the traffic with the electric-motor boost which tends to earn respect from drivers.  Why would I want to wear a vest or jacket that doesn’t enhance my appearance?

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I love the drape of this dress.

But in all seriousness, I don’t wear fluoro as I think it gives the rider a false sense of security.  It’s dangerous to assume that because you’re wearing fluoro, drivers WILL see you.  That may or may not be true and is entirely out of your control.  

My approach is to be proactive.  I try to ride with an awareness of my surroundings.  I ride at a safe speed.  I indicate when I want to turn.  I ride in a straight line with the traffic. I make eye contact with drivers around me (even while wearing sunglasses with a nod or a smile).  I am aware of the cars on the road next to me and in front of me. I choose to pass a problem driver or hang back to look for an opportunity to pass safely.  I use my eyes and ears, as we all do, to perform simultaneous tasks.  

Consequently, I can hear the engine of the car driver who is following too closely behind me.  When this has happened, I have made space to let the car pass.   I always catch up with the driver at the next set of lights.  I might say hello in a friendly way. I always ask if they didn’t see me. Sometimes, I get an apology. Mostly though, the conversation becomes heated because most people (men especially) don’t like being reminded that they were in the wrong. My parting shot when that happens in the city is, “Darling, go back to the suburbs!” A particularly aggressive delivery man received, “Ten years of bad sex for you!” In the suburbs, I have used, “You need to get a bicycle, Honey!”  My husband has suggested blowing a kiss or flashing the driver.  As I wear a dress every day, I’m encumbered. Getting the skirt above my head is difficult as I’m sitting on it.

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It would be difficult to flash while riding.

Today’s ensemble: Leona Edmiston dress, Geox heels, Yakkay helmet, Cartier Santos watch, Linus Eleanor bag, eZee Sprint bicycle

Happy Cycling!

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x Sarah

11 Comments

  1. I love this article! I always make an effort to cycle in floral dresses and ‘normal clothes’ around town. It definitely makes a difference in the way motorists treat me. I’m especially visable when the occasional gust of wind catches me un-aware!! Haha!

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  2. You look fabulous, but I’m more of a lycra guy. I think high viz is important, although I wear a lot of black, as is having good lights. I always have a flashing front & rear light on my road bike. More importantly than this is wearing a good properly fitting helmet. I came off last week and spent 2 days in hospital – my helmet saved my life – it is completely cracked at the point of impact, and had I not been wearing one I’d be seriously hurt. So wear what you want but don’t haggle on a helmet – even if it gives you helmet hair.

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    1. It depends on how far you are riding and what type of bicycle. If you are on a road bike, yes to as much Lycra as you like and as far as you like. But if you are going to buy milk or riding to the office which is under 20km away, it’s possible to ride a different style of bike and to wear clothing suitable for the office. I used to take my daughter to Earlwood from Surry Hills which was a round trip 36km on Fridays to her violin lessons. We did this for a year. I took our Nihola cargo bike which has electric motor boost. We brought the charger along to give it a top-up during her lesson. I was usually wearing a dress, my usual gear.

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