A Modest Proposal—
For A Stylish Bike Helmet
The Times has noticed it, and if you’ve been racing around the city, you’ve likely noticed it, too: Bikes—and bike chic—are proliferating in New York lately, especially among stylish girls, thanks in part to the city’s many new bike lanes. (The same movement is happening in London, too, which recently introduced a bike-share program.) During fashion week in September, bikes were actually one of the best ways to get around, from Alexander Wang at Pier 94 to Band of Outsiders’ presentation on West 22nd Street, from MAC & Milk to Lincoln Center and back. (Good luck finding those cabs, especially circa 4 p.m.)
But here’s the rub: If you want to avoid grievous injury, you need a helmet, and that’s still the weak link in the stylish gal’s cycling ensemble. If you’re a skillful enough cyclist, you can bike in most heels, and if you’re willing to endure catcalls from truckers, a floaty skirt works just fine. But the helmet, oy. Leave aside the insult to the daily hairdo—the options currently on the market in and of themselves are, for the most part, ugly. Fashion ought to rise to the challenge of making the bike helmet a sought-after accessory, much in the way it has risen to the challenge of creating desirable laptop bags and iPad cases. It’s good business, for one thing.
Over fashion week, as I was cycling back and forth to shows, I threw this challenge out to the jewelry designers Wade Jensen and Moire Conroy, of Jensen-Conroy. I dropped off a matte black helmet at their studio, and they returned a helmet knit over in silvery-blue, in the vein of the knit-wrapped jewelry they create. I’m so pleased with the results, I’m tempted to drop off more helmets with other designers, so I can coordinate with various outfits. Unless, of course, labels begin to get the hint and start doing it for me. Designers everywhere, please: Get on board with the non-bogus bike trend and make some cool helmets. Collaborate with a helmet-maker, like Bell. To you street-style bloggers who love to photograph girls on bikes: For crying out loud, starting photographing them in helmets, before you initiate a trend of major brain injuries. Truckers: Shut up. And everyone else: Stay out of my lane.