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  1. #1
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    Having helmets but not wearing them

    While on my ride Sunday I saw at least ten people who had helmets on their pack and not wearing them, almost all of them were climbing. I don't understand why people do this. Maybe it was because it was warm, but I think my helmet keeps me cooler by keeping the sun off my head and face. Do they think they look like dorks wearing helmets? Truth is they look stupid carrying around a helmet and not wearing it. Does anyone here do this and can give me a reasonable explanation for it?

  2. #2
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    Well....

    Quote Originally Posted by SoCalAl
    While on my ride Sunday I saw at least ten people who had helmets on their pack and not wearing them, almost all of them were climbing. I don't understand why people do this. Maybe it was because it was warm, but I think my helmet keeps me cooler by keeping the sun off my head and face. Do they think they look like dorks wearing helmets? Truth is they look stupid carrying around a helmet and not wearing it. Does anyone here do this and can give me a reasonable explanation for it?
    I don't agree with riding without helmets but the reasoning behind it is that since your head vents most of the body's heat, removing the helmet does keep a rider cooler than wearing it. On long climbs, riders take off their helmets to help keep themselves cooler.

    Ken

  3. #3
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    I occassionally ride with people who ride with helmets off for climbs and then put them on for descents. The problem is that most climbs have some descents. The other day this guy went off the trail a couple of times while riding very aggressively on the "uphill" descents. He finally put on his helmet for the "downhill" descents.

    Can't say I understand it, but that was his choice.

  4. #4
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    Here on the Shore...

    Most of the climbs up here on the North Shore are fire roads at a slow pace. Full face helmets are the norm and get uncomfortably hot on the climb up. Most if not all riders have them strapped on their backs or handlebars. Is this the wisest thing to do? Perhaps not.....but then again....nor is riding the North Shore

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buzz
    Most of the climbs up here on the North Shore are fire roads at a slow pace. Full face helmets are the norm and get uncomfortably hot on the climb up.
    Same here although full face helmets aren't the norm. I usually keep mine on just 'cause I don't like it flopping around but they can and do get hot.

    I think the danger of getting a head injury on a slow, traffic-free, relatively smooth, uphill fire road is about the same as the chance of a head injury sustained while tripping off the front porch in the morning. So I don't see it as much of a problem.

  6. #6
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    It's all about picking an appropriate level of protection for the activity. On a long climb, my helmet stays on the pack because I do not need it. And it keeps me cooler on the climb, and takes less energy, so I can ride longer. And my helmet and jersey are not soaked in sweat for the descent.

    When the speed and risk of injury go up, the helmet goes on.

  7. #7
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    What are the odds of a crash and burn during an ascent? 1%? 2%? I know it is not zero. They have their acceptable level of risk and I have mine. Besides, it is just more convenient to carry on my head than strapped elsewhere.


    They are the best judges of whether they have anything worth protecting.

  8. #8
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    I used to always strap my helmet on the handlebars when climbing. But my last two helmets have been remarkably cooler than the previous "mushroom head" jobbers that I now just wear it the whole time.

  9. #9
    Nat
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoCalAl
    While on my ride Sunday I saw at least ten people who had helmets on their pack and not wearing them, almost all of them were climbing. I don't understand why people do this. Maybe it was because it was warm, but I think my helmet keeps me cooler by keeping the sun off my head and face. Do they think they look like dorks wearing helmets? Truth is they look stupid carrying around a helmet and not wearing it. Does anyone here do this and can give me a reasonable explanation for it?
    I've only removed my helmet for a climb once or twice. It was really hot, the sustained climb was up steep pavement, and we...errrr, I was going no more than walking speed. I figured that if I wouldn't wear my helmet walking up that hill, then I could be pretty safe riding up it at that pace.

  10. #10
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    Here in NYC (I'm talking about roads and bike paths here) I *constantly* see people riding with their helmet hanging off their handlebar. Why, WHY would anyone do this!? If you're not going to wear it, leave it at home! Do they think that when they crash they are going to quickly reach for the helmet? "Oh, I should put on my helmet now, while I'm airborne, before my head hits the deck."

