Feb 8, 2009

Going Naked

I can't really remember the last time I rode a bike without a helmet. I probably logged several thousand miles in my youth without a helmet and never thought a thing about it; nobody wore helmets back in the 1980's. My cousin had one, but he had toured across the county and wore one of those Bell Egg Shell things (but only later in his touring career). 

I bought my first helmet in college, after a pretty scary near miss when I almost got left-hooked at a busy intersection in Madison (it was one of those Vetta units that looked like an imperial storm trooper prop). I have faithfully worn a helmet on virtually every ride since then (and because I am pretty cautious, have never needed it).

Today I charmed my wife into getting out her bike and going around a local lake. The entire ride was going to be on very quite side streets and Multiple Use Trails, and I could not find my little beany thing I wear under the helmet on cool days. So, I rode without a helmet.

It felt so... naughty, at first. Riding helmet less? How irresponsible! What kind of example does that set? I was surprised at how these thoughts were playing through my mind as I headed down the hill towards the MUP. I also secretly hoped for some kind of taboo instant gratification for this minor act of disobedience - the wind blowing through my hair, etc., etc.

Sadly, my lidless ride was nowhere near as liberating as I would have thought. Certainly not like skinny dipping. Not even like sneaking into better seats at the Metro Dome. In fact, after the first 10 minutes or so, I pretty much forgot all about it. It's kind of disappointing when your minor acts of rebellion turn out to be mundane.


  1. OMG This is funny! The few times I've ridden, well, started out without my helmet, I felt strange, and stopped in the back alley and was lie.. Hmm. Something's off. And went to scratch my head and *ding* And I rode back home to get it.
    There was one time though, I was a bad Hellen, and was almost home after riding around Lake Nokomis, and puttering around at the Falls, and all over, having this strange feeling all along, and then it hit me that I was helmetless. YIKES! Uffda. I think it's old age creeping up on me.
    After Hubby hitting the pavement around the traffic circle at the Falls the Winter before upon riding over a patch of ice, and definitely his accident last year, I have attached my helmet TO my bike in a way that I can't forget it.

  2. Good idea. I almost always wear a helmet because they don't call them "accidents" for nothing. Eric's accident was similar to my near miss, and that put a helmet on my head as well.