I admit for the longest time, I never wore a bike helmet. The only reason -- vanity. I just didn't want to deal with helmet hair. But one day, I was planning a ride with my new beau, who rides centuries. "Where's your helmet?" he asked, "Don't have one." "I'm not riding with you if you don’t have a helmet." So off to the bike store we went. The next week, I was planning to ride with a girlfriend. I had a moment's hesitation -- do I have to wear the helmet? -- when I decided, might as well. Of course, I fell, a big, bad fall in which I skid quite a distance on the road ... on my face! Fortunately, my friend is an emergency room doc, and she biked home, got her car, threw me in and then cleaned my face and shoulder of gravel for more than an hour. When I looked at my helmet, it had a deep gash -- which would have been my head. I bought a new one. There's a lesson here. I often see people riding without a helmet. From my experience and from reading "Carved in Sand," which talks about how minor concussions can lead to memory loss and forgetfulness in midlife, I have let go of vanity and never ride without a helmet. You shouldn't, either
It's great that you wrote this. I never thought I'd have to worry about falling off a bike and hurting my head, and I haven't to this day luckily, so it took seeing a lot of concerned frowns on my friends' faces until I gave in and bought one. And I'm glad I did.
As far as bad hair (and that's pretty easy to do since mine is naturally curly), I try not to worry about it since on longer trips I'm going to be sweaty and tired anyways, so a shower is the next step. But, I also bike to work. On those days, i try to wear my hair up all day in a bun, so as to minimize the bad hair look. Although, you could also try a shower cap under your helmet, to help keep your hair somewhat tamed.