Friday, April 30, 2010

Grabbing The Third Rail With Both Hands

Once again, The Cycle dares to go where others fear to tread. It's the topic that proves (and proves, and proves) Godwin's Law all over the cycle-net. More controversial than doping. More polarizing that Jobst Brandt. More frightening than Jobst Brandt on dope.

You guessed it: Helmets. Some folks say you should always wear them. Some say you should be free to choose for yourself. Some won't ride with helmetless riders. Others suspect that the helmet gives a false sense of security which leads to risk-taking, crashes and injury. Some sleep with their helmet like it's a styrofoam wubbie.

Battles rage across the interwebs. Friend against friend. Brother against brother. Mortal combat wrought in binary flame. The topic is even banned from some online discussion groups. But here at The Cycle, we fear no controversy. And so, with no hedging, whining, backtracking, or other weasel-speak, I present to you, dear reader, something I believe with absolute conviction when it comes to helmets:


Of course, like most good snarkiness, there's a touch of self-loathing in here somewhere. See, I owned (and wore with pride!) a Toilet... er, TourLite back in the day, just like the one modeled by the dapper gent in the snazzy rainbow jersey. I can only assume he's just won the coveted CLWC: Cylon Lookalike World Championships -- and I'm talking 80s Cylons, not the cool kind.

(Seriously now, folks at Bell: I kid because I care. Over the years, Bell helmets have valiantly thrown themselves between my thick skull and big rocks, trees, pavement, errant squirrels, and the occasional head-butt of a dumb friend more times than I'd like to count. And it's not like I was a style maven in 1984 either...)


Scott Loveless said...

Man, those helmets were dorky. How times haven't changed.

orc said...

I've still got one of the nice(?) old Specialized fabric over styrofoam helmets, which are *wayyy* more mushroomy than the Bell helmets.

I still wear it occasionally when I can't find my stylish and elegant Bell Metro helmet in the nonstop disaster area which is my house.

Anonymous said...

Is the Tourlite dorkier than the original Bell Biker? The Bell Biker was certainly hotter... the vents were just awful!

Since the Bell Biker was the first commercial bicycle hard shell helmet, I contend that it is by definition the dorkiest. What could look worse than being one of the first people to wear a beer cooler on their head?

Steve in Peoria

Jason T. Nunemaker said...

Orc - you still USE one of those fabric-over-foams? The ones that basically say "we don't have enough structural integrity to be sneezed on without a Lycra bandage?" Scary. I never had one of those, but I did have something with what they called a "microshell" -- basically a thick coat of paint in place of the Lycra.

Steve -- I would argue that the TourLite was in fact dorkier than the Biker, if only on the strength of its entirely useless (but, as I recall, adjustable) visor. Wearing that thing was like being an extra in Mel Brooks' Spaceballs.

orc said...

“Orc - you still USE one of those fabric-over-foams?”

Yup. I don't use it very often, but when I'm going up to school to retrieve my children and can't find the real helmet, unreinforced styrofoam is better than nothing.

Frankly, I'm surprised that the horrible thing hasn't spontaneously dissolved into styrofoam peanuts. I'm keeping it more as a good luck (or bad style) talisman than as a functional helmet these days anyway.

Kai said...

But they aren't ALL dorky. There are some pretty sweet Bell helmets out there: