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I Rode My Bike Naked Yesterday!

Yesterday morning I put my cyclocross bike into the back of my Jeep and headed out to my favorite off-road bike trail. After I got the bike out I put my helmet on but I couldn’t get it buckled—so I took it off and noticed that one piece of the buckle was missing! I started to drive back home to get a different helmet (I have more than a few of them), but finally decided to just “ride safely” and pray I didn’t hit an oak tree at 30 MPH. Riding without a helmet made me feel like I was riding naked—or at least a lot more exposed than I’d like to be. The funny thing is that the day before I saw a graphic on Facebook that said, “Deciding to ride your bike without a helmet is a beacon of hope for those in need of new organs.” The graphic on Facebook was rather pixelated, so I decided to create a new one for your enjoyment.

Remember To Fill Out Your Organ Donation Card!

Remember To Fill Out An Organ Donation Card!

Yesterday was only the second time in the past twelve years that I rode without a helmet. Last year I started to go for a ride with a young woman when the heat index was already over 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43 Celsius) at 6:00 in the morning. The woman said she was not going to wear her helmet because it was just too hot, so I decided I wouldn’t wear mine either. My wife said it was OK to go without my helmet because we were both probably going to die from heat stroke anyway! Well, we survived the ride but we both ended up riding slower than normal (and not just because of the heat).

One of the reasons I don’t like riding without a helmet is because a 17 years ago our middle son nearly died in a bike crash. Even though he knew he wasn’t ever supposed to ride without a helmet he didn’t put one on because he was only going a few houses down the street. Unfortunately, just two houses away he hit a rock in and fell off the back of his bike and his head hit the pavement. I’ll spare you the details, but he suffered from multiple skull fractures and had to be airlifted to a trauma unit in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He eventually made a near-perfect recovery, but the surgeon who worked on him said he would have trouble with math for the rest of his life (I guess that means he could work in the Congressional Budget Office). As a result of his accident I just don’t like to see anyone, child or adult, ride without a helmet.

By the way, when I got back to my Jeep after my “naked” ride I found the missing piece of the buckle in the grass. The only damage done by riding without my helmet was a sunburn on my forehead (before I left home I put sunscreen on my face, but not on my forehead since it was going to be covered by my helmet). According to the Snell Memorial Foundation, “95% of bicyclists killed in 2006 reportedly were not wearing helmets.”

Do you ever ride without a helmet? If so, why on earth would you do that?

 

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Giro Aeon Road Bike Helmet

I am almost embarrassed to admit how many bike helmets I own (eight in all). However, I ride all year long and in all sorts of weather. I have two cross-country skiing helmets for winter riding, a couple of mountain biking helmets, one that I keep my high-powered headlights on for night riding, one hi-viz helmet for riding on cold days with limited visibility, and a few others. My latest helmet purchase was a Giro Aeon Road Bike Helmet and this helmet is perfect for hot, sunny days!

Giro Aeon Road Bike Helmet

Giro Aeon Road Bike Helmet

There are three things that make this helmet my favorite for summer riding: it is lightweight, cool and is available in hi-vis yellow.

Giro Aeon Road Bike Helmet

Giro Aeon Road Bike Helmet

Lightweight. When I picked up this helmet at the local bike shop I first thought the sack they gave me was empty! It felt like the box the helmet came in weighed more than the helmet itself. This helmet is available in three sizes (S, M, L) and the medium-sized helmet only weighs 222 grams. When you get off your bike after a long ride it is really easy to forget that you still have a helmet on!

Cool. This helmet has 24 Wind Tunnel™ vents with internal channeling—I’ve never had a cooler helmet! I’ve been out on days when the heat index was well over 100 degrees and have never felt like the helmet was heating up my head (as long as I was moving).

Hi-Viz Yellow: While the other features of this helmet are great, I wouldn’t have bought this except for the fact it is available in a bright hi-vis yellow (it also comes in seven other colors as well). This Hi-Vis Yellow helmet matches my Hi-Vis Yellow Pearl Izumi Attack Short Sleeve Jersey perfectly. Since I spend a lot of time riding on riding on busy roads I prefer Hi-Vis Yellow clothing in the summer, but bright red in the winter when there is snow on the ground.

The Giro Aeon Road Bike Helmet retails for around $250 and if your local bike shop does not have it in stock they can order it for you. This is definitely a “high ticket” item and it has a decent mark-up so don’t be afraid to ask your local bike shop for a discount (I did and it saved me 10%).

 
 

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Lid Lights Contest Winner

This past Monday we held a contest to give away a set of Lid Lights, the cool LED helmet lights that could easily save your life. While there were several folks I would have liked to have given the lights to, I finally decided on Sandra (the person behind the A Promise To Dad blog).

Sandra, the latest contest winner

Sandra, the latest contest winner

Sandra is actually new to nighttime cycling, but she said that she wants to participate in the Nacho Ride which she describes as “a ride ten miles out-of-town on a gravel rails-to-trails path to a bar that serves cheap Tacos/Nachos which more than 200 cyclists participate in every Tuesday.”

If you read the “About” page on Sandra’s blog you will find out that she started cycling out of a promise made to her father to “get healthy.” Her father had Alzheimer’s disease before he passed away and I certainly can identify with that—we had to put my father into a nursing home last month due to that same horrible disease. In fact, one of the reasons I took up cycling was out of fear that I would develop Alzheimer’s myself. This disease is not hereditary and an article on the Mayo Clinic website claims that “population studies have suggested that exercise which raises your heart rate for at least 30 minutes several times a week can lower your risk of Alzheimer’s.” I love my wife and I do not want her to have to go through what my mother has in the past few years.

I normally send contest winners the actual product I reviewed, but Ed Kovak at Lid Lights has graciously offered to send Sandra a new set of Lid Lights—and she gets to choose the color of the lights! Thank you Ed!

One more note about Lid Lights: The current product is designed to attach to your bicycle helmet, but I really liked the suggestion that Kurt (kurtbredeson) made. He suggested that they also make lights available that would attach to the rear seat stays of your bike—and I think this is an awesome idea!

 
18 Comments

Posted by on June 2, 2013 in Life On Two Wheels

 

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