When I first started to ride one of my biggest challenges was my hair, notice that my self-portrait has a voluminous gravity-defying curly crown that definitely does not fit under a bike cap. I’ve already shared my experience on my cycling hair journey for Seattle Bike Blog. The posts are chock-full of hair care advice for cycling. For this post I will focus on alternatives to bike caps and maintaining a luscious mane while cycling.
My first solution was a short Halle Berry style haircut that fit neatly under the helmet, no cap necessary. But last year I took on the daunting task of growing out my hair. While I love my fro, it is considerably more work than a visit to the barbershop once a month. Even though I depict myself with a full pick-out while riding, I always ride with a helmet and a head wrap. In fact, I only express my full fro glory for special occasions like engagement parties, holiday shindigs, and kick-ass bands. Most days I’m sporting a bandana, headband or wrap, especially at work because I’m not flossing my royal crown for any old office rat sporting khakis and a PowerPoint.
Bandanas are an urban cyclist staple, great for catching sweat and wrapping helmet ready hair. I fold mine along the diagonal so that it forms a triangle then wrap around my hair (so that all of the hair is inside the bandana) and tie it at the top of my forehead. It’s similar to the way you would wrap your hair at night. This keeps my hair intact all day long, while maintaining a colorful hipster flare.
Headbands are great for work days, but since typical headbands don’t hold my hair back, I use neck warmers. I know it sounds strange, but this headband challenge was a blessing because I discovered that neck warmers can double as both a headband and cycling cap alternative. My favorite is the Smartwool Neck Gaiter which is made from a nice stretch wool that’s breathable, warm, flexible, and firm enough to hold my hair back as a headband and in place as a cycling cap. While the neck warmers are a great functional solution, they don’t come in a variety of colors or any fun or fashionable patterns.
Headwraps for cycling is my latest experiment. I’m fortunate to have acquired some decent sewing skills, so I’m testing out a few more fashionable ideas. My first design is a stretch cotton twist wrap that can also fold into a headband. So far it’s working pretty well and I like the look. I’ll keep you posted on future headgear designs and developments. Maybe an Afro-friendly cycling cap with a bill (brim) perhaps?