Thursday, December 6, 2018

Wait, What? Another Outside Column Already???

Yep, that's right, like oatmeal from a tap my columns arrive in clumps.  Here's the latest one:


I'm not totally crazy about the headline they used since one point I make in there is that I'm perfectly fine with bike racers adhering to pointless rules, but that's fine with me if they want to be provocative and if they really want to they can call it "Your Helmet Is Leaching Chemicals Into Your Brain And Slowly Killing You" for all I care.

And for the record, if I'm getting decked out in head-to-toe go-fast clothes I'll often top the ensemble with a helmet--because, as I say in the column, it's all about accessorizing.  Also, you've got to wear one when you're racing so you might as well get used to it.  You don't want to show up at the start line and start pawing at your head like a cat stuck in a pair of underpants.

Oh please.  Don't act like you've never put a pair of underpants on your cat's head.

49 comments:

pbateman is gonna put up blue lights on his house so the channuka guy leaves me more stuff said...

Is this how fun it is to celebrate channuka? a new and exciting gift/article each day throughout the holiday week?

what a magical tradition full of merriment.

for tomorrow, can i also ask that in addition to the articles you also bring us 8 ladies leaping, a rolex and also some dura ace bits of our preferred vintage?

channuka is like the super record of holidays where you get free stuff.

huskerdont said...

One group not mentioned in the article is mountain bikers (of which the writer is one, I know). The one type of riding where I truly feel unprotected not wearing a helmet is mountain biking. To me, that's where the helmet would be most effective: you've got roots and rocks and tree limbs to hit your noggin on, and you're often going slow enough that the helmet would actually work.

BikeSnobNYC said...

huskerdont,

I do wear one 99% of the time while MTBing. (I do not if I'm just nipping down to Highbridge or ducking into some low-key spot or something like that.) In any large park with mountain bike trails they're required, and while nobody's out there policing I think it's good policy to comply with the rules anywhere you're allowed to ride offroad. (Plus, since MTBing is purely recreational I have no problem with rules, just as I don't with road racing.)

I'd agree that in this type of riding a helmet theoretically makes the most sense since it would probably spare you from abrasions and stuff like that in slow-speed falls. At the same time, in practice, the helmet serves mostly to get stuck on branches and stuff. (Maybe it wouldn't if I wore some corny freeride-type helmet instead of my roadie helmet with lots of vents.)

And obviously I'm not doing anything remotely approaching downhilling, in which case I'd expect a full-face helmet would help spare your face and teeth.

Overall, I'd say riding your bike and stunting are two different things, even if the latter happens to involve a bike.

--Tan Tenovo

Anonymous said...

Someone who enjoys going fast down twisty roads once wrote:

What does the black top
Know that I have not cracked
With my mind?




bad boy of the south said...

Someone has spelled helme(n)ts incorrectly.
I'm guessing that,the only time in my almost but not quite,sixty years,to wear a collender on my noggin, was when I slipped on a patch of ice in ossining .
I knew it was there and still,I went down.
I hope that is the only time it was warranted.

Unknown said...

Man, facebook comments are highlarrius! It must suck to take life so seriously. The lady imploring you to "grow up" made me smile. Her life must suck.

Drock said...

I got a sweet giro helmet from the 80s, it’s dangerous cause it’s old but we all going to pass at some point. Ridin dirty from my helmet to my bike to my blood stream. Peace and chain grease.

Anonymous said...

I don't have a cat.

huskerdont said...

I got a comment or two this summer when I looped my helmet over my handlebar when I rode to the group ride that required the use of it, then put it on to ride in said group ride. I mean, I'm fine with the requirement, liability and wheel overlap and whatnot, but you can't require me to wear the helmet on the way *to* the group ride.

FB lady needs to grow up, as does anyone who tells someone else to grow up. Uhhh.

Anonymous said...

Why the feck do they keep picking on cyclists!? Pedestrians should wear helmets and body armour if cyclists are forced to wear plastic hats and drivers should have a spike affixed to the centre of the steering wheels and all seatbelts and air bags should be removed! BTW the spike idea has been about a long time just taking a while for the logic to sink into politicians excuse for a brain.

Anonymous said...

My cat now wears a full-face helmet. Makes pulling underpants over its head much less satisfying.

Kevin Miller said...

"They" will have to pry my kneesocks off my cold dead feet.

dop said...

