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  1. #1
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    Upset Would you ride Demo without a helmet?

    Hypothetical (especially if you know my wife).

    You carpool with a bunch of guys from Los Gatos to Demo. Upon arriving you let out a loud F*** as you realize your helmet is sitting in your car in Los Gatos. It's 3pm, everybody is ready to go...

    Do you :

    a. sit in your car bummed out for 3 hours while your buddies rip it up?
    b. Ride up and down a fire road?
    c. Get on your bike pissed off and "be careful"?
    d. Who gives a damn I'm here, I'm going to get some air no matter?

    To add a twist, the hypothetical rider may or may not have kids aged 1 and 3.

  2. #2
    I just wanna go fast!
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    sucks.

    I'd improvise a quick helmet out of my camel back bladder, some bike tube and three zip ties and go ride... carefully.

  3. #3
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    I would fashion a helmet Bear Grills style out of twigs and branches and lash it together with some bamboo strips. Even though there is no bamboo there, I usually have some in my pocket. Then I would look for a bee hive and dig my hand in to get the honeycomb out. You could use that as the foam cushion. Never mind the pissed off bees. Then I might start a fire just to prove that I belong at demo with the other men around me. Yeah, no real reason for the fire other than to keep the bees away. If that doesn't work, look for one of the tweakers cars around that used to steal stuff from us MTBr's. First break their side window even though it is probably not locked since most 1983 cutlass's stopped working a long time before. Then after you rip the seat cushions apart to fashion a helmet, cut the seat belt and secure it to your head. Then just for kicks, pee all over the car. Your probably pretty jacked up at this point and your going to set a few climbing PR's. This is not for everybody but it is something that I might do should that ever happen. Now where is the world did I leave my knife? Must be in the back yard lashed to a stick that I used as an ax. I am always losing things!
    They never made the "Slowster"

  4. #4
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    The design spec for standard bike helmets is 12 miles per hour with an impact to the top of the head. If you are going faster than 12mph or land on the front or side of your head all bets are off.
    You are trading off regular exercise and all the cardiovascular benefit of that vs. the risk that you crash slower than 12mph.

  5. #5
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    I'd say ride and hope for the best...however Murphy's Law will send you over the bars on this particular adventure.

    I once brought two left footed clipless shoes to Skeggs. That is a LONG drive to turn around and go home. I rode but my big toe on my right foot never forgave me.

  6. #6
    xls
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    Best reply so far: pmarshall

    Aside from that I would

    1) Agree on a route that your buddies are riding.
    2) Drive back, get your helmet.
    3) Ride agreed-upon route in opposite direction until you meet.

    A friend of mine forgot his front wheel (I know , but I'm sure I'll forget mine one of these days) and we did exactly the above. I would not ride without a helmet at demo. I know I would have a hard time riding "carefully", whatever that means. I've also crashed at demo unexpectedly (front tire washed out). Too many of my friends crashed, two briefly lost consciousness (despite wearing helmets) and I would bet money that they'd be worse off had they not worn their helmets.


    <-- probably hurts with or without helmet...

  7. #7
    TC
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    what about...

    losing an elbow pad on the pedal up to a rocky, techy downhill trail? weird feeling heading down with only one, and feel really dumb not wearing any. which arm do I wear it on?

    or

    i forgot gloves once. another rider loaned me his spare pair...only they were a mismatched pair...and pretty ripe at that. what a terrible ride that was.

    helmet? I only forgot it once when I was driving away from my ride; ironically, i had crashed that day (head first into a manzanita bush)...must have been a little loopy.

    a buddy of mine showed up once without his clipless shoes. we had to swap his pedals for flats and he rode in his tennis shoes. he was HATING LIFE!!! i thought it was pretty cool that i actually had flats in my truck and did the roadside switcheroo for him.
    if the thunder don't get you, then the lightning will

  8. #8
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    DOH! You have a few choices here: 1)Casually ride down hihns mill(my friend calls it the road of death), and then up Tractor/Ridge to Niscene/Buzzard Lagoon and back to car. 2)Decide which friend you like the least & club over the head with one of the many available sticks. Use their helmet for ride. Afterwards convince victim(once conscience again) that they crashed and are suffering amnesia. 3)Break another rider's bike in the parking lot & borrow helmet. 4)Drink all the post ride beer pre ride yourself & go ride helmetless. Drunk people never seem to get hurt in accidents & if you do get hurt you have an excuse(drunkeness). 5)Do the Mt. Bache/Highland/Ormsby loop. Hmm that last might not be such a good idea w/o helmet either - never mind boring.

  9. #9
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    I would go for a run on the trails. I won't ride any bike anywhere without a helmet [although thats how I rode from 1960 to 1982].
    Warning: Consumption of alcohol may make you think the person on the barstool next to you is attractive

  10. #10
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    I did turn the car around to get my helmet once, but I was only 20 mins from home. In this case, I think I'd go for the 'be careful' thing. I would actually be more careful, too. Probably safer than not being careful with a helmet on. Helmets don't prevent broken arms legs ribs etc.

  11. #11
    padded
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    This is why I keep an old helmet in the back of my car, along with tools, duct tape, spare tubes, flat pedals baby, wipes (best degreasers in the world) and about 10 pounds of accumulated sand, dirt, compost and powdered Fruit Loops in the back of my car - you never know when you or a buddy is going to forget something, and I lack the skills to McGuyver a fix.
    Lacking that, I'd probably do Bernhardt's option #1 and make a climbing day out of it.
    "You are by far the most interesting single-serving friend I have ever met."

  12. #12
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    Yes, I would ride demo without a helmet, with gold aviators/glass lenses no less. On top of that, superman yardsail off a jump requiring emergency room surgical suture to tie up my elbow that looked like a lobster tail. And still ride out of the forest with a busted knee and blood runnin' down my arm in full shock and adrenaline.
    Lead actor Will of the Sun, Author Platform Pedal Shootout 900K+ views

  13. #13
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    I did this once.

    after the ride, I thanked d-bug for carrying a spare helmet.

    remembering back, I was planning to head home and do a different ride closer to home had there not been a spare. I usually have a helmet in my car at all times, but I remember clearing my trunk area for a snow trip where I needed the cargo room.

  14. #14
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    You could also just start wearing a helmet at all times. At first people might think you are odd but after a while they will respect your sense of safety and resourcefulness.

  15. #15
    Weird huh?
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    Ask yourself: how many times have I ridden Demo?

    How many of those times did I crash where I impacted my helmet on something?

    Calculate the odds..

    weird huh?
    Poaching Demo...that's why we can't have nice things...

  16. #16
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    I would be doing time trials on Hihns. And climb up Braille and Sawpit yelling "Biker up!"

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmdrpiffle
    Ask yourself: how many times have I ridden Demo?

    How many of those times did I crash where I impacted my helmet on something?

    Calculate the odds..

    weird huh?
    Having many crashes, and at least one (that I can remember) broken helmet at Demo, the odds say to wear one. I'd probably ride "easy" at most of the other places, but demo has a lot of lines where that's difficult to do.
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  18. #18
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    A friend did this. He rode very slowly. It was just a slow ride in the woods for him

    From what I watch on TV, wearing a helmet or pads lowers your street cread. It looks like anyone who rides a skate board or BMX does not wear a helmet.

    As for me, It is when I have all the pads and the full face on that trouble finds me.

  19. #19
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    Good thoughts everyone. If you're curious what I did...I took option C. Rode "carefully" down Sawpit. Reduced speed by ~30%, no dropoffs > 1 ft, a few rollovers slowly, walked down a couple steep pitches even though I was 90% sure I'd be fine riding down them. Thanked my guardian angel when I get to Hihn's Mill.

  20. #20
    That makes me smart
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    Quote Originally Posted by TC
    losing an elbow pad on the pedal up to a rocky, techy downhill trail? weird feeling heading down with only one, and feel really dumb not wearing any. which arm do I wear it on?
    Kind of a dumb question. If you're right-handed, wear it on the right arm.

    Solved!

  21. #21
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    You guys sound like a gaggle of school girls texting to each other. "Had to borrow another rider's mis-matched, ripe gloves and it was a terrible ride"... ride without gloves, you effin sissy! Do you guys also not ride if you forget the band-aids and tampons?

  22. #22
    That makes me smart
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    Quote Originally Posted by grrrah
    I did this once.

    after the ride, I thanked d-bug for carrying a spare helmet.

    remembering back, I was planning to head home and do a different ride closer to home had there not been a spare. I usually have a helmet in my car at all times, but I remember clearing my trunk area for a snow trip where I needed the cargo room.
    I do this- I keep a spare lid in my boot all the time. Wish I could carry a spare bike to help out Big Boulder when he forgets his (yes, this has happened ).

  23. #23
    It's about showing up.
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    Nope

    My most recent rash last year was at low speed, spotty lighting, off-camber, crowded by a bush. Fell the long way down absorbing most of the fall with my helmet. Cracked it, rung my clock, cut through my lower lip. One big oops.

    Stuff happens.

  24. #24
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    We can debate about yes/no on the helmet decision, but this why I carry an extra in the trunk.

  25. #25
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    My husband and I rode all the way up to ridge when we realized that he forgot his helmet in the car. We were also "between jobs" with no health insurance.

    Well, we were all the way up, right? no where to go but down anyway.

  26. #26
    Axe
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    I would ride. Just take it easy on the downhill, and try to set a personal best time climbing. Helmet improves your odds, but going slower improves your odds even more.

    Did that once on Oat Hill Mine trail - took my sweet time rolling back - actually enjoyed the scenery.

  27. #27
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    Go for a hike and do trail work.
    Learn to bring extra equipment for your sport. In fact Ive lent a helmet, gloves, pedals , shoes, saddle, equipment etc. In return you get good karma- something I always appreciate when I'm the one in need.

  28. #28
    formerly Gobike69
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    With freedom comes responsibility. You take the chance you may have to pay the price. On the other hand riding without a helmet and annoying all of the self-righteous safety nazis would be worth it.
    Speed costs money, how fast can you afford to go?

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by sanjuro
    We can debate about yes/no on the helmet decision, but this why I carry an extra in the trunk.
    In this case that wouldn't have helped...If I had my car I'd have just grabbed my helmet...the whole point was that my car was left in Los Gatos...

  30. #30
    fc
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    In the last 20 years of riding, my helmet has saved my lid 0 times. But I still wouldn't ride Demo without. I ride enough. Also, I would ride like a spaz and crash for sure.

    fc

  31. #31
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    I have read that some road riders believe that a helmet actually increases your chance of injury. Something about the extra mass on your head causing greater inertia on impact, tweaking your neck...something like that.

    I have only fallen once or twice on the trail where I hit my head (helmet). I have however smacked my helmet on low branches a couple of times and that impact would have put the conk in conk-ussion. Of course, there is the chance that the extra inch or so on top of my head made the difference between impact and missing the branch.

  32. #32
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    yes. just don't ride demo at night helmetless.

  33. #33
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    I forgot my helmet once all of 2010, I chose your option "C" and got knocked off my bike by a low thick branch, cutting my head open just a little.

    It was ultimately no big deal, but made me think twice for next time. (I was trying to ride extra carefully...) It was a tricky place, a bit like Demo.

    Oh - and over the last 10 years I don't think I've ever hit my head hard or not hard. Just the once on the branch!

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by singletracktourist
    You guys sound like a gaggle of school girls texting to each other. "Had to borrow another rider's mis-matched, ripe gloves and it was a terrible ride"... ride without gloves, you effin sissy! Do you guys also not ride if you forget the band-aids and tampons?
    This.

    Man-up, already! If you're that scared of crashing, I'd suggest knitting, or maybe stamp collecting instead of mountain biking. Of course, you might stick a knitting needle in your eye, or get a paper cut... Best to wear safety glasses and kevlar gloves for both of those!

  35. #35
    another day at the office
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    Me three

    Quote Originally Posted by grrrah
    I did this once.

    after the ride, I thanked d-bug for carrying a spare helmet.

    remembering back, I was planning to head home and do a different ride closer to home had there not been a spare. I usually have a helmet in my car at all times, but I remember clearing my trunk area for a snow trip where I needed the cargo room.
    I've also been a benefactor of d-bug's spare helmet he carries with him to the trail. Thank goodness someone brings along extra gear and is willing to share.
    Some pain is physical and some is mental, but one that's both is dental.

  36. #36
    ventanakaz
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbt56
    This.

    Man-up, already! If you're that scared of crashing, I'd suggest knitting, or maybe stamp collecting instead of mountain biking. Of course, you might stick a knitting needle in your eye, or get a paper cut... Best to wear safety glasses and kevlar gloves for both of those!
    ...One day at band camp...
    i need to ride more. building jumps takes to much time...my other hobby is kicking the crap outta my home built mook jong.

  37. #37
    aka baycat
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    Quote Originally Posted by jbt56
    This.
    Man-up, already! I'd suggest knitting,
    Knitting is pretty relaxing. I prefer crocheting though.

  38. #38
    Axe
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan G.
    Knitting is pretty relaxing. I prefer crocheting though.



  39. #39
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    I probably wouldn't ride, I'd just drive home and grab the helmet then come back ( I only live 40min away). For me it's less the worry of crashing on my head as hitting branches and every other low hanging thing on the trail. I scrape my helmet on branch almost every ride at demo.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by singletracktourist
    You guys sound like a gaggle of school girls texting to each other. "Had to borrow another rider's mis-matched, ripe gloves and it was a terrible ride"... ride without gloves, you effin sissy! Do you guys also not ride if you forget the band-aids and tampons?
    Tampons are GREAT for controlling the bleeding of puncture wounds (or bullet holes, if you're into that sort of thing).
    Quote Originally Posted by jbt56
    Are you a whiny Marin liberal, or a hand-wringing Berkeley liberal?

  41. #41
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    I got to the top of a D'ville shuttle without my helmet once. I rode a little more carefully than usual, but I wasn't going to not ride.

    I rode for about 10 years without a helmet way back when.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by francois
    In the last 20 years of riding, my helmet has saved my lid 0 times. But I still wouldn't ride Demo without. I ride enough. Also, I would ride like a spaz and crash for sure.

    fc
    you kept your helmet after the 'bad' crash at demo when ya got heli'd out?

    damn....i replace mine when i hit it hard enough that i black out for a second....
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  43. #43
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    Lets hypothetically say someone riding without a helmet gets hurt at demo and whatever governing bodies hear of the incident, would that be grounds for the closure of the park? It would really bum me out if someones accident was the cause of the closure of a park. Too many mtb injuries on trails do not look good for the riding community as it gives a legitamate reason for such closures.

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fast Eddy

    I rode for about 10 years without a helmet way back when.
    Me too. Then I had two bad crashes in which I amazingly didn't hit my head. The ER doc that was sewing me up after the 2nd one suggested a helmet might be a good idea if I was going to keep rolling the dice.

    In the 30 years since then, I've had innumerable crashes, 3 of which definitely would have turned out badly for me without a helmet.

  45. #45
    I like mtn biking, too
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripes
    You never know when you'll need one.. it's cheaper than brain surgery
    Stripes, that's signature-worthy, heehee...

    Quote Originally Posted by Piranha426
    Tampons are GREAT for controlling the bleeding of puncture wounds (or bullet holes, if you're into that sort of thing).


    I personally wouldn't ride without one, but there are some who could probably do just fine.
    Half the planet is deep into bloody tribal mayhem. We’re just riding bikes (and drinking beer) here.
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  46. #46
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    i'm gonna go with ride carefully,helmetless. Used to ride not at all carefully for 10-15 years without a helmet. I have an oneal carbon/kevlar helmet that was bought 10+ years ago on a bikeshop employee group purchase of 5 ,mine is the only surviving helmet. I "really used" it once, on an endo on the plattekill trail called "hardcore",it was more of a scrape on flat rock with a rather low impact .It would have been a serious mess without a helmet and i wouldn't go down that trail without a helmet.

  47. #47
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    I went down hard once on Pauly Creek. I think my head was the first thing to hit the ground. Any way it wrung my bell pretty good. As I came to my senses and pushed myself up out of the rocks I saw a big spot of red on the boulder I had planted my melon on. I quietly freaked for a second thinking I was bleeding from a skull fracture. Turns out it was just the red paint off my helmet. I had hit the boulder about a half inch above my ear. I took my helmet off long enough to inspect the paint and give it a big wet kiss for saving my incredible brain matter.
    Consciousness, that annoying time between bike rides.

  48. #48
    (Ali)
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    Same thing happened to me at Purisima Creek. I chose to ride and payed $122.50 fine.

    On the other hand, my buddy did ride the last few miles of Demo without a helmet after exiting Braille in an interesting way and landing on his helmet. The helmet was not a helmet after that. He is still able to ride.

    Ali

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fast Eddy
    I got to the top of a D'ville shuttle without my helmet once. I rode a little more carefully than usual, but I wasn't going to not ride.
    My jaw was hurting from imagining what it would feel like hitting those baby head rocks the first time I rode there. I bought a full-face helmet for the next trip.

  50. #50
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    2clue said:
    For me it's less the worry of crashing on my head as hitting branches and every other low hanging thing on the trail. I scrape my helmet on branch almost every ride
    My experience exactly. I wear glasses and gloves always for the same reason.

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