Spring is here, summer is on its way and my bike is just about ready for its first spin. With 300 km worth of bike lanes and another 60 km promised to be open by the end of the summer, Montreal is one of the friendliest biking cities in North America. Though the deadline for the new paths is likely optimistic (I’m guessing the real date will be closer to the end of October), it goes a long way to defining the kind of city Montreal’s become. Or at least the kind of residents it lures.
I’ve spent the last few summers zipping around town helmet-free but after seasons of tisk-tisking from fellow riders, I’ve decided to do the responsible thing and get a helmet, my only problem now, is finding one. Despite being one of the most stylish cities in Canada there’s a discrepancy when it comes to being a stylish cyclist. In a city known as the epicentre of emerging trends the kind of cycling gear on the market is anything but interesting.
I ride a vintage Raleigh cruiser that an old roommate found abandoned and covered in dust in the basement of an apartment block. It’s the kind of bike that doesn’t require a lot of work (I’ve only had to do a major tune up once), but it’s got a distinct look that demands a touch of nostalgia when it comes to accessories. A flashy, aero-dynamic helmet would look a little silly when I’m bombing along at six kilometres per hour—but so far, it’s the only kind I’ve been able to find. (Okay, okay, so I’ve found a couple of skateboarding style helmets as well but those too were emblazoned with stick on flowers or demons.)
As cycling culture takes over in major cities like Paris, London and New York (the New York Times featured Dutch bikes in a fashion spread last week) cycling blogs are popping up featuring stylish accessories for women. But why is a city so dedicated to two-wheel transportation so blind to its female riders? So this week I’m a hunt for functional, stylish headgear that’ll make me feel okay about the helmet head I’ll be sporting at the office for the rest of the summer.