"working on my faults and cracks..."

1.14.2010

just add heroin

Now, I wouldn't ever condone not wearing a helmet when riding, but it always seemed somewhat hypocritical for me to wear one, while voluntarily riding a bike without brakes. I mean, does observing one small safety measure grant free passage to a whole host of separately irresponsible behavior? Would you insist on drinking from a glass of carefully filtered water in one hand, while scarfing down a disgusting hot pocket in the other? How rebellious! Or how about having systematically protected, missionary-style sex whilst shooting up on heroin? Whichever sounds more ironic and/or inherently dangerous--I think they both serve to illustrate my point.


Back to wherever I was going with this.

Oh yes. So, seeing as I've been commuting 20 miles a day for the past two months on a bike with brakes, and without a helmet, it's been hard to clip into the pedals each morning without feeling a little guilty--perhaps over an awareness of how completely unhip I was for being only partially irresponsible.  I was mostly ok with feeling a little incomplete though. Until earlier this week though, when that asshole California doctor finally got what was coming to him--five years in jail for deliberately slamming on his vehicle brakes in front of two cyclists who were descending behind him at a high rate of speed on a technically wicked section of road. I think the presiding judge called it "attempted murder." While it was a miracle that both riders are still alive today, one of them is on medication for night terrors stemming from the accident trauma, and the other required cosmetic facial reconstruction surgery to get back into society. To clarify--his nose was sheared off when his helmeted noggin went through the good doctor's rear windshield. Now, nothing short of a full-faced downhill helmet and an actual suit of armor could protect against an accident like that.

In short, the forced re-reading of the grisly case details was enough to get me scrambling, and back in the hunt for something to insure my gray matter. Unfortunately for me, function-over-form bike commuters are not known for their savvy fashion sense, and so pickings are always slim at best. It also doesn't help that the shape of my head is about as elegant as a pear doing a handstand, to be wrapping in a high-impact foam/plastic shell. So outside of the heavily performance-inspired designs, my options ultimately fall into one of three highly appealing categories: "Picks Up Russian Satellite Radio," "Look What Mom Gave Me for Christmas," and my personal favorite, "I Hope You Dumbshits Got Health Insurance."

So to refrain from sharing with you the arduous selection process that saw me browsing hundreds, and finally ordering five different helmets online (four of which were hastily returned), I settled on an all-season lid--the lightest, and most low-profile of the bunch, that still met the high-impact certifications I was looking for. Nice thing about this one (the Brentwood), is how it fits around my skull, and not just on top of it. Stellar concept. Plus, it's slim enough to fit under a sweatshirt hood. Just like my head. Sold.

safety first

I already feel great about riding in a helmet. But now there's something else missing about the ride now. Maybe that's what's so damning about peace of mind. It's too damn peaceful.

Now if that's not incentive enough for shooting smack, I have no idea what is.

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