The needle descends through the fabric and into the underside of the machine. My foot presses down on the right pedal and begins a rotation of the front chainwheel. The needle thread is caught by the rotary hook and forms a loop with the bobbin thread. The bicycle chain moves along the drive train, causing rotation of the wheels. The needle and bobbin threads form a chain with the twisted loop embedded in the fabric. The bicycle chain is made up of links, the chain is a closed loop allowing the whole system to function. The sewing machine creates two interlocked threads to hold fabric together. Sewing and cycling are my drivetrain, my interlocking threads.

I started seriously sewing soon after I started cycling in the city; I saw a need to make clothes that would be durable and functionally compatible with everyday bicycle use. After riding all summer in my favorite pair of jeans, I discovered that the seat had worn through from constant contact with the saddle. One can patch a flat tire as well as a “blown out” pair of pants, but I thought, wouldn’t it be better if the pants were reinforced to begin with? This was the impetus to start a cycling clothing line for women. I enrolled in the apparel design program at Seattle Central, and tailored every project to the needs of an urban female cyclist. The mechanical function of the bicycle subconsciously motivated me to pursue the sewing machine, and now chains and threads to hold my world together.

Sonia McBride, Seattle WA  owner of Babecycle Apparel Company

(Sonia’s cycling clothing will be featured in the September issue of Seattle Magazine!)


Swift Industries’ Tough & Tender Project is an annual  LITERARY AND PHOTOGRAPHIC PROJECT TO CELEBRATE WOMEN’S EXPERIENCE OF THE BICYCLE because Women’s experience of cycling is not celebrated enough in bicycle communities. Cycling is a male dominated activity and industry, and it’s our experience as women and female bodied individuals that cycling empowers and inspires us in ways which are not portrayed by mainstream bicycle culture. It’s time for something different!