Tag Archives: helmets

Janet’s Black Faux Fur Helmet

On my ride home from work yesterday evening, I ran into my friends Janet and Dan on the Lakefront Trail.  I love unexpectedly seeing friendly faces in Chicago; it always brightens my day and makes the city seem more and more like home.

As you can see, Dan and Janet have WorkCycle Omas, which they bought after visiting Amsterdam a few years ago.

Janet had on a new helmet by Yakkay, called the Luzern Faux, that she bought locally from Heritage Bikes.  The Yakkay helmet can be mixed and matched with different style covers and this is one option (it also comes in white).  So stylish!

At first I thought it was an actual shapka, not a helmet.  These are very on trend right now (and I do love my Anna Karenina).  :-)

Janet’s whole outfit was perfect for a chilly November night: fur hat, tweed coat, scarf, jeans, leather mittens, and high boots.  Perfection.

I want one now, but alas I already own a black winter helmet.

You can see another Yakkay helmet cover modeled by Martha, one of the lovely women-who-brunch, in this post from last year.  Has anyone else given this a try?

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The Mary Poppins Effect and Happy Helmets

I left work yesterday evening, unlocked my bike and prepared to set off when I realized that I forgot my helmet in my office. It was one of those days when the idea of locking my bike again, removing my bag, going upstairs and unlocking my office was unbearable, so I decided to continue on helmetless. If I had a busy route, I would have retrieved my helmet, but my route is a series of calm side-streets.

Me and Betty on yesterday’s evening commute

This was one of my first times riding Betty Foy without a helmet. I have done it more often riding Oma, but Betty is faster and has more aggressive positioning.

My ride home was perfectly fine and I felt comfortable on the road. In fact, drivers were extremely nice to me. No one passed too closely or cut me off, and many drivers gave me an extra wide berth or slowed behind me until they could pass safely. I wonder if this behavior had something to do with the Mary Poppins Effect, as several people commented previously that when they don’t wear helmets, drivers are kinder. But my usual Nutcase helmet is so sweet and happy, I don’t see why wearing it would make drivers treat me any differently. I think a helmet covered with pink and red hearts would contribute to the Mary Poppins Effect.

Maybe the kindness was caused by the perfect fall weather, which put everyone in a really good mood. Or maybe it was partly in my head, since I was already wondering if drivers would treat me differently. Regardless, I’m more worried about drivers who never see me at all, so I will continue to wear my helmet most of the time. Maybe when Chicago gets those 100 miles of protected bike lanes, I’ll feel more comfortable going without. :)

{This post is not meant to be all “yay helmets” or “boo helmets” – simply a bit about my day.}

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Bicycle-Love Fashion

Hi, there! To follow up on the serious and fascinating discussion going on about the Mary Poppins effect, I’ve got some fashion fluff for you.

I’m not one to wear special cycling clothes, but that does not apply to creative bike-themed fashion.  The outfit below, for example (see also, my Makool bike locket).

Maureen of Inspired Cyclist sent me this beautiful printed t-shirt from Target.  How sweet is this??  The t-shirt’s red and pink hearts perfectly match my new Nutcase helmet.

I put the two together with a pink hoodie, black jeggins and cool earrings made from old tire tubes that I bought at the Bike Winter Art Show (can’t remember the woman’s name!).  Then I biked on Coco downtown to see God of Carnage at the Goodman Theatre, which was an amazing play.

Back to my new Nutcase helmet: so sweet!

I first saw a photo of this design from the Spring 2011 line on City Girl Rides and knew I had to make it mine.  (Do you know City Girl Rides? Good stuff!!)

Nutcase’s website does not list this design and my local bike shop didn’t have it yet, so I emailed Nutcase directly and quickly got a reply email with a link to a shop in Cali that had some in stock.  Score!

The $60 price tag made me hesitate, but I rationalized that if divided into price per wear, it would be pennies a day. ;)

Altogether, I was a very happy cycling lady!

P.S.  Mr. Dottie was there, too, but evaded my camera.  He sent Sir Raleigh as his LGRAB ambassador.  :)

Anyone else have bike-themed fashion you just love?

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Friendly Commute

This morning I rode further than usual to attend a conference.  While waiting at a stop light, my friend Elizabeth magically appeared next to me.  What a fun surprise!  There are few surprises better than meeting a good friend in an unexpected place.  Turns out she was on a long morning ride (being much sportier than I).  Gotta love the social aspect of bike riding.

Elizabeth brightening my morning

Soon afterward, a grouchy guy tried to mar my morning.  As I rode 8 mph on the nearly empty bike path (trying not to sweat my ass off before work), he said sarcastically while passing me, “Nice place for your helmet,” indicating the helmet hanging from my handlebars.

Helmet-carrying contraption, aka handlebars

Why, thank you!  I agree; that’s a brilliant place for my helmet, as I can easily take it off and put it on as I transition from the streets to the bike path.  Perhaps if he slowed down occasionally (to, say, 8 mph), he would notice that riding a bike is not always an extreme sport requiring protective gear. :)

Really, I ride so slowly and cautiously when I take off my helmet on the bike path – if anything, I am safer.

My ride was otherwise nice and relaxing, though almost 90 degrees and humid. Nothing a wet washcloth and deodorant couldn’t handle.

