Can cycling and fashion ever go together?
Is it time to start walking round Sidgwick in lycra?
Cycling in itself is enough of a struggle. And that's before you try to find an outfit to wear that looks chic, but at the same time doesn't create wardrobe malfunctions when you are pedalling. It appears a completely impossible task, but one that, as a Girton student, some of us have no choice but to take on.
Having to cycle so far along the interminable stretch of Huntington road every day only makes things worse. I have no choice but to run into my lectures with flat, sweaty helmet hair stuck to my forehead and a disturbingly high possibility of under-arm sweat patches. It's not exactly the trend I was hoping to set this year…
This is not even the main worry that my fellow cyclists face. Breezy days + flowing skirt = a Marilyn Monroe moment (except this "moment" lasts the whole journey, and you can't even pull your skirt down for the risk of tumbling off your bike and looking like an EVEN bigger idiot. Your choice of underwear on these days is absolutely crucial (note – NO Bridget Jones panties…)
This has a tendency to what is commonly known in Girton as "bike fashion paranoia": the constant anxiety of, "Is my bottom on display to the whole world?" All for the sake of fashion.
In my travels around Cambridge I have seen an increasing trend towards higher risk taking, with some students even travelling along roads sans helmets. Sorry Shakespeare, but it's no longer "To be or not to be?" that is the question. It's now "to risk helmet hair, or possible death (but still have your hear looking on fleek)".
There's nothing worse than having freshly-straightened hair (Herbal Essences models watch out), only to have your bike helmet insist on taking you back to looking like your pre-puberty, pre-uni days. Should you listen to your hair or to logic? "Discuss whether good hair is worth the risk of becoming roadkill?", occupies my mind more often than my weekly essays on certain days.
This becomes an even more pressing concern when the winter coat comes out of the closet. There's that terrifying moment when you feel your coat twist up the back wheel; the material snagging up while you're trying to nonchalantly act like you're not worried about that new coat being damaged before winter has actually even begun. It's time to start treating your coat like the way you treat your helmet hair: tie it up in and try not to think about it.
As they say, no pain, no gain. Despite all the struggles of coordinating your outfit with your bike, it is ultimately possible to live the best of both worlds (although that is admittedly with a few embarassing, risky, or even near-death moments.) Yet what is life without a little adventure. By the end of three years, will I even care about my oversized, frilly knickers being on display? Yes, probably I still will…