There’s no real need to look like a dork

We were happy to see another unhelmeted bicycle commuter this morning. We don’t use a helmet on our commute, and we don’t want you to either. The helmet business came about because of reckless mountain biking and the use of smallish-wheeled bicycles for extreme cycling. If you ride a bicycle to work, pedaling at a walk rather than a run, your helmet may actually do you harm. Drivers give wider berth to helmetless bikers than they do to spandexed and helmeted bikers. When Australian busybodies passed a helmet requirement law, bike riding plummeted. The countries with the highest rate of bicycle commuting and bicycle safety are Denmark and The Netherlands. Neither country requires helmets, and helmets are seldom seen there. We have noticed that the people who take us to task for our lack of a helmet tend to be inactive suburbanites who very much need to be burning calories. We also wear our business clothes on our commute. We have no need for the soon-to-be-built riverfront bicycle showers because we don’t work up a sweat on our commute. We have had no luck at all getting this point across to the Non Blogger who could easily pedal her three miles to get here but doesn’t because she doesn’t want to arrive in a lather.

Bicycling is not inherently dangerous. Intemperate high-speed cycling can be dangerous. Idiots on mobile telephones in gigantic vehicles are a peril to everyone, even the helmeted.

Next post: Cargo bikes and their use as book delivery vehicles.

– Nemo Wolfe

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Published in: on May 6, 2010 at 10:16 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. A friend of mine found his helmet most useful for drying his underwear. He would stretch the utrou over the helmet & strap it to his sleeping bag on the back of his bike. The air would go through the holes in his helmet & dry his underpants real quick.
    I have heard the rear seated cyclists on tandem bikes like using them to whack the front riders after making wrong turns, too.

  2. Whacked helmet noise – giant beetle clicks. V. appropriate somehow.

  3. I get the point; I’d rather not look dorky or have to see dorks. But what if after work, you want to race cars through lights and down the hill, maybe pass a few people to give yourself a sense of tangible progress that you might not otherwise feel at your job? I sometimes keep my plastic dork-shell in my rack-trunk bag on the slower (80% uphill) way to work to avoid helmet hair. Then I strap it on and put the hammer down to go home. In about 20 years and a few thousand miles of riding and occasionally crashing full-size bicycles, I’ve never whacked my head on the ground, but it would only take once to scramble the eggs inside–a risk I’d rather avoid when not getting hit depends upon on the skill and attention of drivers. And nothing is going to save some of us (me included) from looking like dorks.


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