Monday, January 4, 2010

A Tip of the Helmet: Taintless in 2010

This morning, I tentatively crept out of my hidey-hole and found that the holidays were indeed finally over. The Christmas trees have been cast out to the curb, the menorahs extinguished, the nog imbibed, and the hangovers remedied. All that is left now is to embark upon the upcoming year like a mountain biker confronts a long stretch of technical singletrack: excited yet frightened, over-equipped, poorly groomed, and sufficiently stoned.

Despite having recently decried the notion of New Year's resolutions, the truth is that beneath the topsoil of my sarcasm lies an an aquifer of sincerity, and I do in fact aspire to improve myself each year and to one day become a person without taint. (I mean "without taint" in the "uncontaminated" sense, not in the "lacking a grundle" sense.) This is difficult, for the world is full of taint, and we must first learn to recognize it so that we may keep it from seeping into our aquifers and poisoning our inner waters. It is important to remember that even the most seemingly benign wellsprings can be tainted with misinformation. Take, for example, "Bicycling" magazine.

As I alluded to earlier, I spent the latter part of the holidays in deep seclusion--though not so deep that I didn't have access to a well-known pharmacy chain, where I found myself one evening shopping for the sorts of mildly embarrassing items one obtains in a drug store. Passing the magazine rack, I noticed the January/February issue of "Bicycling," so I stopped to confirm that they're actually printing my column. (They constantly assure me they are, but I remain skeptical.) It occurred to me as I leafed through the magazine that I was already about to purchase an armful of embarrassing items so I might as well purchase "Bicycling" too. (I like to think that cashiers at well-known pharmacy chains don't discriminate between, say, fungal infection sufferers and fungal infection sufferers who read "Bicycling" magazine.) Indeed, the cashier appeared only slightly nonplussed (though that might be because I insisted she triple-bag the magazine to guard against translucency), and I left the store with some change in my pocket and my dignity only mildly fractured.

The next morning, I found myself in the bathroom (thanks in part to some of the embarrassing items I'd purchased the night before), where I was pleased to have the new reading material. However, my pleasure turned to concern when I flipped open the magazine and saw this advertisement on the inside of the front cover:

The gentleman riding the Serotta (or "Dental Chair" as I prefer to call Serottas) is of course Chris Carmichael, the Deepak Chopra of cycling coaches. I did "Look Closer at Chris Charmichael" as the ad bade me to do, and the first thing I noticed was his helmet strap, which hung beneath his chin like a rooster's wattle:It should go without saying that this is not the proper way to wear a helmet--unless you prefer to let it hang from your neck between your shoulder blades in the manner of a cowboy:
Still, I decided to forgive "Bicycling" for this error. Certainly as a contributor I'm biased, but the fact is that there is a difference between an advertisement and editorial content, and this was the former. If Nissan places an advertisement featuring Chris Carmichael wearing an improperly adjusted helmet, or Chris Carmichael himself runs an ad with his company's URL misspelled and a phantom rider's wheel visible between another rider's legs, it's not really "Bicycling's" responsibility to point out those errors. Even so, I was still dismayed to find this Jamis ad just a few pages later:


While it's certainly good to see a celebrity of Joachim Phoenix's stature riding a bicycle, it's a shame that he's wearing his helmet at such a jaunty angle:


Like many forms of headwear, a helmet has a job to do. A sombrero protects you from the sun; a beer hat feeds you beer; a beer sombrero protects you from the sun and feeds you beer; and a helmet protects your head from impact. However, your helmet can only do its job if it is worn correctly, and in this case the entire frontal portion of Phoenix's cranium is exposed, thus transforming the helmet from a form of headwear with an actual job to do into a form of headwear with a merely symbolic job to do. Really, you can wear symbolic headwear any way you like, since it's only the act of wearing it that's important. For example, you can wear a yarmulke (or kippah, or crêpe de la tête) way back on your head, because it doesn't really do anything--it just appeases "God" with its presence:


Similarly, if you're a fashion victim you can wear a fedorah way back on your head, since it's not really doing anything except broadcasting your victimhood to the world (as are your driving gloves, which you wear to not drive the car you don't have):


Symbolic headwear doesn't only have to be worn jauntily on the back of the head, either. It can also be worn forward over the eyes to convey douchiness:

But a helmet actually does something, so it should be worn properly--which means it should stay below the hairline. Fortunately, I did eventually find an ad in "Bicycling" featuring a properly-worn helmet:

As a pro cyclist, Levi Leipheimer knows how to wear a helmet. By the way, you don't need to have a hairline to determine whether you're wearing your helmet properly. Leipheimer doesn't have a hairline either, so he aligns it with the top of his ears instead:


Untainted, and not a hair out of place.

