As I was preparing for my 12 mile bike ride from Bed-Stuy through Prospect Park and back this morning I realized why I hardly ever see Black girls over the age of 13 on bicycles. It took me an extra 10 min. to figure out this whole Bike helmet situation. Here's my confession, since I purchased my bike last year I have only worn my helmet 2 times, this morning included. I know I should be a lot more concerned about busting my head open, especially since I don't have any health insurance but last spring and summer I was wearing a kinky twist hair style which could not be contained under the helmet. So I just said a prayer everytime I went out and stayed off the main roads.
Two weeks ago I tried out the helmet for the first time and it was a disaster. Luckily I was only going to teach my class for elders which is only 10 min. away. My hair was just blown out straight and had wispy curls on the side. I noticed that only one guy instead of the usual 10-12 asked to ride in my basket. When I got home I could understand why. I looked straight out of a scene from Dumb and Dumber. So today, since my hair is in conrows I thought I try this helmet thing again. Safety First! Right? So I thought I tie a vintage Geoffrey Beene scarf over my braids, throw on my aviator sun glasses and then the helmet. I kept adjusting the helmet slightly to the front and then to the back, then I tried to tuck the neck strap behind my ears! After 5 min of still looking dorky I just said forget it. But really, how is the helmet supposed to look cool?
As I began my ride I started meditating on this. No wonder you don't see Black women riding their bikes to work. By the time they got to the office they would be fired for looking "unprofessional and unkempt" I mean, out of all the hairstyles we've got I really can't see one that wouldn't be totally ruined after putting on a bike helmet. Can somebody please give me any suggestions? What's a Black girl to do?
John Heard, 71
14 hours ago