    I don't care if someone doesn't wear a helmet. It's their brain, etc. But hanging it on your handlebar presents a danger to others.

    This has been a public service announcement (rant) from BontyRider.
    now the world is gone i'm just o n e

  11. #11
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    heh

    I prolly top out at 1.004 mph climbing Fromme, imagine the brain damage if I fall

    I worry more about blowing a gasket from blood pressure climbing.

    Jim MCM #11

  12. #12
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    "Helmet Boy"

    video link here, worth a look and a laugh. but so true. Jim

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimC.
    video link here, worth a look and a laugh. but so true. Jim
    Priceless!
    There is no charge for awesomeness......or attractiveness.

    Good rep does not wash out the bad, nor the bad the good.

  14. #14
    pedalphile
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimC.
    video link here, worth a look and a laugh. but so true. Jim
    OW! Very well done.
    now the world is gone i'm just o n e

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimC.
    video link here, worth a look and a laugh. but so true. Jim
    That was hilarious, but, I'm still not going to wear a helmet when I'm climbing. I will wear it downhill or riding unfamiliar areas. I find them uncomfortable. My choice, you have your choice.

    I have been asked a couple of times about not wearing a helmet when on climbs. I usually ask the questioner if they wore a helmet when driving to the trail in their car. There are more head injuries in cars when in an accident and certainly more car accidents than bike.

    Dan C.
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  16. #16
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    What cracks me up...

    Quote Originally Posted by SoCalAl
    While on my ride Sunday I saw at least ten people who had helmets on their pack and not wearing them, almost all of them were climbing. I don't understand why people do this. Maybe it was because it was warm, but I think my helmet keeps me cooler by keeping the sun off my head and face. Do they think they look like dorks wearing helmets? Truth is they look stupid carrying around a helmet and not wearing it. Does anyone here do this and can give me a reasonable explanation for it?
    ... are the folks who wear helmets, but don't attach the chin strap. Either that, or leave the buckle so loose on the chin strap that it does no good anyway.

    I regularly ride with a guy who leaves his strap so loose that if he stacked, his lid would fly off into the bushes leaving his head bare.

    There are a bunch of 8-12 yo kids in my hood who ride without the chin strap attached at all. Maybe they feel that they have at least some cool left as long as they aren't wearing the helmet 'for real' or something.

    I just shake my head. I already had to peel one dead body off the hillside when I was a youngin from a kid who rode lidless.

    Really, I don't get it. I hardly know it's there, really. What's the big deal? Okay, I can see the hot day arguement, but I've nearly been creamed on a couple of occasions by some knucklehead DHer who refused to yield the trail to us uphillers, yelling 'Get outa the way' kinda stuff at me. Heck, I nearly took him out for being such a selfish jerk!

  17. #17
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    Big John

    Quote Originally Posted by pimpbot
    ... are the folks who wear helmets, but don't attach the chin strap. Either that, or leave the buckle so loose on the chin strap that it does no good anyway.

    I regularly ride with a guy who leaves his strap so loose that if he stacked, his lid would fly off into the bushes leaving his head bare.

    In the Army, we called this guy "The Duke!" As only John Wayne could be so cool as to have a strap and not need it. Start calling him that and see if anything happens. Just point at him or something and start your best John Wayne imitation. Gets kinda fun sometimes.
    Rampage

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by pimpbot

    I hardly know it's there, really.
    Which is a sign of a correctly fitted helmet!

    Any half-decent bike shop should be able to help you find a correctly fitting helmet and help you correctly fit it to your head, if this is taken care of then it really shouldn't be uncomfortable.

    Heck, I wanted a Giro Atmos but they didn't fit me comfortably so I went with a Pneumo, and I don't mind wearing the Pneumo because it vents well and fits like it isn't there. Same with my Giro E2, another helmet I can put on and forget!

  19. #19
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    I may not wear my helmet in my car, but I do wear my seatbelt. They're also uncomfortable and can get very warm. I doubt much could happen in my nine mile stop and go commute which takes at least half hour, but I still wear it, it's right there. If you're helmet is that uncomfortable, it's not fitted right and/or not vented very well; unless it's a full face.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimC.
    video link here, worth a look and a laugh. but so true. Jim
    Ouch! I know that wasn't real, but it sure looked like it hurt.

    Last weekend on my ride I saw 7 people not wearing a helmet. I couldn't believe the number of people out riding and not wearing a helmet. I wanted to say something to them, but I held back. The funny thing is that 2 of them were on their way down a 2.5 mile long downhill and 3 others were climbing up and getting ready to come back down. I always wear my helmet on the trail and do not have a problem with it being uncomfortable.

  21. #21
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    I passed 5 without helmets Sunday at Paris Mountain, granted it is an easy trail, but these people were descending,

    Two of them especially, had no business riding without a helmet, you could tell they were not very comfortable on a bike. My girlfriend was a few hundred yards behind me, she saw one of them hit what I would call an 1 maybe a 2 rating techincal section and did an endo. He got banged up, but was alright. I think his ego was hurt more than anything after he watched my girl clean the section without hesitation.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoCalAl
    I may not wear my helmet in my car, but I do wear my seatbelt. They're also uncomfortable and can get very warm. I doubt much could happen in my nine mile stop and go commute which takes at least half hour, but I still wear it, it's right there. If you're helmet is that uncomfortable, it's not fitted right and/or not vented very well; unless it's a full face.
    But do you wear a helmet when you're walking or running or jumping? I think that's a better benchmark for evaluating the need to wear a helmet on a slow and traffic free climb.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoCalAl
    While on my ride Sunday I saw at least ten people who had helmets on their pack and not wearing them, almost all of them were climbing. I don't understand why people do this. Maybe it was because it was warm, but I think my helmet keeps me cooler by keeping the sun off my head and face. Do they think they look like dorks wearing helmets? Truth is they look stupid carrying around a helmet and not wearing it. Does anyone here do this and can give me a reasonable explanation for it?

    I see way more people doign this in SoCal than I ever did in NoCal. I personally thought it was a more a vanity thing here.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rampage
    In the Army, we called this guy "The Duke!" As only John Wayne could be so cool as to have a strap and not need it. Start calling him that and see if anything happens. Just point at him or something and start your best John Wayne imitation. Gets kinda fun sometimes.
    john wayne didn't need to adhere to the 3-5 second rush rule either. he was a badass.

    we used to catch it, if we did a 10 second rush. it went something like this, "goddamn private, do you think you're john wayne or something?" lots of funny stuff said in the army.

    and to stay on topic. on mountain bike rides, i wear my helmet the entire time. i don't really notice a huge heat difference, even when i was out in vegas or sedona. but that may just be me. i actually prefer having the visor to keep some of the sun off my face.

    i will also admit that i don't wear a helmet all the time, especially in the neighborhood, just riding around. if my daughter is just riding on the sidewalk, i don't make her helmet up. if we get out on the street, she has to helmet up.

    i saw a kid strapped into a burley trailer, with a helmet on, also. overkill, to me. it's like making your kid wear a helmet in his car child seat.

    i kind of look at it this way .... i am not going to worry excessively about the many different ways i can die, and then try and wear some type of protective gear or gadget to ward off the death. i'll determine risk, and protect accordingly.
    .....chicks dig fenders.....

  25. #25
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    Im guilty of not wearing a helmet as well.

    I also admit to part of it being vanity. I look like a dork!

    However Ive always freaking hated wearing hats of any kind. Dont know why, just always hated it. Ive taken tons of spills on a bike and have never really hurt myself.

    Im not trying to make an argument for not wearing a helmet, just that I hate wearing them.

  26. #26
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    Walking - yes, as in hike-a-bike. It's more convienient to carry it on my head than anywhere else. With the exception of full face or bmx style helmets, I'm not buying the temperature thing. I grew up in a hot, hilly area and never felt the need to take of a helmet due to heat, even the old six vent foam things I wore in the late 80's.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoCalAl
    Does anyone here do this and can give me a reasonable explanation for it?
    yes.
    because in the summer it's just too bloody hot to climb with the helmet on. the vent holes supposedly fan air to the head and increase cooling, but at climbing speeds - not really. and it only gets worse in humid weather, esp if you wear glasses ... which tend to mist over way faster with the helmet on. or maybe it's all just me.

