cycling · fashion

Athletic hair, helmet head, and summer time curls

Do you remember Beautiful Crissy the doll? (Warning: Answering this may date you.)

“Everyone knows that beautiful hair makes a girl look beautiful.”

1969. I was five years old.

It struck me as a terrific idea, still does. Long hair that you pull out when it’s useful, store away when it’s not.

Today this, 26 Badass Short Haircuts To Inspire Your Summer Look, came across my Facebook newsfeed and I was tempted to go shorter for the summer. But the thing is, I like my curls, and I only really get to appreciate them during the summer.

Here’s the winter problem: I’m at the gym, I workout and shower, and then there’s a polar vortex going on outside, and if I leave with wet hair, it freezes. I hate icicle head. So I blow dry it and then it’s straight. I don’t have the patience for marathon hair drying sessions so in the winter I keep my hair straight and short.

In the summer I have the luxury of letting it dry naturally curly, though I haven’t done the full on “curly girl” thing. So I tend to let it grow long and shaggy in the summer months, which kind of fits my not teaching, few meetings, some camping, lots of time on the bike summer program. Yes, I get lots of writing done but I can do that wearing summer dresses at work (see Riding bikes in skirts and dresses, totally fine if that’s your thing, here’s how) or shorts and tank tops at home. Not much of a dress code.

I tend not to stress over helmet hair. I’m not one of those people who is too cool to wear a helmet. But if you do worry about helmet hair there’s a great series of articles on the Total Women’s Cycling page about helmet appropriate hair styles. See

There’s also lots of very funky bike helmets out there. These from from the giggle guide are pretty cool.


But I’m still looking at the short hair pictures (though I know there atre advantages to pony tails they’re not my thing) and wondering how short I could go and still have curls….

Oh and I have complicated views about helmets. I’m opposed to laws requiring them for adults and in London I generally wear one. I don’t need a law to force me. But I rent bixi bikes happily in Montreal and go helmet free, ditto Amsterdam etc. I’ll blog about this issue sometime.


What’s your solution for combining an active lifestyle and summer time hair?





10 thoughts on “Athletic hair, helmet head, and summer time curls

  1. Ponytail or loose and then wet them again upon destination to recurl. But the way, icicle hair makes for the best curls ever!

  2. Those with curly hair should take advantage of natural textures that don’t require permanents.

    As for the long hair, I gave up long hair gladly @19 yrs. Every decade, I seem go shorter. Here I am:

    My rationale has been to show the jewellery that I always earrings. It is the jewellery that everyone sees, because they look at your face when you speak in person.

    I understand some women when it’s really hot, have their hair in long braid, if not a pony tail.

    It is amazing how the hair issue is a huge deal for some women wanting to cycle. My take: when you fall in love with cycling, your hairstyle becomes secondary because you get in shape and become healthier.

  3. My solution is a large collection of hats and a quick shower before evening activities. It’s not much of a solution, but it’s one that suits me because I’m fair and sensitive to the sun.

  4. I tried chopping my hair off a few years ago as a nod to my athletic lifestyle, but because I didn’t go short enough, it ended up being more of a pain in the ass than it was worth, with hairs flying every which way every time I did anything. I found I had to spend more time thinking and dealing with it when it was short than when it was long, which was basically the opposite of what I expected to have happen (and thus defeated the entire point of going short in the first place).

    Now I wear it long and usually in a ponytail or a bun. I style it only for special occasions; the rest of the time I walk out the door with damp hair. It suits my beach-bum Florida-girl aesthetic pretty well, actually.

    1. Yeah, I’d go long, wild and curly but for the frozen hair thing. Sigh.

      1. I totally understand. When I was in Chicago I had to blow dry my hair every day and it drove me nuts. Cold weather and I do not agree.

      2. have you ever used a diffuser? it makes blow-drying actually work well for people with curly hair.

  5. I go shorter in winter when I have the time to style it or stick it under a toque to ski. In summer I let my hair grow longer. I wear it in a ponytail for work and rowing under a ball cap. Now I am growing my gray out and I am thinking of cutting it all off.

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