112 comments:

Pontius Pilate said...

HAIL CSZR

-P.P.

silverlocket said...

wooo #2 bitches

landis in 06 said...

boom

landis in 06 said...

2010 here we come

bikramyoganj said...

top 10 in 10!

rezado said...

hi-rez

Anonymous said...

here I am with my hand

Anonymous said...

Top ten what a way to start the decade

Anonymous said...

what's a helmet used for?

Charles said...

Top 10??

wle said...

title should be 'taintless' right, not 'tainless'?

unless there is some uber-dry thing i am not unhip enough to get

wle.

ShallotTzu said...

candr ronson danny ronson

Anonymous Coward said...

Top 20.
I love how Carmichael has a "true" roadie expression in that shot

Bad Lawyer said...

I try to wear my helmet on my neaderthal eyebrow-ridge.

Anonymous said...

There is ahuge difference between a "helmet" and stylish "hard hat". One protects your head, one does not protect your head at well or at all.

Anonymous said...

Helmets are annoying. I'd rather risk traumatic brain injury than have bad hair.

Anonymous said...

Helmets are annoying. I'd rather risk traumatic brain injury than have bad hair.

Anonymous said...

A poorly angled helmet on the head isn't quite as bad as the ol' helmetdanglingfromthehandlebars -- often spotted in NYC's parks. I guess the thinking is: I'm in the park, it's safe, now to undorkify myself and be rid of this unsightly protective device.

Dave said...

Regarding Carmichael's helmet, it would appear that he is also wearing his sunglasses inside the straps. Isn't that a roadie no-no? He should know better.

Maybe they just photoshopped his steely visage onto someone else.

Christian (up)side(down) Hug. said...

I wear my helmet in my messenger bag so it looks like I'm carrying something.

ringcycles said...

Leave it to Levi to show us the light. Letle Veride!

tominator said...

It is interesting to me how uninspiring the Bicycling columns are - it appears that you take a single trope from the plethora of ideas that you explore in your daily post and expand on it minimally. In making this comment, I do not mean to insult the Bicycling column, but rather to point out how much more creative your daily output is. Sort of surprising that Bicycling does not hold you up to a higher standard.

On the other hand, you get paid...

Daddo said...

also, Carmichael is riding a bicycle in an ad for a CAR.

ant1 said...

ant1st!

Anonymous said...

I volunteered with a county effort to give helmets to kids-after an interactive routine designed to get the kids to wear them proudly and get cool stickers for them, it all goes to hell and is for naught when the parents have no interest based on how "THEY didn't have helmets when THEY were kids"..

rezado said...

Everyone should wear a skate helmet or a full-face downhill helmet to make sure the level of cranial protection is high. Actually, if the strap is adjustable it is still liable to get screwed up. At least you cant wear it on the back of your head.

BadBeard said...

'appy nu year Snooby. Lang may your lum reek.

Paul said...

Someone is still tired after coming out his hidey-hole: 1) "Tainless," 2) "The [sic] constantly assure me they are, but I remain skeptical."

You need more column space in Bicycling magazine. Frankly a page would be more appropriate. If the editors are baffled as to where else to cut so as to make more room for you, I'd be happy to offer several suggestions.

youaretheengine said...

Riding with your helmet dangling from the bar ends is such a strange phenomenon. It's much dorkier than simply wearing the helmet. I've also seen many people put the helmet in the front basket, presumably hoping that their head will slip into it as they go over the handlebars.

DarWIN.

Anonymous said...

Also: "(as are your driving your driving gloves, which you wear.."

hillbilly said...

i strap mine around the strap of my bag, kind of a butt protector. Welcome back and happy new year.

Rick Donkey said...

Holy Moley, I actually thought that was Jacquin Phoenix at first. Snob you bamboozled us.

thegock said...

HLMT HAIR

Fergie said...

Is it me or are the straps on Levi's helmet all twisted up?

How hard is it to be a pro cyclists, that you can do it without being able to figure out helmet straps?

cyclotourist said...

I liked the ADHD article in the Nov. Bicycling it was... hey, look at that bird!

rural 14 said...

ant 2nd!

I confess....Nokians on 2 bikes. Scary.

Swashbuckling Dandy said...

