Heels on Wheels, A Guide to Cycling for Ladies, is a sweet little guide for girls on bikes. Now that more and more women are getting into cycling, there is a newly flourishing industry of how-to books.
Let's face it; we have different issues. Such as clothes, helmets, shoes, skirts and make-up and arriving at work in a presentable manner.
The book deals with all of these matters in a light-hearted but serious way. It starts right at the beginning: helping to establish what kind of cyclist you are and therefore, what kind of bicycle you need.
Are you the Fashion Victim, the Earth Mother, the Speed Demon or the Retro Rider? That will determine the bicycle that you will want including special sections on gears, saddle, and handle bars.
Then we get to the important bits: cycle chic. That includes make-up (wear lots of moisturizer), skirts or trousers, shoes, baskets, bells.
The author is an avid London cyclist who has good, practical information on these important sartorial challenges.
Always controversial, the author is solidly pro-helmet despite what they do to your hair. Things to keep in mind when choosing a helmet: ventilation is good, clear vision is necessary, as is a good fit. Avoid anything too heavy: it will make your neck ache.
She advises wearing sun glasses, gloves and no capes.
As for skirts: forget the long ones, don't try and tie yours up, and don't wear big floaty ones because they do just that. She hates cycling shorts.
Beware of skinny tight jeans with no give: the minute you lean forward, your backside is in full view. So make sure you wear a long top.
She advises that ballet slippers won't hold up for a long ride and if you are wearing heels make them stacked or wedged.
As for perspiration: wear cotton underwear, use antiperspirant on your back and chest as well as underarms, dress in layers. Keep a little pack of wet wipes in your desk.
But once she is over the girlie stuff, there is much good information for all sexes. Bike maintenance, how to ensure your bicycle won't be stolen, bike safety and safe riding and parking.
It's true, much of the information is available everywhere. However the delightful combination of cycling and style, and the acknowledgement that the two can be happy and compatible is unique and encouraging. Available in the UK and the USA, it is an important contribution to the literature.
Here's one lovely quote from Anne Strong in 1895:
The bicycle is just as good company as most husbands and, when it gets old and shabby, a woman can dispose of it and get a new one without shocking the entire community.