Bicycle Ponderings: what to wear when you ride

Look, No Helmet!So you just got a sweet bike. One of those hip road bikes, you know? The ones with the downward-curving handlebars and the skinny wheels, to go with your skinny jeans. You’ve got that messenger bag that sits high on your lower back when you cross it over your chest: maybe it’s recycled plastic, or maybe it has a revolutionary patch on it. You ride it to school now, even though you live five blocks away and walking never bothered you before. Now that you’ve got a bicycle, though, you can’t imagine how you ever did it. And sometimes you ride it around the city, maybe even in the street, and you chain it to a variety of sign posts and structures, to make sure no one rides off with it or, god forbid, carry it away.

And now the question arises … helmet? No helmet?

PROS of the helmet:

-If you get hit by a moving vehicle, if you tend to run into parked cars or if you are a dare-devil and like to cross highways on your road bike, that helmet strapped tightly under your chin will absorb the impact that would have splattered your brains across the road, a la “Red Asphalt” educational videos.

-You can decorate your helmet with a different theme every month. You might try glitter, a layer of fine feathers or small action figures tucked into the grooves (remember, it is best to leave some of the surface slick to enable sliding across pavement in the event of a crash landing).

-You can pretend that you are a NASA spaceship operator and your helmet is a rocket launcher that makes you go even faster down the streets of Georgetown.

CONS of the helmet:

-Even if people say, “hey, sweet helmet” they are probably saying to themselves within, “god, does she think she’s like, gonna get hit on the Georgetown campus?”

-Exceptional hairstyles, such as mullets, pompadours, ducktails and fauxhawks are prone to flattening under the tight grip of bicycle helmets, even the ones that look like rocket launchers.

-Wearing helmets may have the adverse effect of making bicycle riders brazen in the face of other vehicles on the road. This encourages running red lights and stop signs, and cutting off pedestrians with a swerve and optional apologetic cry over the shoulder, while already half-way down the next block.

So, avid Vox Populi readers, the answer of whether or not to wear your helmet lies within your agency. And remember, there are no rules to the game. You can choose to wear your helmet if only riding the streets of downtown DC, if you venture out of Georgetown, never, or even always. Enjoy and ride safe.

Posted by Lauren Gaskill, Associate Editor

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