I’ll spare you the details as to how I came to be doing this, but Thursday afternoon saw me riding my new (to me) bicycle — helmetless as is my preference — wearing a backpack that contained not one but two bicycle helmets.
Even I had to laugh at the rich irony that would’ve arisen from, say, the paramedics removing the pack from my comatose self and noticing its contents.
But as you probably gathered, since you are reading a fresh blog post, I did not end up unconscious from a bike mishap, or anything else for that matter.
Here’s the deal:
I would never, ever tell anyone that wearing a bicycle helmet is a bad idea, but I just really have a hard time bringing myself to wear one. Because when I was a kid, my unprotected head and I pedaling thousands of miles, uneventfully, around greater Milwaukie, bike helmets had not yet been invented, and even if they had, anyone wearing one would have been labeled a hopeless dork and teased mercilessly.
The dork factor, and the fact that nothing ever happened to me or anyone I knew, is a huge barrier to wearing a lid now, at age 49.
Oh, when my kids were little and learning to ride, I donned a helmet to set a good example. Evidently, however, not a good enough one since neither of them wears a helmet anymore.
Before departing on that Thursday afternoon ride, I asked sports editor Les Gehrett, younger than I am but in my general age group, if he wore a helmet while riding a bicycle.
“I don’t own a bike right now,” he said.
“But if you were to ride a bike, would you wear one?”
“Absolutely not,” he said. “I’d feel like an idiot.”
Copy editor Kate Schell, however, who is roughly the same age as my 20-something kids, said she pretty much always wears one.
“I’d rather be a dork than a vegetable,” she said, and again, I can’t really argue with that logic.
What about you? Bike helmet or no bike helmet?
And now, today’s Catch of the Day, No. 45, the semi-legendary, mid-1960s, Wilson-made Max Alvis glove written about in this spot in spring 2011: