Right on, ride on

Ceci n'est pas une vélo

On wearing a helmet

Posted by @teeheehee on January 25th, 2008

Wounded Pride

It took my sister’s scorn to get me into the habit, but once I started wearing a helmet I feel naked riding without it. Some might say riding naked is liberating (I’m sure it is,) but the helmet is one of the most important safety devices a rider has. After all, everything about riding starts by firings in the brain, all senses get processed there, all decisions get made there. Common sense trumps style.

My sister’s device for persuading me was familiar to anyone with a sibling. She made me feel bad, wounded my pride, even managed to use my own words against me. She was earnest in trying to make me do something that I already knew was a good idea. I was trying to be rebellious, to be free of the imposition that I am mortal. I was, of course, being stupid. And I knew it.

I really hate to be ‘that guy’ that knows to do things a certain way and does them contrary to that for no decent reason. So I changed my ways. So long as I live I hope I continue to do the same. It can hurt to have your pride wounded, but pain is inevitable. Suffering is an option. Suck it up, learn, adapt, and move on.

Knocking Sense into People

Last night a few friends of mine got together at my apartment for poker. I learned today that one of them got clipped by a car while riding back to his place.


My friend was going straight and riding to the left of a car that ended up taking a left hand turn in the intersection. He didn’t see any indication that the car was intending to do this, and he was riding aggressively. His rear wheel got clipped while both he and the car that hit him were going at normal traffic speeds. In the end he was extremely lucky, no major body damage (or none discovered so far.) Pretty much he walked away with a wrecked bike and a badly shaken ego.

I have not been in that situation. I have been in other kinds of accidents, but every one can be unique to the situation. Walking away from an accident, any accident, is a blessing. Then comes the troubling period of dealing with what happened so that future occurances can be avoided.

My friend was riding with a warm hat on to stave off the chill. This event has scared him into making two safety purchases: a helmet and a very bright front light. It’s a start. I’ll be loaning him my copy of The Art of Urban Cycling once I get it back from another friend. I don’t know if he was in the wrong being where he was, but being to the left of a car isn’t usually a good position to be in.

I am the Nag

I don’t like being the Nag, which my roommate no doubt recognizes I am at times, but I’d rather not lose friends to disaster. It’s not my character to sound scornful, so I’ve never become adept at reflecting someone else’s risk-taking at them in a way that shows the bravado for the silliness it usually is. And who am I to preach when I have faults of my own?

But that doesn’t stop my gob from flapping. Wear a helmet. It’s a good idea. Get some lights going on you at night, put on something reflective, and ride safely. You a tough guy? You a crazy girl? Fine. Okay for you. Kindly remember: if something bad happens and it could have been avoided, well, that looks pretty bad, too.

To each their own in the end. Ride however you like, take whatever precautions you feel you must. I do my own thing and I find it works for me, and hope it continues to. To my friends I caution: do not die on me, especially for something stupid, or I will use you as an example when I share your tale of woe and despair. But I’d rather not have to share that story.

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