  28. #28
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    I'm one of those SoCal folks that usually wears a floppy hat instead a helmet on extended fire road climbs. (Usually a fire road climb over 5 miles like Maple Springs, Harding Truck Trail or Blackstar.)

    Reason:

    More comfortable, cooler, provides better shade for my forehead (think vent holes) and neck. Plus it is nice to put on a dry helmet when time for that fun descent.

    Quote Originally Posted by Impy
    I see way more people doign this in SoCal than I ever did in NoCal. I personally thought it was a more a vanity thing here.
    "I hope your gravity droppers all seize up....BASTIDS." - Aquaholic

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  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by SoCalAl
    I'm not buying the temperature thing. I grew up in a hot, hilly area and never felt the need to take of a helmet due to heat, even the old six vent foam things.
    It's not that it's absolutely imperative to take it off in order to survive. It's just much more comfortable. And the balance between comfort and feelings of safety is of course a personal thing. Whether I look like more of a dork with the helmet on or with the helmet off - I don't much care one way or another

  30. #30
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    I always wear the helmet, but...

    I see people road riding around where I live with the helmet clipped to their pack because they are climbing. Meanwhile, motorized traffic is whizzing past their left elbow at about 35mph.

    I also recall doing a group ride one time where this guy in front of me was carrying his helmet strapped to the bars on an ever so gentle climb, in the shade, then decides that the time to ride no hands in his birkenstocks and unfasten the damn thing was rounding downhill corner while in the middle of a pack of riders. No, he didn't have the skills for this move.

    I could see on some slow fire road climbs how carrying a full face or skate helmet could be cooler than wearing it. And yes, I would say the risk there is probably low. But it is still not the same as walking.

    I have read that a headfirst fall from the height your head is at on a bike is sufficient to be fatal, although I do not have a citation for that. And on a personal level, the last time I hit my head hard while on a bike was in a low speed turn on my road bike. Not sure what happened, but I failed to unclip in time, and tipped over, head first onto a sidewalk. My helmet cracked, but better that than my face.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by HarryCallahan
    I have read that a headfirst fall from the height your head is at on a bike is sufficient to be fatal
    I wonder if that's dependent on one's height? Is a 6'4" Lurch more at risk than a 5'0" Mini-Me? Or maybe taller people have thicker skulls and can withstand a proportionally increased impact?

  32. #32
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    dunno. You know how you read something, but years later can't remember where you read it?

  33. #33
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    Its the height you fall on your head that kills you

    Quote Originally Posted by SoCalAl
    While on my ride Sunday I saw at least ten people who had helmets on their pack and not wearing them, almost all of them were climbing. I don't understand why people do this. Maybe it was because it was warm, but I think my helmet keeps me cooler by keeping the sun off my head and face. Do they think they look like dorks wearing helmets? Truth is they look stupid carrying around a helmet and not wearing it. Does anyone here do this and can give me a reasonable explanation for it?
    And if remember right a 5 to 6 ft. header could kill you regardless of how fast your going.

  34. #34
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    So then everyone over 5ft tall should wear a helmet 24/7!

    Quote Originally Posted by jrm
    And if remember right a 5 to 6 ft. header could kill you regardless of how fast your going.
    Life is too precious to not take chances.

  35. #35
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    I LOVE wearing my helmet now

    Quote Originally Posted by MacLeod
    Im not trying to make an argument for not wearing a helmet, just that I hate wearing them.
    My full face was getting rather ripe. Not being sure what to wash it with, my wife loaned me some of her lingere soap. Even after thorough rinsing a faint aroma from the soap remained.

    Now everytime I pull on the helmet I take a deep sniff and get reminded of... Well, you know.
    Last edited by AlanB; 06-22-2005 at 11:22 PM. Reason: typo
    Is ibuprofen considered a recreational drug?

