A cyclist's best friend
Ever wondered what the most important piece of kit in you cycling locker is? Bike? Bibs? Cleats? Shoes? Sunnies? Bike computer? Spare inner-tube? (wow we do need a lot of kit don’t we!)
Well it’s none of these, it’s your lid, your hard top, your helmet!
I had a reminder last weekend that your helmet is by far the most important piece of kit and how important it is to wear one and one that fits correctly.
One of my pet hates (you get more as you get older) is seeing kids cycling to school without a helmet on or wearing one without the straps done up….or cycling along with the helmet hanging off the handle bars!
Last week I stopped a lad (I know, I sound like my Dad) last week who was riding on the road, air pods in and helmet swinging off his handlebars and said, “Put your helmet on, it’s for you own good”, to his credit he stopped, put it on and carried on his merry way. I wonder what he thought about the incident, I hope he did and now wears it as a matter of course!
There is no law in the UK, which make wearing a helmet mandatory while cycling on the road, there’s just a suggestion in the Highway code that cyclist ‘should’. I also understand that some people want to keep things old school and/or exert their right to freedom of choice and not wear one…..
But for the life of me , I can’t think of one good reason why (especially given the condition of our roads and the way some other road users drive) you’d actively choose not to wear a helmet!
As I mentioned earlier, I had a timely reminder recently that even a careful cyclist, in dry conditions and without another road user involved that a helmet can save you from a nasty injury. You see my buddy who I was out with was calling out the directions as my Garmin was refusing to speak to STRAVA, so I didn’t have the planned route! He called a left turn a little late, but I still tried to make it!
The road was dry but being in a rural area had acorns, mud (thanks HS2 works), sticks across it, my tyres had picked up some mud and consequently I went down rather hard. On hitting the ground my first thought was about my brand new Le Col bibs, were they ok? this was quickly followed by, “I hope I’ve not broken my hip (I‘m taking this as a sign of middle age!) and then finally “oh I feel a bit funny” as I’d also hit my head on the road.
Long story short, my bibs were fine (good news), my leg less so (not good news) but nothing broken (I’ll take that!) and I also know that the Garmin incident detection feature works (three missed calls from the wife even before I got back up off the road is evidence of that).
In addition, I have a few new ventilation features (holes) in my over-boots, gloves and jersey (not idea)!!! Good job Christmas is coming up as the family now know exactly what I NEED now (Always looking on the bright side)!
I managed to make it back home under my own steam feeling relatively ok and after peel off all the lycra it became apparent I’d been lucky as all I have to show for it was a bit of bruising. This developed over the week and after a midweek trip to the bike store and Doctors (in that order, you have to have your life priorities straight!), my bike has a few new ‘go faster stripes’ but is fine (mixed feelings as well you know n+1 and all that!), I had a slight concussion (not ideal) and needed a new helmet (they are one bump items you know!).
Although the damage suffered by the helmet may look superficial, a few scuffs and dents, the impact actually made a crack all the way through the inner shell and that could have easily been in my skull without my lid! It did its job, stayed in place, took the brunt of the impact and has now been consigned to the bin after saving me from what could have been a nasty impact injury.
I’m still a little shaken by the incident and have given myself the week off cycling but come next week I hope to be back on the bike and working off all those comfort/recovery biscuits, crisps and chocolate bars I’ve been eating!!
So please, when you are out on your bike. Wear a well-fitting helmet to help keep your head in one piece and if by writing this post, it makes one other person wear a helmet then it has been time well spent.
Stay safe and happy cycling.