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Helmet 100% of the time???(28 posts)

Helmet 100% of the time???mark_2811
Sep 5, 2002 11:07 AM
I've seen lots of people, and in photos posted on this board, that either don't wear a helmet sometimes or remove it when climbing or very hot. See posting Look381i "Graduate School in the US" 9/4/02 8:36am

Personally I wear my helmet 100% of the time and I think it's stupid to have your helmet on your handlebars (or not at all). Is this attitude shared or am I too anal?

By the way this question is partially related to my post about headphones from yesterday (see below). It seems that everyone is very safety conscience, so I'm curious about this issue as well!
never quite understood...mr_spin
Sep 5, 2002 11:11 AM
Why do people carry helmets if they aren't going to wear them? Stems don't need much protection. Either leave it at home or put it on your head. Carrying it just makes you look like an idiot. Gee, I know I should have this for some reason, I'm just not sure what it is....
But, it's not Euro-cool to wear your....Wayne
Sep 5, 2002 11:25 AM
helmet except when racing. Come-on everybody knows that!
Look at the background.Sintesi
Sep 5, 2002 11:53 AM
They guy is high in the Alps. He's probably so hot he had to take the helmet off. To me, if you're on an extended climb and you're only going 9-11mph it's okay to take the helmet off until you summit.

Give him a break says I.
Sep 5, 2002 1:02 PM
Do what you want, I don't care. We're all grown ups here. There's not much that I'm dogmatic about. But I still think it's stupid to carry a helmet you aren't going to wear. Trust me, everyone looks at you and thinks the same thing: why did he bother bringing it?

Furthermore, in that picture, if the guy is so hot, maybe he should lose the bandana, too. A lot of the heat that leaves your body goes out through your head, which is why your mom told you to wear a cap when you played in the snow. If you tell me you don't wear a helmet because it's hot and then you cover your head, I shake my head in disbelief.
From the "dude" in the picture...DCW
Sep 5, 2002 3:06 PM
Something tells me you haven't done a one or two hour, 7-8% climb in hot weather. The picture was taken about 3/4 of the way up Alpe d'Huez (switchback #5, named after Andy Hampsten) on hot day.

The day before I had climbed Mont Ventoux, on a hotter day, intending to wear my helmet the entire ride. After about an hour of steady climbing 7 miles of 6-16% gradient, I was competely blinded by my own sweat. (Sweat comes quickly in these conditions, especially when you are 53 years old, weigh ten pounds more than you did at 25, have a helmet on and are moving only 7 mph.) I looked around and realized I was the only one wearing his helmet on his head. I took a cue from the other 1000 riders and took it off, strapping it to my stem. Sweat was easier to wipe with my glove and did evaporate a bit without a helmet.

Anyhoo . . . the next day, after riding 35 miles up hill from Grenoble to the base of Alpe d'Huez, with my helmet on, I stopped into a bike shop an bought a do-rag. Just before I started up the first 10% slopes of the climb, I stopped, peed, put my helmet on my stem again and my do-rag on my head. It worked like a charm . . . absorbed the sweat and kept most of it out of my eyes. After getting to the top, having a coffee and lunch (and buying the picture you refer to from the pro who took it), I put my helmet back on, descended to Bourg d'Oisans and then rode the 35 miles back to Grenoble.

So, why did I take it with me if I wasn't going wear it? Because for about 80 of the miles that day, I wanted to wear it. And unfortunately, my team car wasn't close by to take it from me for the climb. ;>)

And thanks to the guy who thought I was going 10 mph up the climb. I averaged just over 7. I did do the 35 back to Grenoble at 23 mph, but it was mostly downhill.

Any other questions?

By the way, I riding my steel bike that day, not my Look 381i. It was at home, wearing its own helmet I hope.

(I am always amazed by folks on this web site who ridicule others without having ridden a mile in their Sidis.)
From the "dude" in the picture...mr_spin
Sep 6, 2002 6:30 AM
I still don't care if you wear a helmet or not. As for me, I've done countless one or two hour, 7-8% climbs in hot weather and I've never felt the need to remove my helmet. I love long, steep climbs. I seek out new ones all the time.