  36. #36
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    You don't want my wife to teach you how to eat again...

    My wife is a nurse at a rehab clinic and she re-teaches the head trauma victims to eat, talk, walk and sh!t again. The stories she comes home with are so scary that I tell people that I see that a helmet would be a good idea. ( I know that its a free world and all, but...)

    One kid who is 15 fell on the street walking a dog and has been in the rehab for over half a year and still can't function past the drooling stage. Think about that one...

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnnyb
    My wife is a nurse at a rehab clinic and she re-teaches the head trauma victims to eat, talk, walk and sh!t again. The stories she comes home with are so scary that I tell people that I see that a helmet would be a good idea. ( I know that its a free world and all, but...)

    One kid who is 15 fell on the street walking a dog and has been in the rehab for over half a year and still can't function past the drooling stage. Think about that one...
    So do we have to wear a helmet when we walk now? It is a matter of choice and the odds. Like the kid lost in Utah. His parents taught him not to talk to strangers. He hid from his rescuers. What are the odds, that is all that matters? Quite a bit over board in my opinion.
    Dan C.
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  38. #38
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    http://www.pbase.com/terbo/brain_surgery

    He wasn't going very fast. And he had a helmet on. His head would have been paste without it.

  39. #39
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    Sliding OT

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Kana
    Like the kid lost in Utah. His parents taught him not to talk to strangers. He hid from his rescuers.
    Me thinks that kid wanted to be lost. That's my "glanced at the headlines" appraisal of the situation.

    But yeah, fear of "brain damage from dog walking"? WTF? Fear already runs this country, let's not add to the hysteria.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by singletrack
    Me thinks that kid wanted to be lost. That's my "glanced at the headlines" appraisal of the situation.

    But yeah, fear of "brain damage from dog walking"? WTF? Fear already runs this country, let's not add to the hysteria.
    i wear a full face during 5k runs, just in case.
    .....chicks dig fenders.....

  41. #41
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    going uphill I am cooler not wearing a helmet...if it is a "rollercoaster" climb then I will wear it (drats).....always wear the helmet on desends
    the trick is ENJOYING YOUR LIFE EACH DAY, don't waste them away wishing for better days

  42. #42
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    helmets are cool...

    I never take my helmet off as it has saved my life at least twice. And my snowboard helmet once. My full face saved my jaw from being broked and it was off a sm 2 foot jump in he bike park that I had landed so many times before.....and the second one was I was just going to bunny hop up on to the curb from the street...not anything I havent done thousands of times and I must have just misjudged it and I cracked the entire side of my brand new helmet. So I will make comments if I see riders with out helmets. I just know it saves your butt and I have never been so hot (other than my fullface) that I needed to take off my brain bucket. Anything that saves you a** is cool. K
    Boobs to the tube.......

  43. #43
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    i always take mine off. theres this long uphill followed by a really steep part you have to walk up, you can bet my helmets comin off. but at least its on going down...
    All Mountain was so 2005

  44. #44
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    Hey you california peeps

    It's a law to have your kid in a lid.....

    www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc21212.htm


    From what I understand also is that if you are stopped in a county run park you can be fined much much much more than the 25 bones the law calls for..


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    Quote Originally Posted by skeeter
    i will also admit that i don't wear a helmet all the time, especially in the neighborhood, just riding around. if my daughter is just riding on the sidewalk, i don't make her helmet up. if we get out on the street, she has to helmet up.

    i saw a kid strapped into a burley trailer, with a helmet on, also. overkill, to me. it's like making your kid wear a helmet in his car child seat.

    Now my little girl is 3 1/2 and always wears her helmet, and she wants to. When we go out its the first thing she gets, weather its on her trike or little bike with training wheels or in the burley trailer she still wears it. It doesnt make a difference weather its going to the part around the corner or 20 mile road ride.

    And if i'm not wearing mine she will let me know I should have it on.

  46. #46
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    Maybe I should have never mentioned the kid walking...

