In Memoriam: Unsafe Headgear

In Memoriam: Unsafe Headgear

by / / 175 posts

I appreciate my helmet. I treat it with respect. I never leave for a ride without it. I replace it after a crash or even after helplessly watching it bound down the stairwell like some kind of deformed styrofoam slinky-dink after allowing it to slip from my grasp. (This activity also typically involves some assertions questioning what it does in its spare time, its origins of birth, and things of that nature.) Community member @chaz also recently suggested that, in accordance with motorcycle tradition, we ceremoniously cut the strap on the helmet and hang it in the VVorkshop in deference to the purpose it served us.

Suffice to say, I’m grateful for the advances technology offers us when it comes to protective headgear, because staying alive is in alignment with my strategy. But progress is the slayer of ritual and tradition, and I can’t help but look back longingly to the days when helmets were rarely worn and if they were, they consisted of thin strips of leather that, assuming it stayed on, would do little more than keep your cranium from coming apart after cracking it to bits on a cobblestone or some such object.

The hairnet was the coolest cranial accouterment ever designed, with the insulated cycling cap that fit over it being a close second. The cycling cap on its own was, of course, also a class piece of kit to be worn forwards, sideways, or backwards – made cooler only by perching a set of cycling-specific shades on top of it. A helmetless head saw hair slicked back by the wind as a byproduct of the V as riders raised their arms in triumph over the finish line. The bare noggin on the high mountain passes was a beacon of Purified Awesome, allowing us to see in all their glory the suffering faces of the riders as they moved sur la plaque over the summit.

Take a moment, fellow Velominati, to honor the Useless Headgear of our past.

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// In Memoriam

  1. @mouse

    @D-Man
    BORING!

    Just keep it coming, I could do this all day…

    Keep em coming buddy!

  2. As a brief comment (I’m done arguing my specific point), the referenced study- driver reactions to helmeted vs unhelmeted bikers- was done locally, IIRC. A guy spent a lot of time with video camera helmeted and not, noted the distance that cars gave bikers. YES- its TRUE- drivers gave bikers w naked heads more room on average during this “study.”

    I think that to the person, (and pardon me for speaking for anyone out of turn), we all worry about the driver that doesn’t see us. And that is not a partisan, racialist, socialist, nationalist, fascist, druggist (running out of ists) issue.

    Like most of us, the guy doing the study rode his bike a lot in traffic and had a few brushes with badness but his number never came up. And thats what that study showed.

  3. @D-Man

    neither did they ride lightweight carbon frames with a thousand-tooth rear cog. And I sure as sh*t aint going to trade my carbon beauty for a clapped out 13kg steel stinker on wheels with a 19 tooth / 43 chainring combo just to emulate the heros of a bygone era.

    I could not care less about all the hemlet/non-helmet stuff on this thread but the above line raised my eyebrows (some of the few remaining hairs on this perfect head of mine): Just have to say don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

    I just recently purchased an older steel Merckx that is heavy as shit compared to my bike #1 but there is a certain sublime beauty in the ride of #2 that the new, light wieght steed will never afford me.

    But, everyone, carry on with your aggression building, just make sure to take it all out on some intervals or hill repeats later today or tomorrow!

  4. @gaswepass
    Helmets do sweet FA to protect people hit by cars and they are only really small protection against minor impacts. Most head injury fatalities would have occurred with or without a helmet, and people who trust that their helmet is somehow going to protect them from a car impact need to think again.

    If you show me your damaged helmet claiming it saved your life when you were hit by a car or crashed, I just think your number wasn’t up and that you were lucky.

  5. Going to chime in one last time. Bottom line: getting hit by a car sucks. Hitting a moving or stationary object while riding your bike sucks as well. Smashing your head against the ground sucks. Whether you do it with our without a helmet doesn’t change the fact. Wear a helmet, or don’t. I always wear one, but I’m secretly envious of those who don’t because they look cooler than those who do.

    Bottom line: don’t get hit by a car. Period.

  6. I’m personally far more worried about breaking my neck or back in a fall and being paralyzed than I am about a bad head injury while cycling. But my daily driving is probably more dangerous than my time spent cycling, so I just choose not to worry about it.

  7. Lighten up everybody. I hate to admit it, but Minion is right. No one will change anyone else’s mind on this topic so let it go. However, to finish the discussion, I have two times one thousand words in favor of helmets.

    1. She wears one.

    2. And so does Gianni

  8. @Marcus

    Is that another one of your dude-dressed-as-a-lady models? Where is @Scaler911 when you need someone to tell them apart?

  9. @mcsqueak
    @Scaler911 can’t tell us if it’s a man or woman. All he can do is tell us if the individual turns him on or not. The process is that we then tell HIM if its a male or female and then we mock him based on the results and his reaction.

  10. @mcsqueak

    @Marcus
    Is that another one of your dude-dressed-as-a-lady models? Where is @Scaler911 when you need someone to tell them apart?

    Mate – its a fucking chihuahua. Not sure of the gender.

  11. @Oli

    @gaswepass
    Helmets do sweet FA to protect people hit by cars and they are only really small protection against minor impacts. Most head injury fatalities would have occurred with or without a helmet, and people who trust that their helmet is somehow going to protect them from a car impact need to think again.
    If you show me your damaged helmet claiming it saved your life when you were hit by a car or crashed, I just think your number wasn’t up and that you were lucky.

    Ok. There is pseudo science and then there’s what we know. Can we be done now? Was done before, just addressed the study as it was a big deal at the time since it was local and dear to the residents of the people’s republic of Portland. Hope that part was helpful.

  12. @frank
    The doggie’s kind of doing it for me… is that wrong?

  13. @mcsqueak

    @Marcus
    Is that another one of your dude-dressed-as-a-lady models? Where is @Scaler911 when you need someone to tell them apart?

    @frank

    @mcsqueak
    @Scaler911 can’t tell us if it’s a man or woman. All he can do is tell us if the individual turns him on or not. The process is that we then tell HIM if its a male or female and then we mock him based on the results and his reaction.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vF8vZM-O3hc

  14. @scaler911

    @mcsqueak

    @Marcus
    Is that another one of your dude-dressed-as-a-lady models? Where is @Scaler911 when you need someone to tell them apart?

    @frank

    @mcsqueak
    @Scaler911 can’t tell us if it’s a man or woman. All he can do is tell us if the individual turns him on or not. The process is that we then tell HIM if its a male or female and then we mock him based on the results and his reaction.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vF8vZM-O3hc

    Sure, then it doesn’t let me imbed it. Fuck all……….

  15. Right middle finger “I”, left middle finger “E”. I’m going to put on my helmet and have a beer.

  16. @sgt

    That woman dressed as a sheep had a similar effect on me the other day. Definitely wrong.

  17. @gaswepass
    Stop being such a pious dogma-pusher and maybe I’ll stop, but you don’t decide what’s real or what’s not and you certainly don’t get the last word by telling me so.

  18. @gaswepass, @Oli
    OK, girls. You’re both pretty. Time to stop.

  19. On the subject of posting pics of women, here are some worthwhile shots. Note they’re both wearing clothes, and note that they’re way more badass than the other women posted recently.

  20. @frank
    Spot on, Fronk. Now, can we get a nipply podium shot of these ladies?

  21. @frank
    Look at those sexy canti brakes!

  22. @Frank Can’t you lock threads ?

    And then put it in a box and throw away the allen key…

  23. @frank
    Look mum, no helmet!

  24. @RedRanger
    Those cantis are HOT!

    Also @Oli, you are HOT! @gaswepass, you are HOT!

    All the same, move on now, nothing to see here.

  25. Do we let @scaler911 weigh in on that last pic?

  26. @gaswepass

    Do we let @scaler911 weigh in on that last pic?

    Reasonably sure that not only is that a chicka, but I wouldn’t stand a chance.

  27. @Marcus

    Lighten up everybody. I hate to admit it, but Minion is right. >

    Fucken, what? Did it just get a little weird round here or what?

    Just to break the tension

  28. @Marcus

    @frank
    Look mum, no helmet!

    Ya, but it’s a fucking Trek.

  29. @scaler911
    You do know that’s a pic of Lance, with Vic Pendleton’s face photoshopped on right?

  30. @frank

    On the subject of posting pics of women, here are some worthwhile shots. Note they’re both wearing clothes, and note that they’re way more badass than the other women posted recently.

    Hmm, yeah. True enough.

    @Oli
    Take that!

    @gaswepass
    I owe you one.

  31. @scaler911

    @Marcus

    @frank
    Look mum, no helmet!

    Ya, but it’s a fucking Trek.

    The bike looks way too small for her and those tires have gotta be some kind of rule violation too.

  32. @wiscot
    Yes. But that said, I’d follow that blue tyre around for a K or 2.

  33. Could wheel suck for a few Ks too

  34. @ChrisO

    Oh God, helmets – the bike forum equivalent of Godwin’s law.

    I’m genuinely sorry this has come up, so I’m just going to not come here for the next few days otherwise I will be tempted to argue with all the ‘believers’.

    Suffice to say I do not wear a helmet.

    There is little or no actual evidence of their benefit as a matter of statistics.

    Check the actual standard your helmet is tested to and see if it matches your riding. And the faster you ride the less effect – that’s physics.

    There is evidence of their harm in preventing cycling, which has greater effect on overall safety.

    They portray cycling as a dangerous activity and allow it to be marginalised.

    You wear them if you like. I’m not stopping you and I’m not commenting on your choice or what it says about you.

    But I really genuinely object to portraying people like me who make a different choice, especially one they have given some thought to, as stupid, ignorant and reckless.

    Whoever suggested making a Rule… the day that happens is the day I stop being a Velominati.

    See you in a few days.

    I would prefer to review your dissertation on riding ‘unhelmeted’ (thanx for the term Frank) if you have it readily available. This rant began by crying out “Oh, God… ahh… no helmets.” and God most likely discerns, “and he still knows not what he does.” If you could ride (starting now) for one year wearing a helmet, you then would have gained some merit. Otherwise, you are in a sense unchurched.

  35. Made it thru entirely — The Great Helmet War !! But I made an assumption that your battle was waged over which helmet performed best, cost most or least, and looked overly (Billy Crystal) FAN-TAS-TIC !! Of course the Velominati found other veins thru the discussion — bar setups, models, science, and iPhones ?? — everything that the Velominati usually like to discuss here. And all that you chose to discuss here became more useful than any discussion on whether to wear a helmet — or not (No Shakespeare) !! So let’s agree to wage another World Helmet War conflict over whatever a helmet should be and should not be. Not no helmet at all !! (South speak)

  36. @Vin’cenza
    As you say, it should assist you in looking fantastic, end of story.

  37. Presenting the Greatest (photo) helmet concept — with a Sword !!

  38. @snoov

    @Vin’cenza
    As you say, it should assist you in looking fantastic, end of story.

    Where was the story — missed it. Period!

  39. @Vin’cenza

    Actually the ‘rant’ began ‘Oh god a helmet debate…’ quite a different thing.

    My point is, I see no point in debating the subject – I didn’t then and I don’t now.

    If you genuinely wish to find out more I can suggest the following:

    1. The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute – a pro-compulsion group. Among other things this site compares the various safety standards across Europe, US and Australia and gives details of the tests.
    http://www.bhsi.org/stdcomp.htm

    2. A fairly neutral UK-based industry group aimed at the general population. Has a good description of how helmets actually work and links to further reading.
    http://www.whycycle.co.uk/safety_and_security/cycling_helmets/

    3. The main anti-compulsion group. Worth reading their analyses of various pieces of research.
    http://www.cyclehelmets.org

    4. The inevitable Wikipedia entry. Worth noting the section on design intentions and standards.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_helmet

    You may also wish to peruse the site of the UK’s Cyclists Touring Club, one of (if not the) oldest and largest cycling organisations in the world, and which adopts a pro-choice stance.

    For the record, if I may correct one assumption you seem to have made – that I don’t ever wear a helmet. As a matter of course I don’t, but there are situations where I do e.g. when I used to commute in London I would usually wear one, so I’m not coming at this from an ‘unchurched’ point of view.

    However I find your choice of religious terminology quite interesting given my view that helmets are an article of belief and beyond debate for most people.

    I may be nailing the Messiah to the cross but don’t worry I won’t be casting lots for your helmet ;-)

  40. @ChrisO

    @Vin’cenza

    Actually the ‘rant’ began ‘Oh god a helmet debate…’ quite a different thing.

    My point is, I see no point in debating the subject – I didn’t then and I don’t now.

    If you genuinely wish to find out more I can suggest the following:

    1. The Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute – a pro-compulsion group. Among other things this site compares the various safety standards across Europe, US and Australia and gives details of the tests. http://www.bhsi.org/stdcomp.htm

    2. A fairly neutral UK-based industry group aimed at the general population. Has a good description of how helmets actually work and links to further reading. http://www.whycycle.co.uk/safety_and_security/cycling_helmets/

    3. The main anti-compulsion group. Worth reading their analyses of various pieces of research. http://www.cyclehelmets.org

    4. The inevitable Wikipedia entry. Worth noting the section on design intentions and standards. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_helmet

    You may also wish to peruse the site of the UK’s Cyclists Touring Club, one of (if not the) oldest and largest cycling organisations in the world, and which adopts a pro-choice stance.

    For the record, if I may correct one assumption you seem to have made – that I don’t ever wear a helmet. As a matter of course I don’t, but there are situations where I do e.g. when I used to commute in London I would usually wear one, so I’m not coming at this from an ‘unchurched’ point of view.

    However I find your choice of religious terminology quite interesting given my view that helmets are an article of belief and beyond debate for most people.

    I may be nailing the Messiah to the cross but don’t worry I won’t be casting lots for your helmet ;-)

    4 points and no use (to me). Need links to BLOWOUT sales on hi-quality helmets. For those that believe and still look good believing.

  41. See you in a few days.

  42. @Vin’cenza
    When I got my sterling I ordered it from the distributor. Msrp on it is 230. I found a coupon code via the google that was 50% off. Totally pro helmet for under 120? Tits!

  43. @Vin’cenza

    @RedRanger
    Tried Red Ranger’s thing on e-Rudy site, promotional code “50helmets” and indeed a Sterling for 50% off ($115).

  44. @xyxax
    Awesome!

  45. @RedRanger

    @xyxax
    Rudy Project is one of my teams sponsors, and while we get a better deal than that, I gotta say that they are really nice helmets (and glasses). Worth full retail, and a helluva deal if you can get ’em half off.
    I’m not just pimping my sponsor either. It’s just nice gear.

  46. @scaler911
    totally agree. I had been lusting over one back when I lived in Italy, but couldnt find em. when I found that deal I acted on it right away. no regrets

  47. @scaler911

    @RedRanger
    No, I’m really glad to get your personal recommendations on items like this, where there are a fuckzillion options and no time for due diligence. Much appreciated.

  48. @xyxax

    I have a Lazer I quite like, but it is just one of many options out there. The high-end Giros didn’t feel right, so I tried Lazer and it fit like a glove – I also like how they look. I have the Lazer O2, which is middle of the road I think in terms of their lineup, at around ~$100 retail.

  49. @mcsqueak
    Thanks man. That’s the helmet in your avatar? I like.
    I impulse-bought the RP right after posting, in white, a la toi.
    Next up: white shoes.
    Goal: looking like a Q-tip.

  50. nothing quite like the sound of your helmet breaking while it’s on your head to convince you to wear one the next time too.

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