Oatmeal from a tap? That's the most revolting development I ever heard.

Anonymous said...

nary a word of motoring helmets?

JLRB said...

With the hat to keep my head warm i forgot to place the required foam on my head before heading out this morning - I survived...so far.

Haywood Jablome said...

I have two cats, they hate sharing one pair of underbritches.

Coffee Coaster said...

Hey dop 3:13, I just brewed up an oatmeal stout. Tasted great before bottling!

Suwannee Dave said...

since the most common injury to pro riders is a broken clavicle, perhaps they should wear shoulder pads.

Unknown said...

Your article about the efficacy of wearing bike helmets was stupid. How many of them have you broken? I have a few in my collection, and every one represents a more serious head injury avoided. I can only imagine what would have happened last March (2018) to my face other than two broken teeth and serious abrasions around my eye and nose if I hadn't been wearing a helmet that took the initial brunt of the impact caused when my bike flipped over after a vulture flew into my front wheel while I was going in excess of 20 mph. At the other end of the spectrum, I broke a helmet and had a mild concussion going under 10 mph negotiating a hairpin turn on a wet path. Between those two incidents (about 20 years apart), I've had to replace three other helmets -- two times from the four times cars have hit me through no fault of my own, and once when going over an uneven road surface.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Unknown,

I haven't broken any helmets because I don't wear them.

See what I did there?

--Tan Tenovo

der blaue Reiter said...

lol, keep it up, Wildcat! Dug the mullet link...

Anonymous said...

Suwannee - the clavicle fractures result from landing in outstretched hands - shoulder pads would not help

Unknown said...

Then that begs the question, have you ever hit your head on the ground? If no then either you are lucky or you don't ride often enough, or around cars very much, or when the ground is wet, and you can argue that a helmet isn't going to protect you as you are largely not at risk; but for those of us that ride outside of that envelope a helmet can and often does go a long ways in lessening injuries. What's stupid about your article is that when you multiply your anecdotal experience by a million riders some individuals are going to end up dying if they take your approach -- it's as simple as that. Now if the price of you among millions of people enduring wearing helmets is too high to prevent a few people from getting more serious injuries and even dying, it can be argued that each individual of adult age can make that decision for themselves, but when you say there is no evidence showing any efficacy to wearing helmets I can tell you I've had personal experiences that very clearly indicate otherwise.

usr said...

So more tramadol will help with those clavicle fractures, making sure that the hands never make it off the bar in time to be stretched out? Someone needs to inform the WHO!

BikeSnobNYC said...

Unknown,

One of my favorite rhetorical tactics in cycling discussions is when people accuse other people they disagree with of not riding often or hard enough.

--Tan Tenovo

Anonymous said...

Unkown, instead of advocating for wearing a helmet, you should be advocating for vulture deflection devices, since you still smashed your face on the ground even though you were wearing a helmet. Based on your anecdotal personal experience, a vulture deflection device would have avoided your injury.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Anonymous 7:44am,

While arguably he should have been using a skirt guard in this instance, it's also true that if you haven't been divebombed by a vulture or other metaphor that you're simply not riding enough.

--Tan Tenovo

huskerdont said...

Yeah, you just can't take anyone seriously when they begin their argument with "Your ____ was stupid." I stopped reading after that.

So hey, I just realized I actually do have oatmeal from a tap. As Coffee Coaster did, I too have brewed an oatmeal stout, and it is on tap, so tonight, I will pour one in homage to all those poor helmets that have been so callously sacrificed.

Unknown said...

I wrote that you could also be lucky.

Being hit by a vulture flying across the road at knee level (after all, it rode into my front wheel) is obviously an extraordinary fluke, many have said it's a "million to one" and I would say it's likely far less common than that. Nonetheless, getting hit by four cars over decades of riding is not a fluke, having at least one helmet broken in your lifetime is not a fluke, and you can go to just about any EF in this country and find plenty of stories (anecdotes if you prefer) of people who benefited from wearing helmets.

As for equating wearing a helmet with having a skirt in front the bike to deflect birds -- that's the sort of reasoning that leads to ludicrous arguments like helmets and seat belts are overrated. The fact is the helmet hit the ground before my forehead did, and if I hadn't had a helmet on at that time I could easily have died or the very least had a cracked skull.

George Krpan said...

