What would you do.....

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MickTheCyclist
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What would you do.....

Postby MickTheCyclist » 4 Jun 2015, 10:41pm

Just looking for opinions.

So my employers were organising a 100 mile cycle for employees to raise funds for this year's charity.
I registered my interest.
After much thought they cancelled the self-organised idea and decided to participate in a local sportive instead.
But the sportive is helmets only so now I am prevented from participating.

I generally ignore helmet-compulsary events; their event, their rules.
But I feel slightly disappointed that the company would select an event that effectively discriminates against one of their employees based on personal lifestyle choices.
Of course they aren't even aware it is an issue. I don't imagine they even considered helmets when picking the event.

So what would you do or say, if anything.

old_windbag
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Re: What would you do.....

Postby old_windbag » 4 Jun 2015, 11:50pm

Just a thought as I've pondered this idea in the past. If a lot of people from your company are doing the sportive is it not possible for you to ride the route from start to finish with your colleagues but carrying your own food/drink( or they could pass some to you at stops as long as you didn't help yourself ). You'd then just be riding public roads like anyone else but riding with your colleagues and not carrying a number or tag or helmet!... can't be any law against that? You can still get sponsorship money from your friends as doing the sportive route would be no different to your company organising a no-entry fee group ride for charity. Also the original planned ride presumably wouldn't have been aimed at getting gold,silver or bronze times as the sportive is, hence on the sportive would your colleagues still not be riding in steady paced groups rather than be be racing for times? I'd have thought you can stiil enjoy your company ride outside of being a sportive entrant. Hope I've understood your dilemma. One last point, as your colleagues may have paid a fee to enter the ride you could pay the fee you would have paid into the charity pot so all's fair and no-one is out of pocket.

Vorpal
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Re: What would you do.....

Postby Vorpal » 5 Jun 2015, 6:38am

I would have a word with someone involved. They may not even have thought about it.

After that, I guess I would see what the response was.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

maxcherry
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Re: What would you do.....

Postby maxcherry » 5 Jun 2015, 7:54am

Is wearing a helmet such a big deal?

It wont change your life in any drastic way, it's just something the event mandates for insurance purposes. If you really wanted to do the Sportive you could just put on a lid for the day but tagging along with your work mates on the day would be bad form IMHO
Honestly chaps, I'm a female!

pwa
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Re: What would you do.....

Postby pwa » 5 Jun 2015, 8:13am

As a helmet wearer I think Mick is right to stand up for his right to choose. I am sure his employer is just unaware of the issue. I think the idea of doing the ride unofficially (with some arrangement for food and drink) is a good idea. I assume it is 99% on public roads.

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mjr
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Re: What would you do.....

Postby mjr » 5 Jun 2015, 8:18am

I'd challenge the rule but it's probably imposed by British Cycling or the event insurers, so I'd plan on riding the route unregistered.

If you're sure... the declining standards of sportive events means I'm almost inclined to consider them hazards to be avoided now :-(
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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Vorpal
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Re: What would you do.....

Postby Vorpal » 5 Jun 2015, 8:20am

maxcherry wrote:Is wearing a helmet such a big deal?

It wont change your life in any drastic way, it's just something the event mandates for insurance purposes. If you really wanted to do the Sportive you could just put on a lid for the day but tagging along with your work mates on the day would be bad form IMHO

if your work was sponsoring a group to do a 5K walk, but said you had to wear a helmet to particpate, would you do it?

If you were asked to go against your principles in some way, just to particpate in an event, would you do it?
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

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bovlomov
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Re: What would you do.....

Postby bovlomov » 5 Jun 2015, 8:20am

maxcherry wrote:Is wearing a helmet such a big deal?

Yes. It's about the principle.

And extra annoying because it's supposed to be about safety. At least when they turn me away from the Atheneaum Club for not wearing a tie, they're not pretending that the tie is preserving my life. Helmet rules are a dress code. If they are required, they should be considered to be a part of the uniform, that denotes belonging. Nothing more.

For any sporting organisation or charity to require them on safety grounds is dangerous nonsense, and should be resisted.

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Mick F
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Re: What would you do.....

Postby Mick F » 5 Jun 2015, 8:21am

Buy the cheapest helmet you can find and register at the start. Everyone will see you are wearing a helmet and you will be allowed to start.

Then, maybe a few miles into the ride, dump your helmet into a convenient rubbish bin discreetly and quietly. Explain to anyone who sees you without a helmet later or at the finish that it fell off and went under a bus.
Mick F. Cornwall

beardy
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Re: What would you do.....

Postby beardy » 5 Jun 2015, 8:30am

Could you say that you dont want to do the ride as it is too dangerous?

Your colleagues will reply along the lines of dont be stupid, its only a Sportive there's nothing dangerous about it. Then you can argue that it is so dangerous that you need to wear a helmet to ride it!

Steady rider
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Re: What would you do.....

Postby Steady rider » 5 Jun 2015, 8:54am

I would attend the ride without a helmet and take part but not sign up for the ride. Pass on any adverse details to the CTC.

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mjr
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Re: What would you do.....

