When I began biking as a child, head safety was a must. Of course, it was 1980, so we didn’t have probably the most up-to-date know-how—principally just a leather-based cap with some foam protection inside. All by means of my newbie years that was acceptable; no one ever questioned it and my mother and father thought it was fantastic.
Things changed a bit throughout my first yr as knowledgeable rider on a half-Australian group referred to as ZVVZ Giant AIS. By regulation in Australia, you need to put on a regulation helmet and my group upheld these standards. By the top of my first yr, sporting a helmet each day turned behavior.
Then, in 1998, I signed with a big, division-one workforce the place things have been totally different. We had the freedom to choose whether or not to wear a helmet and a minimum of half of the riders chose to not race in them. In one excessive example, we had a sprinter who would put on his helmet at first however insist on taking it off with 20 kilometers (12 miles) to go. As the race came to an in depth, he felt he wouldn’t be targeted enough to take the final dash significantly if he wore a helmet. Crazy huh?!
I only took off my helmet if we had an extended mountain-top end or if I was in a five-rider breakaway. I figured the danger of crashing can be very slim and more controllable. The photograph of my first stage win in the Tour de France exhibits me with no helmet. I keep in mind it was 30 degrees Celsius (86 levels Fahrenheit), and for the final 12 miles there have been solely two of us main the race, which felt safer.
It wasn’t until 2003, after the dying of professional bike owner Andrey Kivilev, that the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the sports activities governing physique, made helmet use obligatory. I’m grateful they did. Six years later I sustained a very dangerous crash on the descent from the Col du Petit Saint Bernard, a Alps mountain move that sits on the France-Italy border. During this descent, the place you possibly can easily reach speeds of 50 miles per hour, a helmet was my saving grace. I suffered a couple of damaged bones and tons of street rash and scratches, however a knock to my head took the most important toll. The resulting two-centimeter-long blood clot in my mind stored me off the bike for 12 weeks, lengthy after my bones have been healed. The helmet did its job completely—it took a lot of the impression and disintegrated utterly. Imagine if I wasn’t sporting it.
To my shame, though, I need to admit that I didn’t begin donning a helmet during training until a good friend of mine was hit by a automotive. The crash wasn’t at excessive velocity and he would have possible walked away with just some bruises but he wasn’t sporting a helmet. Instead he suffered a critical mind damage and was within the hospital for a month. He’s made large strides since then but continues to be unable to work or consider one factor for an extended time period. Ever since I visited him within the hospital and he couldn’t keep in mind my identify, I by no means educated with no helmet once more. As a father of six, I’ve a duty to my household to try to hold myself protected.
If you’re still on the fence about sporting a helmet, think about this: An Australian research of more than 64,000 cyclists discovered that helmets scale back the danger of a critical head damage by almost 70 % and a deadly head damage by 65 %. And what you decide doesn’t should be hideous. Modern helmets are mild, trendy, and made to fit properly—some even include built-in know-how that blunts the influence crash can have in your brain.
Whatever you determine, a quick reminder: Helmets are meant for one-time safety. After a huge impact, they’ve accomplished their job and must be changed. Please keep in mind that. You only have one head, higher shield it.
This article shouldn’t be meant to substitute for knowledgeable medical advice. You shouldn’t use this info to diagnose or treat a health drawback or condition. Always verify together with your doctor earlier than altering your eating regimen, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or beginning a brand new health routine.