Green Tips: Shake a Leg with the Tight Roll

Tight-rolled jeans - for style or biking. Photo courtesy (Not my legs, by the way.)

Tight-rolled jeans – for style or biking. (Not the author’s legs.) Photo courtesy

By Shaun Daniel, Sustainability Resource Center

Since the winter-that-almost-wasn’t is over in Utah, in the midst of the 18th consecutive year of higher than average temperatures in the U.S., even those who had been feeling that “bicycle” and “winter” don’t belong in the same sentence may now be pondering getting back in the saddle.

So, let’s say you get the itch to get out on two wheels on one of these sunny days. Maybe you pull your bike out of storage, or maybe it’s waiting where you parked it yesterday. But where is that blasted strap to keep your pant leg out of the chain?

If you’re not one for spandex velo wear, skirts and , or bicycle-compatible skinny jeans (how do legs move in those anyway?!), a missing pant strap can make for a grease-stained, torn-cuff kind of problem.

This is where the tight roll comes in. When my own Velcro strap kept falling off at the most inopportune times—like in the middle of busy intersections—a friend of mine showed me how.

Behold, the tight roll.  Photo courtesy

Behold, the tight roll. (Not the author’s foot either.) Photo courtesy

It’s basically rolling up your pants, but with a twist—er, a pinch. You start by folding over the pant leg lengthwise at the hem so that it’s a little tighter around your ankle and calf. Then, holding that fold in one hand, proceed to roll up your pants the usual way. Et voilà, le tight roll.

When worn for fashion rather than function, I guess it’s technically called a “pin roll.” This blog piece by Sheri Silver offers a nice illustration of the steps.

Because I’m a form follows function, simple living kind of guy, I like that I don’t have to stock up an arsenal of extra equipment just to ride my bike to work or the store. No fancy Velcro sleeves or slap anklets necessary.

What I’m saying is: If you’re wearing pants*, you’re ready to go. Just one less excuse not to be out riding your bike.

* For long skirts, check out this recommendation involving a penny and a rubber band.

Special thanks to my friend Joe Kinney who introduced me to the “tight roll” in Minneapolis. This article is part of a series to focus on fun, practical tips for leading a more sustainable life. If you have any tips of your own to suggest, email them to

Shaun Daniel is a graduate student in Environmental Humanities and a graduate assistant in the Sustainability Resource Center.

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