Part of the look?!

This sub-forum all discussions about this "lively" subject. All topics that are substantially about helmets will be moved here, if not placed here correctly in the first place.
Chiz
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Part of the look?!

Postby Chiz » 15 Jan 2016, 1:48am

I'll apologise now as this is as much a rant as it is a question.

Having read a post on a helmet topic about sporting cyclists wearing helmets (along with Lycra club/team colours), I wondered how much of helmet wearing amongst sporting cyclists is because it's the look they are going for?

The topic of wearing/not wearing is fresh in my mind as I got into a blazing Facebook row with a fellow club member not so long ago with regards to the real value of helmets. In part of our 'disagreement' I was asked if I wear a helmet and for what reason. I admitted that I did wear a helmet despite being sceptical of their real value in an 'off', but I had to stop and think as to why I wear one as I hadn't really given it any thought until then. The only answer I could provide was that I was caught up in 'the look'!! I'd bought the jazzy tops, the bib shorts, the arm warmers, the leg warmers, the socks and all the other sporting cyclist paraphernalia so naturally I'd bought a helmet. This was thrown straight back at me as hypocritical (perhaps it is) and arguing with myself (perhaps I was). The argument descended into name calling on his part, which I won't lower myself to, especially amongst fellow cyclists, many of whom I barely know (this particular cyclist included), so it was dead in the water. To stir things up even more, a few other club members chimed in with personal experiences of how a helmet saved their lives or someone else's life, the usual spiel when they've convinced themselves that is the case. I wasn't going to pick an argument with every single one of them, despite sort of wanting to, so I've decided to just walk away from the discussion to prevent any further hostilities (!!!!)

If I'm honest, I've done nothing but think about some of the blinkered comments since. I wonder how many of the sporting cyclists who commented that they always wore a helmet (for whatever reason they gave), were actually just wearing one because it is part of 'the look'.

One member went as far as to say that non-helmet wearers were perhaps over-disciplined as children and felt the need to rebel at every opportunity since. A non-constructive comment at best, a demonstration of helmet wearing blinkeredness at worst, made more annoying that the member in question is one that I'd ridden with quite regularly and had became friends with.

The direction the club in question has been taking recently has been annoying me for some time, I think this is the final nail in the coffin for my club membership.

Thank you everyone for listening, I really appreciate any wise words you have for me.

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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Part of the look?!

Postby [XAP]Bob » 15 Jan 2016, 7:32am

I'd say something like:

Since you seem to have so many more than the UK average number of potentially fatal collision I don't think it's safe to ride with you any more.
A shortcut has to be a challenge, otherwise it would just be the way. No situation is so dire that panic cannot make it worse.
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beardy
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Re: Part of the look?!

Postby beardy » 15 Jan 2016, 9:07am

This was thrown straight back at me as hypocritical (perhaps it is) and arguing with myself (perhaps I was)


Have you told anybody that they should not wear a helmet or that wearing a helmet will cause them harm (other than to the wallet)?
If so then you would have been hypocritical.
People wear cycle helmets as camera mounts, for weather protection, as you said for "the look" and frequently to deflect criticism (esp after a crash) from helmet "believers".
There are plenty of things that I buy and use for purposes other than their stated one. I have a lot of army kit but I dont go around killing, maiming or invading. It may be for "the look" or dual-functionality.

Steady rider
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Re: Part of the look?!

Postby Steady rider » 15 Jan 2016, 9:13am

In brief then helmet discussions can lead to significant problems. Part of the solution is probably in explaining the relative merits and disadvantages of helmets. It may be possible to arrange a presentation, for and against info, so that cyclists can ask questions. I will see if a a suitable venue can be found.

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mjr
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Re: Part of the look?!

Postby mjr » 15 Jan 2016, 11:13am

Chiz wrote:Having read a post on a helmet topic about sporting cyclists wearing helmets (along with Lycra club/team colours), I wondered how much of helmet wearing amongst sporting cyclists is because it's the look they are going for?

I think it's a big part of it. Not so much because many admit to it, but because ordinary cyclists are so often accused of not wearing helmets because we don't like the look of them!

That's clearly bonkers because anyone who sees me in my distance-cycling gear should realise that I'm dressed for comfort not fashion - the look of helmets weren't why I wore one (my first one was a real mushroom!), nor why I stopped. Helmets are also marketed often leading on their look or shape or style, which I find interesting, such as this from Bell:
http://www.bellhelmets.com/en_eu/cycling/helmets/pavement/draft wrote:With a fresh new shape and large air vents, Draft delivers advanced features and design at an incredible value. Its rounded, compact profile is a nod to modern road style. ...


Older sporting cyclists still don't wear helmets when they're not forced to (time trials, for example), much to the consternation of younger ones who seem to have swallowed British Cycling's helmet promotion and compulsion for most events.

