Not Bicycling to the Ball

This weekend, Mr. Dottie and I got all fancy and attended my employer’s annual charity ball. You can imagine how much I wanted to ride my bike to show that I could, but I knew that was not going to happen. The venue was 8 miles away, the night was cold, and my hair and face had undergone extensive work. Oh, also, I was in a ball gown with a mini train.

If the ride were much shorter, like the fundraising gala I bike to two years ago , I might have tried it, but 8 miles of riding would have torn some sequins off my gown, at the very least, and Rent the Runway would not have been pleased when I returned it. I love bicycling, but I’m not going to cycle when it would be wildly impractical. Greg could have easily biked in his tux, though.

I was going to take the L train, but my boss told me to please take a cab and have the costs reimbursed. So I did. It felt weird to ride in a motor vehicle that was not a bus. Such luxury, even though it was a little scary and smelled a little funny!

Have any of you biked to a black tie event? I’d love to hear about it! You can post pictures in the comments, if you have any to share.

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25 thoughts on “Not Bicycling to the Ball

  1. Dominique Duguay says:

    Your dress is stunning! I’ll have to check out this “rent the runway” !

    • Dottie says:

      I highly recommend it! Each dress order comes with two sizes, since it’s hard to know which will fit without trying them on. The dress I wore was in excellent condition, never worn before – new with tags, which I clipped off.

  2. ** says:

    ooh la la! ;)

  3. Donnarino says:

    You might get a kick out of this interview with an opera singer who rides her bike in her performance gowns

  4. Mamavee says:

    I almost did a similar post! Last weekend I had a holiday party and I got my hair all did up and I was NOT going to put a helmet on it nor let the wind make it crazy. My outfit was bike worthy for sure though- short dress. So we did drive, however we went out to dinner with neighbors and car pooled with them to dinner and then the party and then home. One person at the party said ” Did you bike here!!1″ and when I said no she answered ” That would have been cool” and walked away. I realized right after she was out of earshot that Carpooling was just as cool.

    I have trained it in formal attire.

  5. Misssarahchan says:

    Ooo you look amazing! I wish I could pull of gowns like that, but alas, my legs are so short:) Greg looks mighty handsome too!

    When the hemline is below the ankle, the bike is out for me. Unless it’s just a summer maxi dress, then I can gather it up and hold the end. But not a fancy gown like that:)

  6. ladyfleur says:

    I once rode in a long satin dress not only *to* a party, but also *at* a party, the San Jose Bike Party’s “Formal Ride”. The dress is neither narrow nor full so it worked surprisingly well. I didn’t ride the full 25+ mile route, but put in about 15 miles. Photo here:

  7. Kara says:

    Stunning! You both look amazing. But that dress. Wow. So gorgeous.

  8. Cycler says:

    I really wanted to incorporate bikes into my wedding, but ultimately couldn’t deal with it (and my husband didn’t want to ride a tandem, mostly because the wedding was in a very public place, and he didn’t want to be a spectacle).
    Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor, and that’s why we have zipcar and cabs :)

  9. Aibrean says:

    Dottie, that dress is killer on you, and Mr. Dottie looks very dapper as well!

    I’m so glad to hear of a real person who uses Rent the Runway too; I’m waiting for the opportunity to rent an amazing gown from them. Can you imagine if they had been around when we were still going to proms?!

  10. Maritaobst says:

    Ooo, you and Greg both look lovely! I love sequins and am always drawn to them, even though they always scratch my arms as they rub under the armpits. The things we will try for fabulousness! I definitely could not ride my bike in this, or any such dress!

  11. Ken C. says:

    Whoa! Such a handsome [or is it gorgeous? Let’s be neutral, and settle on “good looking”] couple! Dressed to the nines! Hmmm….I’ve never biked to a formal affair, but I’m sure I’ve walked to a couple. I was in the military at the time, so we probably staggered home…

  12. Courtnee Felton says:

    So Dottie, “Who are you wearing?” (I had to say it).

  13. Anonymous says:

    Aren’t such situations why they make panniers?

    • LGRAB says:

      Do you mean put my gown in my pannier and change when I got there?? That’s not how women get ready for balls! :)

      • Anonymous says:

        So I guess changing in the nearest Starbucks bathroom is out of the question as I once did? Perhaps my wife is correct about me!

  14. philippe says:

    Yes, once, but that was a much shorter ride (like, 5 kilometers), and the weather was optimal (mild spring temperature). My wife’s dress didn’t had a train though…

    (And, sorry but I can’t help to notice the regular tie with the tuxedo. Is that acceptable now ? Or some kind of a bold and edgy fashion statement ? Formal etiquette is not my forte…)

  15. welshcyclist says:

    You really are a film star!

  16. Laura says:


  17. amanda*rose says:

    You & the Mr. look so incredibly dapper! Good choice not to bike to that ball…all the “Sorry, my dress got caught in the bike spoke” explainations you would’ve had to do wouldn’t have been worth it. :) So pretty, though! <3 <3 <3

  18. Blueberry says:

    Hi,yes indeed. My son and I biked to a gala opera event in Montreal. We were both pretty dressed up. Lucky for us, there was not too much wind, we took our time so that we wouldn’t arrive sweaty. Finding parking was a breeze. We arrived on time and totally in style as we had first row seats!! Ha ha (no one would have guessed)…

  19. Lapowers57 says:

    As you appear to be a trim young woman perhaps your hubbie could have ridden the bike and could have pulled you in a trailer. Perhaps a trailer made up to look like a pumpkin. What better was to arrive at a ball? Ah well work is slow today but the image of you emerging from a pumpkin trailer pulled by a tuxedo clad man on a bicycle brought a smile to my face. Have a happy and safe new year.

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