Wait. What? You're saying there *is* a difference in editorial content and advertising at Bicycling? Am I terribly confused, or is that a typo?

Anyhow, welcome back! Good to see you in fine form as usual.

mikeweb said...

All hail P.P.!!

MMX will be a most Broman year, the Gods willing.

Snob, you're worried about your inner waters? Perhaps your precious bodily fluids? Don't go all Jack D. Ripper on us...

Also, those aren't driving gloves on the unfortunate hipster. They're ironic duel challenging gloves. When subjected to some affrontery, he slowly pulls them off and uses them to slap the face of the offender.

Happy 2010 all!

flynn said...

wait a second snob, you wear/palp a 69 hat? that's something Michael Ball would do

ant1 said...

i'm a fan of my HLMT HAIR. it stick ups into the vents in my helmet so that, when i take the helmet off, i have little crests of spiky hair all over my head. i guess the trick is having crappy non-helmet hair so that the helmet has nothing to ruin.

ant1 said...

flynn - or somebody who loves cancer.

rezado said...

It would all be worth it for tomacco.

grog said...

pic of bahbushka shot lunch onto my screen. Thanks for the laffs.
Agree Paul: full page in the mag is more appropriate for BSGALAXY.

kale said...

I just realized that the use of quotations around the title of Bicycling is much more appropriate to describe what it's about: 'Bicycling'. (via Carles)

d. fofonov said...

Dyavushka amerikanka showing me ancient and vulnerable Movie The Wizard of Oz. Eyes of mine drawing to bicycle wicked Miss Gulch riding. It is singlespeed. Of significance?I think so maybe yes.

Anonymous said...

Was wondering if Carmichael and the super-silly-serious dork were going to get tagged for wearing their helmets like they don't understand what helmets are for. Any minute now, you'll also notice this Bicycling issue hawks more than the usual number of poseur fixies(thanks Pinarello, I'll pass on the fluff and opt for a decent track bike).

sufferist said...

Herr Snob: Glad to have you back. There were a considerable amount of spelling/grammar errors in the post. Most notably in the title:
A Tip of the Helmet: Tain[t]less in 2010

Still enjoying the crap out of it though.

Much love,


Sufferist

kale said...

Do Serotta or Pinarello have a Taiwanese-made entry level fixie yet?

Industry people:

What's the profit margin for the steel frame fixed gear vs. crabon denticycle?

MINGUStheMECHANIC said...

Carmichael looks like Joe Biden with a helmet on, which would make sense for a car ad, next lance will be in an add for newport cigarettes(ad will only be placed in "urban centers")

Snob, why no mention of drinking with fatty over the holidays?

Sprocketboy said...

Kale: Mr. Pinarello has a shameless Taiwanese aluminium fixie in his not-so-Italian-anymore line-up. I can write this as I am now out of mourning the passing of Fausto Coppi lo these 50years ago.

Welcome back, Mr. Snob. By the way, I have my issues of "Bicycling!" (as they used to style it)sent discreetly by mail to avoid offending passers-by.

Anonymous said...

2010: The Year We Make Contact with oncoming trucks...

kale said...

Sprocketboy,

Thanks

"It's not a track bike exactly...The ($1000) Lungavita is more a urban style cruiser."

Translation:

You're a gay if you buy one.

Anonymous said...

Sufferist 2:09: "There were a considerable NUMBER of ..." > fixed. 'Amount' is non-count, in this usage. Pots and kettles, pots and kettles!

Bad Lawyer said...

I'm highly allergic to bee stings, and per ususal was palping along a country road a few years ago sans bee kit when said bee lit into my helmet vent. I'd love to have a YOUTUBE vid of my one-handed effort to rid myself of the helmet, the cars wildly swerving around the maniac, the maniac hurling his helmet madly into space, the horns of the cars and trucks howling. Pure helmet safety personified.

Neil said...

Is that a new-and-improved 'seal of disapproval' for the new year, or am I just slow to notice the change?

Doug said...

thanks

bikesgonewild said...

...methinks a certain "snob" in nyc, & who shall remain nameless, by his own hand & my keyboard, has yet to find his legs (read: HIS keyboard) after his two (count 'em, 2) holiday hiatuses (hiatii ???)...

...grammatical instability abounds as we broach the new year...why wear a helmet when obviously the damage has been done ???...

yogisurf said...

I haven't read the whole post yet, but I did notice the title "Tainless" appears to be a typo. Do you mean Taintless?

broomie said...

