Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I buy a helmet (and gloves)

I had come under a lot of pressure at work to wear a helmet. It's kind of an interesting situation. As I understand it, helmet laws overall are detrimental to public health - because they substantially reduce the number of cyclists. But, for any individual cyclist, wearing a helmet is positive for their health.

So one of my biking friends at work pointed out that as soon as I went off-road, I would fall off, and would need gloves and really, a helmet.

I would never ride a motorcycle without a leather jacket and gloves  (used to get quite hot tooling  round Central Otago in summer), so this kind of made sense.

And then the next night I was out in our cul-de-sac, trying to lift the front wheel. You push down on the bars to compress everything and then pull back sort of. Anyway it was all going well until I inadvertently turned the bars a little as they came up.

It all happened so fast. I've fallen off plenty of motorbikes, and even been in the odd car accident and the thing I always remember is that they seem to happen in slow motion. Not falling off the bike. It was instant. One minute up, the next a heap on the road.

I've actually always prided myself on my ability to fall over tidily. Years ago I did Judo for a term or two and the first thing they teach you is how to fall without hurting yourself - that was about as far as I got - so not a lot of use offensively. And I've never been hurt seriously falling off motorbikes either.

I managed to roll and avoid hitting my head on the road this time too. But I lost some skin off one hand, and I must admit I was a bit shaken by the whole thing. Partly because of how fast it happened, I didn't feel at all in control. I was thinking how stupid it would be to have banged my head badly at walking pace in my own street - and I felt it could easily have happened.

I've now bought a helmet - the modern ones actually aren't that bad either to look at or wear. And I've worn it since.

The gloves I got from a great shop in Dunedin, where they were very helpful and knowledgeable, and had a good range of bikes and accessories. They have gel pads on the inner part, to stop your fingers getting numb. But the best part is that the index fingers have little wires embedded so that you can use your iPhone without taking the gloves off - how cool is that. I intend to do mini reviews of equipment I buy, but unfortunately in this case I don't know the details of what I actually bought.

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