New product will protect the modesty of women cyclists

An entrepreneur is set to launch a business after her 'life hack' to solve the age-old problem facing skirt-wearing female cyclists went viral.

By Jane Bradley
Wednesday, 30th December 2015, 9:44 am
Johanna Holtan is to launch the product Penny in Yo Pants. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Johanna Holtan is to launch the product Penny in Yo Pants. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

With cycling becoming more and more popular and upcoming events like the Tour de Yorkshire on the horizon, a British woman has created a product which helps people riding bikes in skirts to cycle without flashing passing motorists.

Johanna Holtan, 33, from Edinburgh, and her friends devised a trick using a penny and an elastic band to turn their skirts into culottes when they were cycling around the city streets, but their YouTube video of the “life hack” went viral, attracting more than three million views.

Now they are preparing to launch a commercial version of the product early next year, with half of the profits set to be donated to the Afghan women’s cycling team.

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Called “Penny In Yo Pants”, the product is made of a faux leather circle, with an aluminium coin which slots over the fabric to create “legs” in a skirt.

“I like to wear skirts, but I also cycle everywhere,” said Ms Holtan, who also runs CycleHack, an event aimed at opening up cycling to a wider audience which began in Glasgow and has since spread to 50 cities worldwide, including Manchester, Aberdeen, Oxford and London. “This was a trick that meant I didn’t need to take different clothes to change into when I got to work or wherever I was going.

“It wasn’t something I invented myself, it was me and also some friends and we came up with the idea. We made a funny video of me doing it and put it on YouTube but we had no idea so many people would see it.

“Someone told me we’d had more than three million views and I couldn’t believe it. I was actually embarrassed when I heard as on the video, I’m almost flashing to three million strangers.”

But despite a crowdfunding campaign earlier this year, the product did not make the required amount of funding, with just £1,871 pledged out of the firm’s goal of £5,000.

However, Ms Holtan, who works on the strategic projects team at Edinburgh University, went ahead to create the prototype with MakLab in Glasgow.

She is now to manufacture the product at a facility in the Midlands early in the New Year and sell it via the Penny In Yo Pants website, as well as many UK cycle retailers.

Shannon Galpin, who works with the the Afghan Women’s Cycling Team and also promoting the sport in the country through her non profit organisation Mountain2Mountain, said: “The funding raised through the Penny in Yo Pants campaign will help support stipends for the girls on the Afghan national cycling team.”