I just whacked off my tain only to find out it was a typo?

sufferist said...

Anon 2:29: I stand corrected, dejected and deeply affected.

bikesgonewild said...

...jeezus h christ, bsnyc/rtms...i realize your sidebar advertising pays for the hummus & pot stickers but do you ever bother to look at the fucking sleazeball shit they pass off as "product" over there, in your name ???...

...truly sad...

CARmichael Guzzling Systems said...

apart from inconsistencies in his helmet donning, no cyclist worth his salt asked why Chris Carmichael is Chris CAR-michael haha

Ronsonic said...

Kale, you are not only wrong, but politically incorrect. Re the fashion fixie you said "You're a gay if you buy one." This is not so. To be "a gay" would mean one is homosexual. NTTAWWT. The truth is that buying one does not make you "a gay" it makes you "gay." Which is to say, silly, frivolous and not one to be taken seriously.

A suggested alternative would be that riding one of those makes you "teh ghey."

kale said...

Ron-

Don't blame me, that's just what Google Translate spit out for the English translation from "Pushysalesmansellingshitudontneedese".

Anonymous said...

Just admit it...you wrote the "Stuff White people like" desk calendar my sis in law got me for Xmas.

Just The Messenger said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bike locks said...

Welcome back into the new year.

Just The Messenger said...

Holy Crap, it's a PSA. As much as I love the ranting, I can't remember ever reading something as publicly useful. I commend thee sir.

Disgruntl Ed. said...

Tainless 69!

Bicycling has no copy editors? Can't they spell crabon?

Who are the constantly assure?

And Happy New Year.

Anonymous said...

I just saw a relevant photo on FAILblog: http://failblog.files.wordpress.com/2009/12/epic-fail-hard-hat-fail.jpg

Anonymous said...

I would wear a helmet but they don't make a helmet for blonde hair.

CommieCanuck said...

What's the profit margin for the steel frame fixed gear vs. crabon denticycle?

The price and profits of bikes have nothing to do with how, or what they made of. If you can con suckers to pay, the profit can be infinite.
Pinarello and Colnago used to justify their stupid prices with "made in Italy" with photos of 75 year old gepetto-like artisans lovingly crafting each frame for weeks before singing an opera finale to see each and every frame off. Now, it's a 12 year old girl named Kwan working for bread and water to craft the gran fungulo speciale, but the price is the same.

As for steel frames, it's all about the waiting list, I hear chick with nice boobs who put out go to the front of the line.

Kwan said...

Rice, actually. And I'm thirteen now.

BikeSnobNYC said...

wle and others,

Oops, sorry for all the typos. Consider it my way of making things "interactive."

--BSNYC/RTMS

CommieCanuck said...

My fav BuyCycling article was the recent street cred fixed gear fashion photos with some 6'4" guy carrying around a 50cm Bianchi pista.

Read if: you got gastritis and nothing better within arm's reach.

Forget it if: you don't find it hilarious.

Road Bike Action
had some awesome pics of a new Trek steel frame with faux lugs. That's wisconsinnovation

Fred said...

I've tried to be cool and put my glasses over my helmet straps, but whenever I stop and take off my helmet, my glasses go flying.

I'd ask one of the cool kids to help me, but none of them will talk to me.

Anonymous said...

typos in an internet blog? whod've thunk

Pete H. said...

Does Bicycling still have articles on how to grow bean sprouts on your carrier?

Anonymous said...

I mostly ride a mountainbike, but almost never ride stoned. It's waaay tooo hard getting up the climbs and I tend to drift out on the scenery and not pay attention to the ride and then get hurt.

So I wait till after the ride to fire up and then worry about driving home!

ConArtist said...

You mean it's not all about how you look??? I learned from an early age, better to look cool and die young than buckle up and, well, live.
If you want to live without taint you must first head the adage, it's not how you fell, it's how you look.

mbc said...

I'm sure they just grabbed a new helmet for the photo shoot and didn't bother to adjust the strap, but you'd think they could digitally remove it after the fact. The bigger issue is how many pros have straps almost that loose during races.

Since we're picking on CC... In that photo, in addition to the strap and sunglasses, his shorts are too long and his Jersey is too loose.

sufferist said...

On Chris C's cyclo-abacus the web address looks like www.58m.de

which loads up with the following statement:
Eine der großen Freizeitbeschaeftigungen der Jugendlichen ist das Yugioh Karten tauschen.

which translates to:
One of the great LEISURE exchange of young people is the Yugioh cards.