Next year when I climb L'Alpe d'Huez, you will easily be able to recognize me. I'll be the guy still wearing a helmet. I'll say hello as I pass you along the way.
I have no doubt you are as wise and fast as you say . . .Look381i
Sep 6, 2002 10:13 AM
and will pass many people on Alpe d'Huez. You obviously climb fast and what little sweat you produce evaporates before it runs into your eyes. I simply had to make the judgment that it was safer for me to go helmetless at 7 mph (very occasionally 10 mph) on car-less roads than to ride while dabbing at my brows, to take my hands off the bars to wipe my glasses, etc. or to stop every kilometer.

By the way, I just did a rough calculation. (Excepting my first twenty years of riding (as an adult), when I wore no helmet except a "hairnet" for racing) I have ridden approximately 35,000 miles on road and mountain bikes. Less than 20 of those miles have been helmetless. Until my desperate sin on Mont Ventoux, repeated on Alpe d'Huez, I was 100% in the modern era (13 years). Now I am only 99.94% pure.
Thanks, Sintesi, I needed that . . .DCW
Sep 5, 2002 3:20 PM
vote of confidence. But then again, your handle suggests you also appreciate a lugged steel frame (I was on my Guerciotti Neuron in the photo). I'll bet you are over 25, or at least are very mature for your age. ;>)

As I mentioned in my response below, it took me an hour to go up Alpe d'Huez and two hours up Mont Ventoux, about twice the tme it takes the pros. That put my average speed at only about 7 mph. There were moments that I reached double figure speeds, and I felt great when it happened. But there weren't that many under 7% gradients on either climb. I called these climbs and the one up the Hautacam "praying for 8%" because 9% and steeper is really discouraging for kilometers at a time.

Look 381i (AKA on this computer as DCW)
Dude, get with the program!jaybird
Sep 5, 2002 11:26 AM
Those riders probably have a super badass stem and handlebars that need to be protected. Kinda like the motorcycle riders that are trying to protect the back part of their seat with a helmet.

Or perhaps they just dont have enough to fill a brain bucket anyway.

Megadittos on helmets 100% of the time.
Cooling Vs Heating Your Headjose_Tex_mex
Sep 5, 2002 11:57 AM
Most of the time your helmet is great since it blocks the sun and helps keep your head cool. Since your head is a large heat dump, this significantly helps your performance.

I wear mine just about 100% of the time. However, on some large, long mountain climbs it has helped (performance wise) to take it off. This is because at the slower speeds - sometime 6 or 7 going up grades at portions of 20% they helmet restricts air flow and starts to bake your head. Also, if you are hitting a hill after high miles, any little bit of weight off of your neck can help.

However, again there's rarely an excuse to not wear a helmet for 99.9% of the rides.
Cooling Vs Heating Your HeadPaulCL
Sep 5, 2002 12:23 PM
How about all that energy you expend taking off the helmet?? Kinda joking here. But it never occurs to me pre-climb. I'd be concerned the helmet would fall off the bike.

Restricts airflow?? insignificant amount with the new vented helmets
Baking head?? Nope. Helmet reflects the heat and keeps it cooler.
Coolness factor?? OK..riding up Alp De Huez with the helmet protecting your stem does look cool.

Me: Helmet 100% of the time. No exceptions. You never know when that accident is going to happen. Same way with seatbelts.
Cooling Vs Heating Your Headjose_Tex_mex
Sep 5, 2002 12:42 PM
We're mostly in agreement - the points I made were mostly for the significant mountain climbs and not your every day cycle.

When you are at speed I agree the helmet does not causes an airflow problem. However, when you are clmbing there's definitely a large percentage of material covering your head and disallowing air to flow.

As for baking your head - true, when you are at speed it helps. However, just as the heat from the sun is reflected so to is the heat from your head kept in. It's kind of like a coffee cup - the styrofoam is supposed to keep the coffee hot. Your helmet's styrofoam acts in much the same way. Again, a problem only at low speeds. When the body cannot dump its heat - you overheat.

Coolness Factor- being in France with your bike, a bottle of wine, and some cheese is all the cool I need.

I wear my helmet religiously. However, I am not a fanatic about them because sometimes you are just $hit out of luck. They are not a magic shield.
re: Helmet 100% of the time???PMC
Sep 5, 2002 11:57 AM
I saw two guys just yesterday in full euro kit without helmets. On a closed race circuit I can see it, in traffic I cannot. It wasn't even very hot out.
Your head can end up hitting the dirt - your decision. nmtz
Sep 5, 2002 12:15 PM
Helmets are expensive!AaronL
Sep 5, 2002 12:34 PM
What if you have one on, and crash then and it splits? You have to buy a new one.

