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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 06-20-03, 02:13 PM   #1
gonesh9
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Why do so many singlespeeders I see choose not to wear helmets?

I find it curious that on my commute I come across a handful of singlespeeders every day, and almost all of them are not wearing a helmet. Is it an exclusive group thing or what? I've also noticed that most of these riders are 20-somethings sporting a pseudo-ultra-hipster image.... Is it just un-cool in the singlespeeding world to be safe? I realize it's really not my problem, but it makes me cringe when I imagine their heads breaking open like a watermellon in a Gallager skit. I don't think they would be looking too cool in this state. I'm sure a lot of you singlespeeders do wear helmets, but I really have noticed an "I'm too cool for a helmet" attitude with a lot of them around here.

I think what is cool is not having to worry what other people might think....
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Old 06-20-03, 02:21 PM   #2
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Helmets are not PUNK ROCk Yo!
Thats why they dont wear them.
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Old 06-20-03, 02:32 PM   #3
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Dude, Kevin's right!...

That's why I don't wear one!

I am actually planning on buying a helmet soon though, I just have to find a nice BMX helmet for an affordable price.
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Old 06-20-03, 03:38 PM   #4
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Maybe they're not yet convinced that cycling must be considered to be a super extreme death sport where heads explode like watermellons. Seriously, i don't understand why people think that those who don't wear helmets do so because they are on some sort of death mission, explicitly defying the concept of safety for some superficial reason, like protecting their "style."

I think what you are seeing is a "new," "crazy" breed of people who approach bicycles as fun, non-lethal, useful tools, and ride them like they are just that, nothing more. They roll up their jeans, put on their tennis shoes and ride their $300 cheap and efficient singlespeed to the grocery store to get milk.

Nothing to see here. Just people riding bikes.
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Old 06-20-03, 03:47 PM   #5
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Amen Shrimpx!

When I start messengering downtown then I'll wear one fo' rizzle though.
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Old 06-20-03, 03:52 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by shrimpx
I think what you are seeing is a "new," "crazy" breed of people who approach bicycles as fun, non-lethal, useful tools, and ride them like they are just that, nothing more. They roll up their jeans, put on their tennis shoes and ride their $300 cheap and efficient singlespeed to the grocery store to get milk.

Nothing to see here. Just people riding bikes.
I can understand your point, but a lot of these people I see are actually the ones barrelling down with the flow of traffic while switching lanes freely. Albeit they are usually on $300 cheap and efficient bikes, but there's sort of an air of arrogance about them. When I pass them and smile or nod, I usually get this look back that says "What a loser. You're actually wearing a helmet and riding a $1000 bike?" That's why I assume it's merely an image thing, because they seem to have sort of a backwards snobbyness about them. I hate labeling people, but I have noticed this type of attitude specifically with single speedsters around here, so just thought it was a curious phenomenon.
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Old 06-20-03, 03:59 PM   #7
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Originally posted by gonesh9
When I pass them and smile or nod, I usually get this look back that says "What a loser. You're actually wearing a helmet and riding a $1000 bike?"
I can totally understand where you're coming from then! I have noticed the same thing but directed at me! I try to be kind and courteous (sp?) to all the other cyclists on the road (especially other fixies/SSers) and even so I'll get snide glances from fixies/SSers.

Anyway, I think it's pretty lame for someone on a $300 bike to look down on someone who has a more expensive bike. Some of my good cycling buddies have really expensive bikes and it's always HELLA fun to ride with them.
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Old 06-20-03, 04:22 PM   #8
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Some other people are just scared of random interaction with strangers (call it shyness I guess), or they are thinking that you are thinking the same thing about them that you are thinking they are thinking about you (if that made sense). Jumping to the conclusion that someone is doing something just for style or to represent an image is really just as bad as someone assuming you are a dork for wearing a helmet or whatever.

If you think someone looks super-hip it could be that they are trying really hard to look that way, or it could be just a coincidence. (Some people's laundry day outfits seem pretty stylish to me. ) It really doesn't have to do with the bike thing. Same thing with helmets, some people probably do go without one just to be badass, some people maybe just don't have one yet, some people might logically feel that it is unnecessary.

I don't know......

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Old 06-20-03, 05:19 PM   #9
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or they are thinking that you are thinking the same thing about them that you are thinking they are thinking about you (if that made sense).
Yah, I've thought that might be the case a few times. Who knows, maybe I do look cool in my reflective vest, helmet with reflective tape, and work clothes.

I try to make an effort to smile or nod, though, to make sure I'm not the one being snide. But I do understand that not everyone likes random interaction with strangers. Very interesting, the psychology involved between fellow bike riders on the road.
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Old 06-20-03, 10:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by shrimpx
...I think what you are seeing is a "new," "crazy" breed of people who...ride their $300 cheap and efficient singlespeed to the grocery...
$300? That's a month's rent!
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Old 06-20-03, 11:14 PM   #11
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$300? That's a month's rent!
I was paying that much for a tiny one bedroom apartment 25 years ago!
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Old 06-20-03, 11:57 PM   #12
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Amen Shrimpx!

When I start messengering downtown then I'll wear one fo' rizzle though.
heh... coincidentally, should i have to point to a "community" whose members NEVER wear a helmet, it would be the bike messenger community. =)

all the messengers down here ride track bikes, dressed casually, and sometimes wear cycling caps. never helmets.
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Old 06-21-03, 12:43 PM   #13
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If Gonesh is concerned about another snobby bike sect ignoring him, that is one thing.....telling them how to dress for the urban battle is another.

From what I can tell, helmet compulsion leads to reduced cycling participation, e.g., in Australia.

