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Old 04-22-09, 12:45 PM   #1
PercussivePaul
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Touring and long hair

Hi everyone, this is my first post here, and I'm asking on behalf of my girlfriend.

We're going touring down the pacific coast for two months this summer. She has really long hair and is wondering if she should chop it all off. Right now it's tough but not impossible to fit it under a bike helmet. Given potential heat and sweat and several days without showers, short hair seems like it would be easier.

What in your experience is the best hair length? Can you get by with long or mid-length hair? How short should one cut it?

Thanks!
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Old 04-22-09, 01:02 PM   #2
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Pony tail? Is it abnormally long?
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Old 04-22-09, 01:25 PM   #3
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I would SO not cut my hair off!!! I have not-that-long (mid-back) but really thick-and-curly hair. I never try to get it *in* my helmet. It needs to stick out the back.

Just braid it, and if it's really long, tie the braid in a knot or two. The braid should sit low on the back of her head, so it just comes out below the helmet. Or maybe two low braids could work. It might not be an attractive walking-around-town style, but who cares. It also really helps to keep it from becoming knotted from flying around in the wind. Keeping it braided at night also helps to keep the knots at bay. If it's seriously long, just make sure to control it so it doesn't get caught in wheels, etc.

I carry all my normal hair products on tour - shampoo, conditioner, gel, a comb. It's no big deal.
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Old 04-22-09, 01:31 PM   #4
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I have curly afro-like hair that, when long enough, molds itself to the inside shape of my helmet. Very amusing if you see it, but after a while I get tired of the laughter. Short works better for me.
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Old 04-22-09, 01:32 PM   #5
Shadiyah
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I have relatively long hair, and it didn't bother me too much while on tour. I found that braided pigtails work well.
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Old 04-22-09, 01:38 PM   #6
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I'm with valygrl -- I wouldn't cut my hair. My hair falls to a bit past the midpoint of neck-to-waist. I have an INSANE hatred of excessive heat and humidity, but I ride a ton in those conditions, including day-long riding. I tie my hair back into a single ponytail, low on my neck so it doesn't interfere with the helmet, and then I braid the ponytail. It keeps the hair mostly off my neck (which is my big irritant when it's hot/humid) and at the end of the day, when I undo the braid, my hair is not at all tangled.

A recommendation: your gf should get one of those microfiber, waffle-weave backpacking towels.

http://www.rei.com/product/783075

They're extremely non-bulky, dry incredibly fast, never smell funny, and will absorb a ton of moisture from her hair if she wraps it up tight for just a few minutes. This makes the hair-drying process go a lot faster. I have a couple that I take on camping trips, and they're also what I use (for both hair and body) for my shower at work after my bike commute.
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Old 04-22-09, 02:28 PM   #7
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Here are a few shots of my hair, and how I deal with it while cycling in general, and also on tour.

First of all, here it is loose. I'm at a wedding there, not a cycling event ... I'm the one with my back to the camera with the reddish hair. Before my tours, I have cut a few inches off the bottom, but not much, and it does keep growing.



And these are a couple shots of how I wear my hair when I'm cycling. When I'm on a tour, I put it up like that, and it might be several days before I take it down to wash it or whatever. But it doesn't get messed up very much and is easy to handle.





And you can see my hair while I'm cycling in this photo, with my helmet on.



And again you can see how it works with the helmet in this photo as well. The bottom of the braid is on the other side of the camelbak.

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Old 04-22-09, 02:29 PM   #8
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I just keep mine in a ponytail. No problems.
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Old 04-22-09, 03:31 PM   #9
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IIRC there have been women racers with ponytails. My first tours were done as a long haired kid with it it tied in a twisty.
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Old 04-22-09, 04:03 PM   #10
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My daughter and her room mate from college left theirs longish and I was amazed that they managed to always look good. Even when we didn't have a chance to shower for fairly long periods they seemed to look good. Most of the time when riding they wore ponytails, but sometimes a braid, I think.

At one point Erica said she was jealous of my buzzed head but said there was no way she would cut it for the trip. One local girl did shave her head before her coast to coast tour. As a guy buzzing my head before a tour is the easy way to go.
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Old 04-22-09, 07:30 PM   #11
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I'm worried about this. I've recently grown my hair and it's a massive puff-ball of curls. It's not really easy to tie up because it grows outwards at the same length in every direction (imagine a halo of brown).

It's taken me ages but it's so, so, so hot with a helmet on. What a horrendous choice I'll have to make come the summer!
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Old 04-22-09, 10:35 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
My daughter and her room mate from college left theirs longish and I was amazed that they managed to always look good. Even when we didn't have a chance to shower for fairly long periods they seemed to look good. Most of the time when riding they wore ponytails, but sometimes a braid, I think.

At one point Erica said she was jealous of my buzzed head but said there was no way she would cut it for the trip. One local girl did shave her head before her coast to coast tour. As a guy buzzing my head before a tour is the easy way to go.
You've helped persuade me to do the same when I take my two-week tour in June.
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Old 04-22-09, 10:47 PM   #13
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Yep, I've got long hair too and had it for the 2.5 years of touring so far. I wind it up so it fits snug just under my helmet and it is comfortable for riding. Only times it peeves me are when I cant wash it for long periods of time, and in teh colder climates when I sweat a lot.

So, if you like your long hair: keep it
Sonya
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Old 04-23-09, 05:54 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
You've helped persuade me to do the same when I take my two-week tour in June.
Buzzed hair is so nice on tour. Just watch out for sunburn especially when you first buzz it.
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Old 04-23-09, 12:28 PM   #15
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I definitely would not cut my hair, but then after being traumatized with a pixie cut from waist length hair when I was 13(thanks Godmother Barb for the aweful birthday ), I'm a bit biased.

My hair tangles like crazy, but I just pull it back in a nape of the neck ponytail and then braid the tail and alls good. Stays out the way of the helmet, doesn't stick to my neck when I sweat. Three years of dealing with long hair and helmet and I've still had no impulse to cut it.

Oh, and Machka... I'm having hair envy! I wish mine looked so thick and grew that long!
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