Postby mjr » 5 Jun 2015, 9:09am

beardy wrote:Your colleagues will reply along the lines of dont be stupid, its only a Sportive there's nothing dangerous about it. Then you can argue that it is so dangerous that you need to wear a helmet to ride it!

After the worsening behaviour of riders in sportives I've ridden/ridden-along-with, I really have started to wonder whether the gradual tightening of helmet rules and consequential increase in helmet-wearing is indeed making these events more dangerous. There is some evidence that cricket helmets impair decision-making and I think there is some evidence that cyclist injury rates increase with helmet compulsion (although the level and reasons for that are still debated and need further research).

In my experience, the first sportive I did, they didn't enforce the helmet rule (apparently there was one but I never saw it and no-one challenged me), people did as they liked - some didn't wear them and most did, there were some people riding stupidly (mostly close overtakes without warning, including a few left-side ones) but it was mostly OK as far as I saw. The second running of that same sportive, they enforced the helmet rule at registration but not all the marshals seemed to know/care/enforce it, there was more stupid riding (overtakes including some people attempting to ride through-and-off pacelines while overtaking) but nothing went seriously wrong as far as I know. The most recent sportive I rode (a different one), the helmet rule was really blatant from booking onwards, there was a lot of what I regard as bad riding (more bad overtakes, three/four abreast on minor roads, close overtaking while being overtaken, forcing people onto the shoulder on major roads, attempted peloton riding surrounding riders like me that didn't want to do that) and at least one event-ending bike-on-bike crash that I heard about.

Could we make the argument that helmet compulsion makes events riskier by comparing helmet-required charity sportives (such as Leonard Cheshire) and helmets-rare charity rides (such as the Samaritans and hospice rides) and see whether the accident stats differ? Do you think they'd release their accident histories? I suspect even if we did find a difference, some would argue that the differences in marketing means sportives tend to attract different riders... but then, would that matter? What would insurers think of event organisers deliberately attracting a riskier clientele?
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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maxcherry
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Re: What would you do.....

Postby maxcherry » 5 Jun 2015, 10:10am

But no one is asking them to walk while wearing a helmet :roll:

I still take the stance that tagging along on a sportive while not being part of it is bad form. If one doesn't want to wear the helmet then don't
do the sportive and really take a stance against mandatory helmet wearing.
Honestly chaps, I'm a female!

old_windbag
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Re: What would you do.....

Postby old_windbag » 5 Jun 2015, 10:31am

You could do what Mick_F said about cheap helmet and discarding but If you went down this route would it not be better to wear it on the start then attach to bike/backpack then simply put back on just at time check point/feedstop..... at the end rather than bin it you could give it away to a bike recycle centre or one of the competetitors. At least if you don't agree with helmets you can give it to someone who does... but that may be against principles I suppose like a teetotaler give bottles of brandy to alchoholics. You'd be fuelling what you're against.
Anyway as my initial post stated I'd consider simply riding the route as a non entrant with your colleagues, discuss how they'd feel about that. The sportive isn't losing out as you'd not be partaking of their services in any way and you've freed up an entry for someone else helmeted to do it.... can't see any major financial loss.
I must say mjr touched on something that put me off this sort of event... rider ettiquette, behaviour. I started doing charity rides in late 90's as an incentive to do longer miles, at first they were quiet nicely organised events with 50-250 entrants split over 2 or 3 routes. As time progressed the entry numbers increased I saw much nuisance riding, probably unwittingly not deliberate, at one point I was forced to cross country along roadside verge due to a barging competitor pushing everyone across. Cut to 2008, cyclone challenge where there was a few thousand so first 10-20miles were chaotic until everyone had thinned out. I wear a helmet so don't have your problem but for me the massed starts and the crowds are the spoiler. It's a pity your company hadn't just stuck to an in house organised ride... possibly making up the route or using an audax/sportive copied route. Also more control over cancelling if adverse weather and doing it a week later etc.
MaxCherry just read your updated post... it may seem bad form but Mick the cyclist is obviously happy to pay the entry fee just not happy at T's and C's, originally with the company organised ride they may not have been applied. So in the extreme he could pay and perhaps sign away any insurance claims if a mishap etc but that's too complicated than tagging along. Unless I'm now setting the precedent for everyone to copy helmet or not :) , I've just ruined the sportive business... somehow I think not. Actually as I write I keep thinking back to the days when a note from your mam had the power to exempt you from PE..... eerr I can't wear a helmet today cos me mam sez so :D .

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bovlomov
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Re: What would you do.....

Postby bovlomov » 5 Jun 2015, 10:38am

maxcherry wrote: If one doesn't want to wear the helmet then don't do the sportive and really take a stance against mandatory helmet wearing.

I agree, the policy needs confronting directly. Simply joining in unofficially would let the organisers off the hook.

If Mick is an outgoing sort of person, he could have a sit-down protest in the middle of the road; or march around near the start with a banner and a megaphone. Otherwise, writing a letter to the organisers, explaining the problem and asking direct questions about the policy and the supposed chain of responsibility. Then a letter to the MP or local paper.

All that may change nothing. But if there are enough people questioning silly policies, then the decision makers may start to feel slightly awkward - even embarrassed - at what they are defending. It does happen.