I don't know how to deal with this well. Even as more and more research shows that something is negating whatever impact protection helmets offer - most recently http://road.cc/174975 about risk-taking, I can't get sports cyclists to discuss it without such nonsense as posting abuse, calling me irresponsible and saying that I'm encouraging "greater risk-taking" by pointing out the truth that the overwhelming majority of cyclists don't wear helmets.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Bmblbzzz
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Re: Part of the look?!

Postby Bmblbzzz » 15 Jan 2016, 11:38am

Of course it is an identity to an extent. Other 'types' of cyclists can be seen wearing other items which have a supposed utility but are as much a badge of membership as anything else: the commuters' hi-viz, the mountain bikers' baggy shorts, and so on. This is a common theme throughout groups of people around the world, sometimes formalised and prescribed (uniform) more often assumed or traditional, and sometimes extending to the body itself (whether formally prescribed eg circumcision or adopted in practice eg tattoos and piercings). To the extent that it's a human trait to want to feel we belong to a group and to display this, it is a good or even necessary thing.

Chiz
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Re: Part of the look?

Postby Chiz » 15 Jan 2016, 12:20pm

beardy wrote:
This was thrown straight back at me as hypocritical (perhaps it is) and arguing with myself (perhaps I was)


Have you told anybody that they should not wear a helmet or that wearing a helmet will cause them harm (other than to the wallet)?
If so then you would have been hypocritical.
People wear cycle helmets as camera mounts, for weather protection, as you said for "the look" and frequently to deflect criticism (esp after a crash) from helmet "believers".
There are plenty of things that I buy and use for purposes other than their stated one. I have a lot of army kit but I dont go around killing, maiming or invading. It may be for "the look" or dual-functionality.


I hadn't told anyone to do anything, I'd simply commented on a post about helmets saying that sometimes a helmet can contribute to head injuries. I even added "under the right circumstances of course" just to clarify that I wasn't being completely 'anti'. To further clarify my position on the subject, I said I didn't think there was a right answer as to whether or not a helmet should be worn, his response was, "there is a right answer, wear one".

There wasn't any sarcasm, or poking fun, I just added what I thought was an interesting point to a discussion about helmets.

The discussion was actually about mounting lights to a helmet, with a photo of a helmet that had been cracked in two by a large helmet-mounted light. I pointed out that even if such an object didn't crack the helmet, it could still cause the head to twist on impact, which could be far worse than just landing straight on the helmet (the main point I wanted to make). I then said that even just a helmet could contribute to such an injury, under the right circumstances of course. That appeared to be match to the touch paper, no more talk of helmet mounted lights or cameras, just accusation after accusation of being hypocritical, misleading, dangerous, rebellious and various other unfounded claims, all peppered with foul language and insults.

I shall be steering clear of the member in question from now on (both online and on the road) as looking back through Facebook, he appears to be quite partial to an argument. As I said in my first post, I think I've had enough with this particular club so it's no great loss. I wasn't pro/anti helmet before this, just a bit sceptical, might sound silly but getting that sort of reaction out of a 'pro-helmet' person pushes me the other way.

Chiz
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Re: Part of the look?!

Postby Chiz » 15 Jan 2016, 12:44pm

I even directed the club member towards this forum and this board in particular, in the hope that he'd at least read up on the subject. His response was that he was a road cyclist posting on a road page and because he didn't tour he didn't need the opinions of a touring club or a charity.

I find this forum extremely useful for general cycling discussion (more reading than contributing I'll admit) and the helmet sub-forum is a good place to send people with questions as it's a gold mine of info and links to research. It's far easier to send people here than it is to go hunting for the links and research myself.

mjr wrote:Older sporting cyclists still don't wear helmets when they're not forced to (time trials, for example), much to the consternation of younger ones who seem to have swallowed British Cycling's helmet promotion and compulsion for most events.


This was brought up by another member who has been doing Audaxes, he commented that he'd seen a worrying trend amongst the 'old school' of not wearing helmets but the 'more modern' audaxers all wore them. Take from that what you will.

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meic
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Re: Part of the look?!

Postby meic » 15 Jan 2016, 12:54pm

One member went as far as to say that non-helmet wearers were perhaps over-disciplined as children and felt the need to rebel at every opportunity since


This may be leading us to the real problem here. The argument may be superficially about helmets but there is some "game playing" going on. Time to google transactional analysis.

The advice has been proffered by the "parent" but rejected by the "child" which is a threat to the "parent's" authority and has got their back up, just like heresy.
You thought that you were having an "adult" to "adult" discussion about the efficacy of helmets, which would not initiate the sort of response that you received. If on the other hand you had realised you were threatening their status you may have been ready for the response that you generated.

As you say, nothing to be gained by further debate and plenty to be lost by being dragged into their "game".
That doesnt mean that you have to stop riding with them though, we all have our peculiarities and can ride together despite them. I ride with helmet zealots, racists, fascists and even English people. :lol:

edit: If they take up your reference to this site they are not going to like what I have written and will blame you for it. :mrgreen:
Yma o Hyd

beardy
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Re: Part of the look?!

