This morning I received an email from a reader asking whether I prefer long or short hair for cycling. Short answer: Long!
Last summer I chopped my hair for the first time in nearly two decades. While I didn't do it for the sake of cycling, I did expect short hair to be easier to manage for someone who rides a lot compared to my previously unruly mane. Surely it would feel lighter, be less prone to getting disheveled and sweaty, be easier to comb. Lots of active women have short hair, so this logic made sense.
But oh how wrong I was. You know how sometimes you have a bad hair day? I feel like I've had a bad hair year. While I like the look of my bob and it was nice to have a change, as far as cycling it's been annoying and fussy. Not long enough to fit into a pony tail, it is long enough to fly into my eyes when I ride unless I use lots of pins. This includes the times I am roadcycling and wearing a helmet - loose strands won't stay under the helmet, but fly in my face unless I remember to pin them down. Post-ride maintenance is harder as well. When my hair was long and it got disheveled or tangled after a ride, I could simply put it up in a "messy bun" and it would look decent enough. With short hair there is no way to hide the mess; looking presentable after a sweaty or windy ride is a challenge.
So while it may seem counter-intuitive, my experience as a cyclist has been that long hair is easier to deal with: With or without a helmet, I can just tie it back or braid it and forget about it. Now that mine fits into a pony tail again, I am ecstatic and feel like I need to write a note to myself with a reminder to never cut it again. I could see how a buzz-cut or pixie cut would be low-maintenance, but my chin-length bob has been anything but.
What are your thoughts on hair maintenance and cycling? Have you changed or tweaked your hairstyle as a result of riding a bike?