Keep waving if you want to. When the coolness factor wears off, you might get a response. Shame that some folk might want to make even an anti-consumerist statement into something exclusive........
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Old 06-21-03, 11:39 PM   #14
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You can mark me down for the non helmet group.....and Im a messenger.I ride both SS and fixed,around 17k+/yr....may hit 20k this year.Bike is a tool for job,yes it can be dangerous....and helmet prob wouldnt be a bad idea,but so are elbow pads,kneepads,forearm/wrist guards like pros wear,and all sorts of other safety gear.As far as judging or waving....I wave,I dont judge and dont care...im moving too fast most of the time to even notice what your riding LOL.Anybody wants to judge me on my attire or bike I ride,so be it.....thats their prob.
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Old 06-22-03, 10:41 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Makoa
$300? That's a month's rent!
You've never lived in souther california have you?

Shoot I used to pay 75 dollars a month for a couch in SF in the early 1990's.
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Old 06-22-03, 10:45 AM   #16
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yes it can be dangerous....and helmet prob wouldnt be a bad idea,but so are elbow pads,kneepads,forearm/wrist guards like pros wear,and all sorts of other safety gear.
Yeah, but a broken wrist is a lot different from a smashed skull.

The funny thing is that I've seen a fair share of non helmet wearing folks, but they take all effort to protect the paint of the bike. There's a guy on this forum who wanted fenders to protect from muddy water, but wouldn't wear a helmet to protect his head.

Helmets are a choice. And I'll defend a persons right to choose. But, in my book, not wearing a helmet is like not wearing a seat belt.... A statistic, waiting to happen.

I'm sure if we looked, somewhere on the web there are some stats to prove this point.

It's up to you. But if you smash your head and go comatose:

Can I have the parts off your fixie? !
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Old 06-22-03, 11:37 AM   #17
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You've never lived in souther california have you?

Shoot I used to pay 75 dollars a month for a couch in SF in the early 1990's.
No kidding........the monthly mortgage I pay on my home today, I can buy a new full Campy Record equipped carbon Colnago once every month! Glad I've only got 3 years to go......whew....
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Old 06-22-03, 12:02 PM   #18
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Where in socal are you?
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Old 06-22-03, 12:38 PM   #19
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Where in socal are you?
Silverlake........near Dodger Stadium. And you?
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Old 06-22-03, 12:41 PM   #20
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San Diego, near El Cajon.
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Old 06-22-03, 01:05 PM   #21
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Wish I lived in SD..............perfect riding climate year round!!!!
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Old 06-22-03, 02:55 PM   #22
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Wish I lived in SD..............perfect riding climate year round!!!!
But it's finicky and really mirco climated. Memorial day weekend it was in the 60's, except for Monday where it soared to the 90's. Wanna guess which day I had attempted my first century?
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Old 06-22-03, 10:32 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by William Karsten
Yeah, but a broken wrist is a lot different from a smashed skull.

It's up to you. But if you smash your head and go comatose:

Can I have the parts off your fixie? !
Sure,which one you want?The steamroller or spicer w/lots of goodies?

Im not much for this helmet debate myself,too many other things can be done as well to stay safe just to zero in on helmets only like so many seem to fixate on......its an easy target for discussion I suppose,then again lts of things on a bike are unsafe.Ive seen posts about correct riding behavior and obeying traffic laws but have yet to see a huge group ride or race anywhere where the start wasnt anything but anarchy on wheels.A week ago someone on another forum posted pics of a group ride with some of the USPS crew,the pro's were sans helmets but the rec riders all had em....few addressed that issue,instead they fixated on rec riders not wearing helmets,struck me as somewhat ironic,maybe its just me.

Personally,helmets are a choice like anything else,being overweight and out of shape will kill you just as easily as a bike wreck,its all a matter of perspective and point of view I guess.
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Old 06-23-03, 02:31 AM   #24
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helmets are a huge culture thing... in the USA, if you don't wear a helmet you're reckless scum, basically.

in most other countries, (think China, France, Jamaica, etc.) people live on bikes. you'll see 65 year old women ride their old skool singlespeeds with perfect spin and balance. of course, they ride these bikes year round, for any transportation needs, and without protective gear. it's just a tool. they don't think about brains splattered on the street, because their culture just doesn't go there; just like american culture doesn't tell you to put a helmet on when driving, even though an insane amount of people die with head injuries in car crashes. (but we don't want the automotive industry to lose business now, do we?)

so i think that some americans don't wear helmets because they feel that if they did so they would cave in to consumerist fear culture. (these are probably some of the "snotty" people mentioned in this forum. they stand for something and i'm with them.) others don't wear them because it's just not what they do. (this is where i fit in... i've been riding bikes since i was 5 and i've never worn a helmet. it's not on the list of things i do in the morning. pure and simple. nothing more to it.) others don't wear them because they know how to ride bikes. even though bike messengers don't wear helmets and ride in heavy traffic all day, they are probably the least likely to show up in the death statistics at the end of the year. that's because they know how to ride bikes and they know how to save their butts in the case of an inevitable crash. they do it for a living.

so helmet shmelmet. religious helmet zealots need to understand that until helmets are required by law, we still have a choice and it would be damned foolish to make that choice influenced by lame peer pressure. especially if it comes from people who don't even know why they wear helmets, but feel compelled to be vocal about it. mind your own.
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Old 06-23-03, 12:44 PM   #25
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Curriously, I went trough Maine (I'm from Québec) for a bike trip and saw that every motorbiker had no Helmet! Is there any correlation to that?

Is riding a motorbike that safe? It's about look, style, being part of a community I guess. Between safe and unsafe what do you choose?
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