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Kana
    So do we have to wear a helmet when we walk now? It is a matter of choice and the odds. Like the kid lost in Utah. His parents taught him not to talk to strangers. He hid from his rescuers. What are the odds, that is all that matters? Quite a bit over board in my opinion.
    Dan C.
    ..but my point is that a head injury is a trauma that you can never really define. It can take a long time to recover and sometimes you don't. I personally wear a helmet everytime I mountain bike or commute. I've broken two helmets and have a cracked cheekbone from my mishaps but no apparent brain injury. I hope.

  47. #47
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    I always wear my helmet, climbing or not, even when it's hot (with the exception of riding 20yds down the street to make sure my bike shifts right after I worked on it). I don't feel that it restricts the airflow to my head by that much anyway, and the visor keeps the sun out of my eyes... it's really no different than wearing a baseball cap comfort wise.

    The major difference between falling while riding and falling while running or walking is the freedom of movement that you have... on a bike you're clipped in and have your hands on the bars, so you don't have any limbs free to break your fall (the reason why elbows, knees and heads often get bumped in a fall. When you're walking or running, your natural reaction to a fall is to put your hands out (the reason why so many rollerbladers break their wrists). The chances are that your head won't hit the ground if you fall from a standing position unless you fall backwards, whereas you're much more likely to hit your head if you fall off a bike in any direction, not just if you endo.

    - Jen.

  48. #48
    mtbr member
    Reputation: Mike Brown's Avatar
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    The way that you not wearing a helmet effect me is that if a trail's user status is already being debated and somebody gets hurt while not wearing a helment, that becomes another weapon for why a trail should be closed to MTBer's. Anything that might have even a remote possibilty of impacting my ability to ride a given trail should not occur in my opinion.

    Peace, Mike

  49. #49
    29 inches and Pissed Off!
    Reputation: Captain Kana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mahgnillig
    I always wear my helmet, climbing or not, even when it's hot (with the exception of riding 20yds down the street to make sure my bike shifts right after I worked on it). I don't feel that it restricts the airflow to my head by that much anyway, and the visor keeps the sun out of my eyes... it's really no different than wearing a baseball cap comfort wise.

    The major difference between falling while riding and falling while running or walking is the freedom of movement that you have... on a bike you're clipped in and have your hands on the bars, so you don't have any limbs free to break your fall (the reason why elbows, knees and heads often get bumped in a fall. When you're walking or running, your natural reaction to a fall is to put your hands out (the reason why so many rollerbladers break their wrists). The chances are that your head won't hit the ground if you fall from a standing position unless you fall backwards, whereas you're much more likely to hit your head if you fall off a bike in any direction, not just if you endo.

    - Jen.

    That's your opinion. Not a fact. You can get a head injury from walking, riding in a car to the trail, or on a bike.
    What are the odds? That's all that matters. You make your decision based on your willingness to take a chance.
    I'm not saying don't wear a helmet. Just don't preach to me when you are confused about the facts. There are plenty of other sittuations in your life where you don't wear a helmet and the odds of a head injury are greater. We all make our own choices.
    Dan C.
    CaptainKana.com
    Mountain Biking.....Cheaper than a mistress.

  50. #50
    ballbuster
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    ... that and....

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Brown
    The way that you not wearing a helmet effect me is that if a trail's user status is already being debated and somebody gets hurt while not wearing a helment, that becomes another weapon for why a trail should be closed to MTBer's. Anything that might have even a remote possibilty of impacting my ability to ride a given trail should not occur in my opinion.

    Peace, Mike
    I've already peeled one soon-to-be-dead body off the trails in my life. Please do the world the common courtesy of not making anybody else go through this. I mean, accidents happen, but no need to amplify this with stupidity.

    Heck, I even watched BigTrees go OTB on a Tamarancho ride. He got up and dusted himself off. We spent 10 minutes trying to De-Taco his front wheel (a nice Mavic rim on a CK disk hub). We put our helmets back on, and then noticed that BigTree's lid was actually split in two down the center on the inside. He ad a bit of a welt on his forhead, but nothing more than a red mark, really. Amazing that a hit like that was absorbed so well that he hardly knew it happened.

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