I stumbled into a hotbed of controversy. Imagine that, eh? At People for Bikes, they’ve got a post up with several suggested do’s and don’ts when it comes to cycling… Some have merit and others are just plain silly. Like this one:
DON’T dress for the Tour de France. No matter how happy you are to toodle along on your bike, new riders will always be certain that they are holding up your ride. Ditching the team kit in lieu of shorts and tennis shoes goes a long way in making new riders feel comfortable.
Now that’s some damn silly advice right there. I’m going to make myself uncomfortable so a noob can be comfortable? Not in this lifetime dopey. I did my time as a noob and I’m not going back there for anyone. Shorts and tennis shoes, you’ve gotta be kidding. I can see leaving the matching kit in the drawer for the club ride, but cargo shorts and platform pedals on my Venge (or even the Hardrock for that matter)? The day will never come.
Here’s another disagreeable suggestion:
DON’T use the word “easy.” While it’s natural to try to alleviate a new rider’s apprehension by assuring them: “Don’t worry, it’s easy,” you’re inadvertently causing problems. If the rider succeeds, you’ve devalued the accomplishment. If they don’t, you’ve created a sense of failure. Instead, relate the obstacle at hand to other obstacles the rider has encountered.
Folks, I don’t know how to say this nicely so I’m not going to – and believe me, compared to what I could write on this one, my response to the first item was tame. If you’re that bad off, that I can’t use the work “easy” in a sentence for fear one might go all ugly in the head with it, I wouldn’t want to ride with you anyway. I need that headache like I need a hit in the head. A person not completing a ride would feel a “sense of failure” whether or not I use the word “easy” in describing it. What I dislike here is the whole notion that I should walk on egg shells. No thank you. If you’re such a delicate flower that someone can’t use the word “easy” without crushing you, you’ve got bigger issues to fix before you think about getting on that bike!
The rest is pretty tame – or is that lame? Yes, indeed it’s lame, but that’s not the point… In the comments section there’s a crazy dope trying to suggest that wearing a helmet does nothing to protect the melon. Seriously. It gets better though, he quotes a site that he thinks shows this, here. I’ll cut right to the idiocy:
This paper presents a mathematical model for comparing the possible benefits of fewer head injuries as a result of helmet laws with the negative effects of less exercise due to fewer people cycling. It notes that the amount by which helmet laws reduce injuries and cycling is controversial. However, the author does not present any new data with regard to these factors or the health benefits of cycling. Instead, widely cited estimates are used as inputs to the model to arrive at the net implied benefit.
For those who’s eyes glazed over while reading that, I provided the emphasis on the important parts. It’s a quack mathematical study using estimates. In other words, the study is bullshit. The important thing here, is if you run into one of these “no helmet” kooks, you know how they get their information – it’s wrong right from the start.
Now, I could cite real studies case-controlled studies but they all show that wearing a brain bucket is safer… All of them. (Fair warning, that link is safe for work in Sweden but not the US) Why bother?
Folks, this is specifically why we wear helmets every #*$*%&ing time we ride a bike without exception:
Warning: This is graphic. The photo is of a friend of a friend of mine.
Now, you’re an idiot if you think a helmet wouldn’t have prevented much of that carnage. Case closed.
UPDATE: I left a few things open that I should clarify, especially for any politicians who might stumble across this post. First, helmet laws are stupid. Go balance a budget or something and stop taking yourself so seriously. Politicians are pretty low on the food chain for a reason, you know. I am all for personal choice and to tell you the truth, I’m LESS likely to wear a helmet if it’s a law. Call me a rebel.
That said, my girls and my wife don’t need a dad or husband who requires three daily diaper changes and a bib to catch drool – so I wear a melon protector each and every time I ride. Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it.