If you keep it on the stem, when you crash there is less likelyhood of it getting damaged. :)

Me, i wear mine 100% of the time and I've ridden in the California Central valley in mid-summer when the temp is triple digits. I've yet to feel the helmet was too hot.
re: Helmet 100% of the time???Shad
Sep 5, 2002 12:44 PM
I haven't always worn a helmet all of the time when riding alone. That said, I went down on a group ride last Saturday and cracked my helmet in half. I would have been hurting without it. I just really enjoy riding with the wind in my hair though. Not sure if it's worth the risk after looking at the scrapes across my helmet, feeling the scrapes on my body and imagining what my head would feel like today had I been sans helmet.
re: Helmet 100% of the time???No_sprint
Sep 5, 2002 1:02 PM
Most of the time here. Sometimes on climbs, it comes off, sometimes on really slow, no traffic recovery riding, it's not along for the ride.
A guy I seeMudman
Sep 5, 2002 1:33 PM
I see a guy that rides a similar route as I. Never has on a helment (Ball cap) and headphones. The big ones that cover the entire ear. Like the ones DJ's were.

Granted only about 4-5 cars pass me on this road but I do not get it. No mountains just rolling hills. There is a trucking depot on this road and usually 1 or 2 18 wheelers pass me......real close.

He is fast too. go figure
If a truck hits you...Wayne
Sep 6, 2002 3:43 AM
a helmet ain't going to do one bit of good!
Both accidents where I broke my helmet were....Gregory Taylor
Sep 5, 2002 1:36 PM
...within 2 miles of my house. Neither was during an epic ride -- one was when I fell off my bike after coming unclipped while honking up a big hill on my commute home (tally: one broken helmet, one concussion), the other was when I got hit by a car on a casual ride (tally: one broken helmet, one trashed bike, one big headache).

I wear mine all of the time. You just don't know when you will get bit. I'm a satisfied helment user.
100% herebianchi boy
Sep 5, 2002 7:00 PM
The way I see it, you could crack your skull just as easily falling going 8 mph as you could going 20-30 mph. What causes the damage is the impact from striking the ground. Look at it this way: If you fell of a ladder and landed on your head, it would crack just the same as if you fell off the back of a pickup truck.

This is not to criticize DCW (the guy in the photo), it's just my view. By the way, I rode 60+ mile route in the mountains of SC/NC a couple weeks ago with a 10-mile continuous climb at one point, and I never even noticed my helmet. And believe me, it is very hot and humid down South.
Helmet 100% of the time!jtlmd
Sep 5, 2002 8:57 PM
Even if you're slowly climbing a hill how do you know the next car coming down or going up the hill isn't going to hit you or run you off the road? It doesn't matter what speed the cyclist is traveling when the much larger car strikes him. I'd rather be wearing the helmet, than be seriously injured, dead or disabled.
you only need it when you crashDougSloan
Sep 6, 2002 5:44 AM
Just plan on not crashing, stick to the plan, and you're ok.

Oh yes, because...Eager Beagle
Sep 6, 2002 6:13 AM
A friend of a friend had 1/2 his head ripped off when a truck side mirror hit him from behind when he was stopped at a traffic light.

Nothing he did wrong - didn't (couldn't) see it coming.

And that aside from the usual pothole, equipment failure, diesel spill, idiot driver, mad dog, etc etc.
100% , and a storydotkaye
Sep 6, 2002 9:04 AM
my 4yr old son and I were walking up the road to Maroon Bells, a really nice 10mile climb from Aspen. A bike passed us, helmet on handlebars: my son said loudly "look daddy, he's being foolish, he's not wearing his helmet !" Guy didn't say anything, but about 1/2 mile later, saw him stopped and putting his helmet on..
From the mouths of babesjtlmd
Sep 6, 2002 12:34 PM
I love it when our children know more than some adults.
re: Helmet 100% of the time???-Dave-
Sep 7, 2002 7:23 PM
There are waaayyy too many stupid pedestrians to go without in my opinion....