Andrei Kivilev, 2003, seems like yesterday, don't wait sonny.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Unknown,

By your own logic using a skirt guard to deflect birds is no different than wearing a helmet to protect head injury. You do one and not the other because one looks silly and the other doesn't. If the UCI mandated faired wheels to prevent objects from getting into spokes and jamming up wheels every amateur roadie would be riding bikes like that. Part of what I'm saying in this article is we don't necessarily account for risk in a rational way, we do it according to a set of stylistic norms that are, fundamentally, kinda arbitrary.

--Tan Tenovo

BikeSnobNYC said...

...also, to address your question, I have been hit by a motorist. I was wearing a backpack that happened to have my helmet in it, and I landed on my back. I credit the helmet for sparing me from abrasions or worse in that area, so clearly all cyclists should ride around with helmets in their backpack.

Patiently peddling said...

I thought I've lived the life but no, I've never been T-boned by vulture. Bunnies, squirrels, cats and dogs have all attempted the feat but all have failed. Whether it was their athletic prowess or my superior bike handling skills, no telling but I'll go with dumb luck.

However, I have been in the vicinity of a vulture attempting an emergency takeoff. This is not something I hope to experience again. The act of it's huge wings attempting to mimic those of a hummingbird all the while ejecting it's foul ballast out of every orifice is a sight to behold. But not one to smell. If I see these huge feathered recycling factories, I do my best to avoid them.

Unknown said...

Then the answer is no, you haven't hit your head on the ground, yet. Good luck with that, I mean that sincerely, because you are relying on good luck rather than good sense.

BikeSnobNYC said...

Unknown,

I'm not really interested in cataloguing a lifetime of spills for you, but I have hit my head on the ground. However, I prefer not to get into the harder-core-than-thou-you-couldn't-possibly-know-because-you-don't-ride-long-and-hard-enough BS that weighs down so much cycling-related discussion.

I'm relying on luck no more than you or anybody is. I also have no illusions whatsoever I'm immune to misfortune, and I can assure you when I set out on any ride I carefully take inventory of the situation and the risk and plan accordingly. However, instead of getting distracted by statistical noise such as plastic hattery, I focus more on things that have a meaningful impact on my safety. (Bicycle choice, route choice, etc.)

Feel free to gloat the next time I eat it.

--Tan Tenovo

JLRB said...

yes, route choice enters the rational discussion!

I am occasionally tempted to shave a mile or 3 from my commute by taking a riskier shortcut, and sometimes I do, but usually I weigh the potential for, at best, being harassed by cagers, or the possibility of time spent off the bike recuperating (or winning the bet with the life insurance company), and the rational me usually decides to pedal a little more along the relatively safer route (with or without my plastic hat).

Al said...

I been wearing and not wearing helmets since Unknown was shitting yellow. I wore a helmet in Vietnam, I wore a helmet when I was skydiving, I wore a helmet when I was mountain biking and now I wear a helmet when I take my lane on my IF. Forcing me to wear a helmet is like forcing me to be to believe in god or forcing me to vote for the lesser of two evils and I don't want to force anybody to wear a helmet because I mind my own business.

Losig ht mind but not the willingness to contribute said...

I've been lucky, and I've been unlucky. At age 12, I was staring down at the cassette and derailleur of my brand new Schwinn Varsity, marveling at its shifting abilities, when I ran head on with a parked station wagon. No helmet on, of course (this was in the early 70's folks!) and I walked away only with a bruise on my wrist even though I ended up on the windshield of the parked land yacht. At age 51 I was fully accessorized with a modern, pro-pelotonish helment, cruising in a straight line aboard a modern CX chariot at a slow (12 mph) speed along a dirt "rail trail" with my eyes on the road when, BAM!- the front wheel went in some smallish hole and I was thrown down and busted my left shoulder in pieces - I'm still suffering from that injury. The point is that I could have and should have prevented each incident by riding smarter and better, but on those occasions I didn't.

Oh geez....I lost my train of thought …..

Unknown said...

If you hit your head with a helmet and it broke, the helmet saved you from a more serious injury (short of death, which is always a possibility); if you hit your head without a helmet then for often more than not then you were worse off than if you had been wearing one. The "plastic hattery" I put on every time I get on my bike and ride into the street with serious intent isn't about "statistical noise," it's about my practical experience. The only time I feel comfortable not wearing a helmet is when I'm climbing (because frankly I'm not that fast at it), but as soon as I go downhill I become acutely aware of the added risk of not having one on, even when I know the speed may be beyond what the helmet can save me from dying because I still have a chance of slowing down enough to get to a speed that is survivable and the margin of survivability is greater with a helmet than it is without one.

