There is a debate that rages around cycling: helmet or no helmet. Wearing a helmet is mandatory for children in New York State and my parents always made sure my siblings and I wore them. When I became an adult I chose to continue wearing a helmet while biking, a layer of protection between my noggin and the pavement seems like a great idea. I always wear a helmet when I ride-always.
Today, however I experimented with riding helmetless.
My coworker needed Friday night off so she asked to switch shifts with me. I agreed even though I knew it would mean minimal time in-between my Friday and Saturday shifts. So yesterday I worked lunch and supper and then headed home. As soon as I got home I walked my dogs, I washed my bike, took a shower, laid out everything I needed for work the next day and crawled into bed.
At 3:30 my alarm went off. I lubed my bike chain, walked the dogs, threw my biking clothes on, grabbed my bike lights and headed out the door.
I was almost halfway to work when I finally realized-I had never put on my helmet! No big deal, right? Ha. Wrong. When you have been conditioned from childhood to wear a helmet and have made a habit of wearing one every single day it is strange what thoughts will flit through your mind.
“Wouldn’t it be funny if today was the day you crashed?”
NO! That is not funny!
“If you are this scattered brained already, think of all the mistakes you will make at work today.”
Hey! That is not nice!
“See this car, it’s gonna hit you and smash your brain to smithereens.”
Ahh! Stop scaring me!
I felt so self conscious the rest of the way to work. When I arrived at the restaurant and told my coworker she laughed at me. And then she offered to swing by my house in the afternoon and pick up my helmet for me, since she was headed into town to do some errands.
Her thoughtfulness floored me. Time and time again my coworkers prove that even though they love to tease me about my weird lifestyle, they are always willing to help me when I need it. I was a bit hesitant about accepting her offer at first, after all my helmet does nothing to keep me safe when biking-it just comes in handy if I ever do crash-but I decided I was being silly. If she wanted to help me, I wasn’t going to stop her.
At 3:30 pm I left work, helmet placed firmly on my head. And guess what? I still didn’t crash on the ride home!