Postby beardy » 15 Jan 2016, 1:02pm

This was brought up by another member who has been doing Audaxes, he commented that he'd seen a worrying trend amongst the 'old school' of not wearing helmets but the 'more modern' audaxers all wore them. Take from that what you will.


trend, trend, trend!!!!! (in exasperated font) We dont have helmets and have been riding without them since [insert time period appropriate for your years, preferably involving other people in nappies].

Chiz
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Re: Part of the look?!

Postby Chiz » 15 Jan 2016, 1:14pm

meic wrote:As you say, nothing to be gained by further debate and plenty to be lost by being dragged into their "game".
That doesnt mean that you have to stop riding with them though, we all have our peculiarities and can ride together despite them. I ride with helmet zealots, racists, fascists and even English people. :lol:

edit: If they take up your reference to this site they are not going to like what I have written and will blame you for it. :mrgreen:


They have a helmets to be worn policy on club rides, with the exclusions that can bring (a whole other subject). My intention is to stop wearing a helmet and save myself upwards of £150(!!!) every couple of years, also have more freedom to wear more practical headwear whilst commuting in foul weather.

The discussion has made me quite bitter towards some of the club members unfortunately, I can't trust myself not to bring it up whilst out on the road with them. As I've said, it's not a big deal as the clubs 'more sporting' direction they've taken isn't to my taste, I'm more of a pootle to the cafe and spend too long in there sort of cyclist. They did have a more relaxed section of the club but they've all been pushed to longer, faster and more semi-competitive rides.

Another policy is that members must have drop bars for road rides, the reasons given are for the safety of the group but it does illustrate the clubs sporting intentions.

Chiz
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Re: Part of the look?!

Postby Chiz » 15 Jan 2016, 1:20pm

beardy wrote:
This was brought up by another member who has been doing Audaxes, he commented that he'd seen a worrying trend amongst the 'old school' of not wearing helmets but the 'more modern' audaxers all wore them. Take from that what you will.


trend, trend, trend!!!!! (in exasperated font) We dont have helmets and have been riding without them since [insert time period appropriate for your years, preferably involving other people in nappies].


Audax is a new thing to them, I think they find it at odds to everything they 'know' from club cycling.

I haven't done anywhere near Audax mileage, I might do someday. I do like the look of a typical Audaxer (if a typical look exists). Every photo I've seen of Audaxers and their bikes has given the impression of extreme practicality and comfort above all, "this cyclist means business, and that business is racking mega miles up in one sitting" to put it in a quote.

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meic
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Re: Part of the look?!

Postby meic » 15 Jan 2016, 1:27pm

It could be time for an amicable separation on grounds of incompatibility.

In some ways I agree with the man who said "what can touring cyclists teach us", I would not try and suggest that race and MTB riders are in the same position as myself. There may not be much difference in our road speeds but a lot of difference in our risk levels.

You are in a position of not fitting the group very well and the helmet issue is just a final straw.
I have never ventured into such clubs in the first place (I may have tried if they were not so set on people wearing helmets). My only issue comes when I see a social ride, well within the limits of a mudguarded tourer powered by an overweight middle-aged man and I am excluded because of a helmet rule.
Yma o Hyd

beardy
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Re: Part of the look?!

Postby beardy » 15 Jan 2016, 1:31pm

Chiz wrote:
beardy wrote:
This was brought up by another member who has been doing Audaxes, he commented that he'd seen a worrying trend amongst the 'old school' of not wearing helmets but the 'more modern' audaxers all wore them. Take from that what you will.


trend, trend, trend!!!!! (in exasperated font) We dont have helmets and have been riding without them since [insert time period appropriate for your years, preferably involving other people in nappies].


Audax is a new thing to them, I think they find it at odds to everything they 'know' from club cycling.

I haven't done anywhere near Audax mileage, I might do someday. I do like the look of a typical Audaxer (if a typical look exists). Every photo I've seen of Audaxers and their bikes has given the impression of extreme practicality and comfort above all, "this cyclist means business, and that business is racking mega miles up in one sitting" to put it in a quote.


Not only do some of us ride without helmets we also ride with patches on our inner tubes!
We dont replace tyres every six months (unless we have worn them out).

Chiz
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Re: Part of the look?!

Postby Chiz » 15 Jan 2016, 1:40pm

beardy wrote:Not only do some of us ride without helmets we also ride with patches on our inner tubes!
We dont replace tyres every six months (unless we have worn them out).


Yes, that mystified me at first, I didn't kick up too much of a fuss as it provided a ready supply of easily repairable inner tubes for free.

As for tyres, I caused borderline mutiny when I put solid tyres on my bike! (The tyres were only a curiosity, I wasn't trying to make a statement or anything)