As for you eating it, I hope not. As I wrote above, I sincerely wish you continued good luck. I just think telling others that they shouldn't worry about not riding with a helmet because there haven't been adequate studies to prove its efficacy is wrong. It's hard to dismiss being 33 times more likely to die and nearly 8 times more likely to suffer a severe injury when not wearing a helmet (statistics from New York City for one year), or that according to a 2016 American Journal of Surgery report that, "Helmeted bicycle riders had 51% reduced odds of severe TBI and 44% reduced odds of mortality. Helmet use also reduced the odds of facial fractures by 31%." The numbers are just too stark to ignore. See here: https://helmets.org/stats.htm

BikeSnobNYC said...

Unknown,

If you descend more cautiously without a helmet you may be safer without one.

--Tan Tenovo

wishiwasmerckx said...

The helmet debate became most tiresome some time ago.

My current concern is over TBI likely to result from Tumblr's looming decision to delete all adult content.

Helmet concerns are trivial by comparison.

Know fault of my own said...

My observations are consistent with the conclusion that halmets are too heavy. Heavy halmets cause the riders head to sag downward toward the front wheel necessitating a forward reach to brace-up the now inclined torso. Since the rider can now only crane their neck enough to focus dead-ahead, from this perspective the free speed now afforded by this coincident new aerodynamic posture fosters a full-speed-ahead damn the torpedoes approach. Being able only to see left and right in peripheral vision results a 2001 SpaceOdyssey sensation, whereby passing cars and busses take on an otherworldly quality. The only sane thing left to do at this juncture would seem to be turn the driving over to computers. The End.

Anonymous said...

Los Angeles Adds Lanes For Cyclists to Recover From Getting Hit by Cars"

andy bezanilla said...

broken collarbones usually result from holding on to yer handlebars as if the bike will save you. been rideing for over 53 yrs., and i've learned not only how to avoid crashes, but more importantly how to crash, which usually is something like a pete rose dive/slide...whats a little skin?...

wishiwasmerckx said...

Pete Rose dive/slide?

No, you are supposed to have the presence in mid-crash to tuck chin to chest, elbows to ribs, wrist to chin and knees to top tube in order to minimize injury.

mikeweb said...

IMHO, Vladimir Karpets mullet had much more je ne sais quoi.

Unknown said...

Oh brother. Learn to crash. Take a safer route. Ride no faster than 15 mph going downhill. That's a lot of compromises to avoid wearing a helmet.

First, the crashes I've been in that involved cars cutting me off didn't allow me a moment to guide my bike to the ground. Also, crashes I've been involved in where my front wheel hit a vulture or a unseen rut in the road similarly didn't allow me to control the bike in any way. The thing about controlling the bike in a crash is it's better to control the bike to avoid the crash altogether.

Second, I was hit twice in the same month by cars on the same street barely a mile or so from my home, and that street is the only logical way to get to many of the routes I ride. What do I mean by logical? It's a residential street with no stop signs, and by far the safest choice available. I also make a point to avoid that street and other roads where the school lets out because parents picking up their kids are dangerous (go figure), but that didn't stop reckless drivers from hitting me (in on case he went past me and then cut me off as he made a right turn with no other traffic around).

Third, I've never crashed on a descent or when riding with a group. Knock on wood.

Finally, and I am done here, I'm not telling anyone to wear a helmet. I don't give strangers dirty looks or say anything if they don't wear a helmet. I'm not trying to pass any laws and I'm against helmet laws for adults. However, when I see an article questioning the wisdom of wearing a helmet I call it a stupid article, and FWIW I was wearing a bike helmet long before it became required by the UCI.

Wesley Bellairs said...

Go look at Indurain or Lemond ride a line on their properly-fitted steel bikes then watch Phinney at 6'4" tall try it in his 56cm clown bike. Angular momentum or whatever means that heavier wheels go in a straight line...hmmm.
I hate the bike industry.

art said...

Funny you should mention sock height along with amateurs mindlessly following pro fashions. It's a little known fact that the tall socks trend started with the cheap bastards at Nike only sending XL socks to the Postal team.