Friday, March 20, 2009

Helmet Hair

Since I have been writing a few posts about our new love, the bakfiets, a world of bicycle blogs has opened up to me. I am especially liking the ones that talk specifically about biking with kids and ones focused on stylish women biking. I am not one much for fashion. I am a pretty utilitarian dresser, and the older I get, the less I seem to care. I have a thing for chunky shoes, I honestly love fleece, and I vowed never to work a job that required me to wear stockings. Tights I can deal with; stockings never. It has been helpful that I've spent much of my professional life working in schools so there's never been the call for power suits and heels.

When I committed to becoming a bike commuter, I thought about the clothes thing for a moment. Would I be able to ride in my work garb? I figured the only adjustment I might really have to make would possibly be my shoes and I thought I could easily throw on my Puma sneaks, with a work pair in the box. These certain blogs, like this one, this one, this one, and this one, show women who are far better dressers than I am riding their bikes so it has given me confidence that I could pedal in most anything I owned. Plus, once we got the baks, we saw that it's built like a cruiser--I sit up straight, no hunching over, and there's no bar in the way between my legs so there's no fear about not being able to swing a skirt-clad thigh and knee across. I haven't felt the need to wear the Pumas; my regular boots and a pair of flats have worked just fine.

Being honest here--I did, however, give thought to the hair in a bike helmet dilemma. I didn't want to spend my work days with bad hair, flattened or sticking out thanks to the strapping on the hard casing each morning. A year ago I chopped off my ponytail and my hair has become increasingly shorter with each trip to the hair salon. So last week when I went in for my appointment, I made a decision with the bike helmet in mind: I needed a fully short haircut. So now my hair is cut up over my ears, although I do have a longer section swept over to the right, an asymmetrical style that I hope is less Flock of Seagulls and more sassy and cute. It's been cold enough in the mornings these past two bike commuting weeks that when I pull up to the bike rack at school, my head isn't totally covered with sweat. I've felt pretty confident pulling off my helmet, running a hand through my hair, and starting the work day.

And to honor our new biking commitment, I decided to treat myself to a brand new helmet. I've been riding around with my plain, black LLBean one (complete with black electrical tape) that is older than my marriage. The new one hasn't come yet and I will be sure to post pictures when it does arrive but it is definitely sassy and cute.


Dottie said...

Great blog! Helmet hair is definitely an issue in the summer. I'm not at all finicky about my hair, so I just spend the summers in braids, ponytails and buns. Short hair is a good solution but I unfortunately can't pull that look off.

I test rode a bakfiets recently. How it could work is hard to imagine, but somehow everything comes together for a smooth and sturdy ride.

Andrea said...

AND post pictures of your new hair (what's wrong with A Flock of Seagulls, anyway???).

Terra said...

OK I can totally relate here. I have fairly long hair and if I was work commuting, I've found that if I take the top section, twist it and pin it, they get less messed up and mashed down when you get there. And here is an idea, have a tiny little hairdryer in your drawer at work to do a little quick dry with your fingers which super easy if you have short hair! (and it dries sweat too!)

Having a colored helmet makes you easier to see too. Obviously the bakfiet in red is hard to miss but all the better to have a colorful helmet.

I am really inspired by European women who just ride in whatever!