I noticed something peculiar today... I wore my ugly helmet... and turned a much better avg. speed than I have in weeks. I wore the same helmet on the ride home, with the same results.
I have three helmets... a mid-1980s Bell, well past its "use by" date, but with hand painted "halibard" flames, done by a mad Dutchman I knew in France. I have a much newer Scott, which is very comfortable, and of a low profile design that doesn't attract more than the usual incredulous stares when I wear it into the supermarket. Then there's the ugly helmet... A violet and frighteningly expensive Giro, with all of the latest technical and styling features... but it gives me a decidedly Beldar The Conehead appearance when I wear it. It is my size, it fits well, but it rides very high on my head, and, well, I hate the thing.
Every few months, guilt overcomes me, I take it down from the closet, dust it off, and wear it on a ride. I begin to notice my shadow on the roadway, my reflection in a shop or car window... one would think that at 47, I'd be beyond such vanities... but I'm not. The Giro makes me look like an idiot, thus I feel like an idiot. I remove it, and it sits on the top shelf for another half a year.
Well, this time out, I turned an average speed that was a full mph better than I'd been doing lately, and an e.t. for the commute that I hadn't seen since my early '30s.
I shall try again tomorrow.
If a silly hat can make me a little faster, what if I went out wearing a dress? How 'bout NO pants? A Batman costume?
Can embarrassment make you faster?