And now for something completely different. In one hour (9:00 central) Trisha and I will be interviewed live on Bicycle Radio. You can – and totally should! – listen at http://bicycleradio.com. If you miss the show, you can download the podcast. While you’re at it, check out their awesome archives, which include guests such as Ray LaHood and Gary Fisher!

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Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake has been a hero of mine since girlhood. Must I explain her awesomeness? She rides a bike, has a cat and is always surrounded by sweets!

The newest issue of my favorite magazine, Lula, is Strawberry Shortcake themed – a periodical after my own heart – and features a modern interpretation of Ms. Shortcake on the cover. When I saw this red dress on Friday, I instantly thought of my own modern Strawberry Shortcake interpretation. The fact that the dress is fair trade by Mata, made by a women’s cooperative in India, sealed the deal.

Now I have the dress, but what about that huge cupcakey thing on her head?

No, wait: Better than a strawberry cupcake – my pink Nutcase helmet is eerily perfect! Looks like Trisha’s not the only one who refers back to childhood heros for helmet inspiration.

All I need now are strawberry-shaped wheel spokes.

Happy Monday!  Make it silly :)

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The other day I found myself humming a familiar tune while putting on my helmet.
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In Honor of Free Flowing Hair

I love the feel of wind in my hair. Wearing a helmet robs me of that joy.

There. I said it.

I’ll spare some time and energy by saying for either side: 1) You won’t feel so good with your brain splattered on the pavement; or 2) Stop wearing the silly foam hats, then.

Now that the generic stuff is out of the way, let’s talk for real.

Trisha's hair enjoying the wind

Springy weather (40 degrees!) has me yearning for the feel of free flowing hair. This yearning is nothing new. My desire is less prominent in the winter, when the helmet warms my chilly head, and most prominent on the hottest summer days, when my hair is matted and soaked by sweat.  Regardless of the weather, I would always prefer the feel of the wind in my hair.  Carefree, childish, happy, free: bicycling gives me all those wonderful feelings and a helmet clamped on my head counters those feelings to some extent.

This must be an issue that lots of cyclists – men and women – deal with, but there is so much emphasis on practicality, statistics and sides.  I’m simply saying, “I want to feel the wind in my hair!”  An innocent wishful statement, nothing more or less.  Heck, I’m currently growing my hair long so some of it can flow about while my helmet’s on.

Dottie's hair trying to grow

As two girls who ride all the time and almost always wear helmets, can we just have a moment of silence for free flowing hair?

…Okay, now you can speak up  :)

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Cutest Helmet Ever: DIY

Check this helmet out – what an idea! The author of Oh Joy!, a top style-lifestyle inspiration blog, happens to be a very chic cyclist. When she couldn’t find a polka dotted helmet to suit her needs, she made one out of a Bern Muse helmet and sticky decals.

Oh Joy's Polka Dot Bern

She is also the proud owner of a Velorbis Victoria. Classy!

Oh Joy's Velorbis and Bern Helmet

Read about her project direct from the source HERE, including the link to buy the polka dot decals.

I’m tempted to get a red helmet and attach black dots. I have a thing for ladybugs! :) Couldn’t hurt project get-drivers-to-treat-me-like-a-human, either.

Anyone else into personalizing helmets?

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Chicago’s Christkindlmarket

This weekend we took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather (~50 degrees F) and cycled along the lakefront to the Christkindlmarket downtown.

I love being able to take off my helmet when I get on the Lakefront Trail with Oma. The wind in my hair feels so good.

Helmet off, hair loose

Chicago’s Christkindlmarket claims to be the only authentic Christkindlmarket outside of Europe. I’m not sure about the “only” claim, but it looks “authentic,” based on pictures of a Christkindlmarket in Salzburg via Academichic.

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Mixed Messages

One of the most heated debates in the cycling community is over whether to wear a helmet. It’s so intense that even the mile-long bike lane I ride in every day changes its mind every few yards or so.

In one direction, in a Goofus-and-Gallant like opposition*, stand two figures. The first logo shows a bicycle rider who’s helmetless and free, separated from traffic, legs posed at a jaunty angle (might want to do something about that front wheel, though).

Helmetless and free

Helmetless and free

But just a few feet ahead, I encounter a more cautious rider, one who knows a door could be opened in front of her any second, or perhaps is simply attempting to set a good example for the students at the university she’s stationed in front of.

Look at the wheels on that baby!

Look at the wheels on that baby!

(Interesting how the helmeted rider is poised to enter traffic, while the one without the helmet is heading toward the sidewalk.)

Still, both of these images are fairly neutral, and the fact that they are both on the same side of the street gives a sense that the city is not taking sides, just presenting the options and letting the responsible cyclist decide which suits her circumstances best (just like our blog!).

Not so on my way home, where I can only assume that the appearance of this logo after a parade of helmetless rider logos is meant to send a clear message:

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Reason #156 to Wear a Helmet During Your Commute

No words

Some say being crapped on by a bird is good luck. That is possible. I certainly consider it good luck that this particular bird had good enough aim to not hit one of my helmet vents.

Also, moments before (or after? I didn’t notice the new decoration on my Bern until I got to work) the shit hit the helmet, Le Peug and I had the positive experience of being recognized by reader and fellow bike commuter Matt. Good luck or karmic balance? You be the judge…

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