First of all, this post is NOT what you think. The simple truth is that, as bikers, we’re torn between “dressing for the ride” and “dressing for the slide.”
Safety gear is critical, but all that gear leads to extra weight that gets buffeted by the wind hour after hour as you ride, no matter how snug the fit.
Nowhere is this more apparent (and harder to correct) than in your choice of helmet. In fact, for most riders, the helmet is the single piece of safety gear they won’t rationalize their ways around.
Jackets become vests.
Boots become shoes.
Chaps become shorts.
Helmets become … helmets.
I never gave this much thought until this summer, when I was sitting in a diner eating breakfast on my way to a long day cruising the backroads when two old coots lurched into the restaurant, gave my bike a looooooong once over, and then tracked me down.
Turns out, they had been riding for years and had given it up about age 70 because, of all things, their helmets were too heavy.
I’d never thought about how a lightweight helmet could affect how you felt at the end of the day, but it sure makes sense.
It’s no lie that lightweight helmets have been around for years. Crazy Al’s has been building the Worlds Smallest Beanie for years and that happened to be the helmet I had with me that day. When I handed my lid to one of the old farts, I thought his pacemaker would explode.
“This thing doesn’t weight anything! How the Hell is it going to protect you in an accident?”
I told him I didn’t know anything about how to design a helmet but I knew that lightweight helmets still had to be built to the same standards as any other helmet.
The old guy shook his head and laughed, “That’s a damned lightweight helmet! I could wear that all day.”
The other guy, took a look at my lid, held it, and the look on his face told me all I needed to know – this was a lightweight DOT legal helmet that could put these two old farts back on the road and not on the sidelines.
It’s tough to let go of something you love and even tougher to acknowledge the reason you can’t do it is you no longer have the physical skills to handle it. Let me tell you, there’s no reason, in this day in age, to let old ideas get in the way on how to ride and what to wear. Lightweight helmets that meet all the DOT standards are out there and if you’re worn out at the end of a ride from having the wind shake you around, try a lighter helmet or a newer design … you might find it’s all you need to get back on the road.