I did not figure him for a Yugioh fan, more of a Pokemon vibe from him.

Maybe I am reading that incorrectly. Can anyone super digitize the image (ala CSI) and tell me what the address is?

Anonymous said...

"The Christmas trees have been cast out to the curb..."

before the Epiphany? Heathens!

Anonymous said...

"it just appeases "God" with its presence..."

you mean G-d. Heathen!

leroy said...

If you title a post using "tain,"
There is really no need to explain.
The point obviously
Is still plain as can be:
One can align head gear sans Rogaine.

CommieCanuck said...

The bigger issue is how many pros have straps almost that loose during races.

I love watching those slo-mo crashes where the rider slams his head into the pavement at 50mph. But his hair is all mussed-up.

Jefe said...

Not only is "Bicycling" a sloppy rag in desperate need of editing, but it is apparently also a laxative and stool softener. It is good to know you found its purgative properties, BSNYC.

Butch Ammons said...

I hesitated to click your link to Bicycling. I just wanted to read a bit of the column, but figured that I would have to see a half naked LA pumping iron and hawking gooey little packs of supplements. Lance is cool and all, but NO I AM NOT TIRED!

bikesgonewild said...

...anon 6:02 & 6:11pm...

...would ya cool it w/ the "heathen" shit, please...

...i'm feeling a little sensitive right now...thanx...

Joboo said...

yeah........... you're right; you don't need a Pug.......... but damn it's nice to have one!!!

Peace,
Joboo

douche coach said...

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Stiveau said...

They let Carmichael plug his company in his columns, too.

Nice poem, leroy!!

Frank Eeckman said...

carmichael likes to pretend

Anonymous said...

Thank GOD! That typo was FINALLY corrected. -- Love, TypoSnob

Fierce Panties said...

TAIN TLES

kerry said...

Helmets are funny. YOu can tell from the back, who it is( hides bald spots) so the hot buns I may be perving may very well be someones grandpa!

kerry said...

'Everyone should wear a skate helmet or a full-face downhill helmet'
yeah maybe on a sit up and beg bike but on mine - a heavy, hot skateboard helmet that makes it hard to hear, tends to hit my back, and my neck,making it hard to sit, as well as hear. Why look like a dork. I mean,a skateboard helmet says, I think that I look like a dork, wearing proper roadie gear. THATS a dork!!

kerry said...

Im glad CC 's shirt is too loose. HES too loose!!
But considering the plethora of quite large men,saddle seemingly absorbed by their capacious bottoms simply flying by me and my puny legs and girlie bike - who cares?
Pass Chris the cookies. He can jam a couple under that loose chin strap for later.

Anonymous said...

"the truth is that beneath the topsoil of my sarcasm lies an an aquifer of sincerity" I think Shakespeare said that.

ploeg said...

The two-finger rule (set the helmet two fingers above your eyebrows) works as well for helmets as it does for liquor. (Actually, considerably better, as I prefer to set my liquor considerably lower than two fingers above my eyebrows.) Only riders like Vino should consider setting their helmets at their hairline.

Psyclepathic said...

Nice new seal, same old disapproval.

Clive de Sousa said...

Better check next months Bicycling to see if you make it.

Charles said...

I reckon I was wearing my helmet correctly when I went over the handlebars the second day in December. I broke my collarbone, but didn't even realize I'd also trashed my helmet until I found a tender place just above my right ear. Glad I can still walk and talk right.

Radsporterin said...

Sufferist: CC's abacus says SRM.de which includes the following (auf Deutsch): Liebe Freunde von SRM, Im Namen aller SRM-Mitarbeiter wünsche ich Ihnen alles Gute für 2010! Wir teilen Ihre Liebe zum Radsport.

Genau.

Rica said...

I know - it's a bit anal, but... where a kippah sits (front, back, etc) usually indicates the community the Jew comes from. Unless worn by our dorky ex-president. ;)

Martyn said...

'sufficiently stoned', mmmmmm

Martyn said...

I read the bicycling article, really good. I think I love your stuff more as I know 90% of the people I know wouldn't understand more than a couple of words of it, lol. Like you say though this is the week to own a bike, worst snow in 50 years where I am, not always easy but always the best part of the day.

Anonymous said...

I love how Carmichael

Prem said...

I like the bike helmets that look more like skate helmets. A couple of brands that I like include bern and triple 8. You can see them at http://zoobom.com

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