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Was anyone even wearing a helmet in the 1980's?

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Was anyone even wearing a helmet in the 1980's?

Old 04-23-21, 09:42 AM
  #26  
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Had been taught by Eddie B. that the was to protect your head was to roll in a crash. Helmet, smelmet.Who needs one if you know how to fall?
Was a block from home in Seattle in about 1982. Was the first rain of the season. Hit a wet oilpatch. Almost crashed. Recovered. Hit another one. Recovered. On the third one, I slid headfirst towards the curb, stopping inches from impact. No time to roll or any of that other stuff I has been taught. Parked the bike at home and walked down the street to buy a hardshell helmet. Been wearing one on every ride since.

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Old 04-23-21, 09:52 AM
  #27  
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Not till the 90s for me, kind of coincided with have kids. Finally bought my first ski helmet last year, been skiing since early 70s
Tim
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Old 04-23-21, 10:13 AM
  #28  
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I started club racing in 1980. Hard shell helmets were required. I bought a Brancale. I wore it even on training rides. Some drivers back then thought that cyclists either were someone to "mess' with or don't belong on the road.



I enjoy seeing picture of manufacturing so when I went to look for the image of the helmet I had, I came across this picture inside the Brancale factory in Italy on Brancale's webpage. This was the hard shell helmet that I had back then. It looks like these helmet's are getting their stripe down the middle. The machine to the left of the woman is a rivet machine to attach the headband to the plastic shell.

As you can see in schwinnderella 's pictures above, there was not a lot of energy absorbing material inside. This was the early days of bicycle helmets and even the "hairnet" helmet was better than no helmet at all. Nowadays, the shell has gotten far thinner and the energy absorbing material far thicker.

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Old 04-23-21, 10:22 AM
  #29  
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Helmets were were required on a MS sponsored tour, even if they weren't on right

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Old 04-23-21, 10:27 AM
  #30  
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Where I lived I don't really remember seeing anyone with a helmet as I don't think too many people could afford them. Also at the time it was difficult to get people to even use seat buckles in cars and I think people saw helmets as the government trying to clamp down on freedom. As a kid wanting to race BMX the actual helmets were crazy expensive!!! I ended up getting a used motorcycle helmet from a garage sale.
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Old 04-23-21, 10:29 AM
  #31  
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Wish I had a picture! I entered a local event in Vicenza Italy in 1976. Rats... Forgot my helmet!!!

Ended up using my Petzel Cavers helmet instead. Of course I detached my carbide lantern beforehand.
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Old 04-23-21, 10:35 AM
  #32  
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Yes. I bought a Bell V1 Pro back around 1983, to compete in triathlons, where wearing a helmet was mandatory. I bought it a few weeks before my first event. I think I roaded with it on for every ride after that. I rode with other triathlon participants, who were also my room mates, so the pier pressure to ride helmetless was never there. The V1 Pro lasted for probably about 4 years, until an unfamiliar road, concerns of fast moving car traffic, and a separation crack large enough to eat a 1" bicycle tire sent me over the bars. That helmet had a small scrape on the back edge, but I replaced it out of caution, and not knowing how to determine if the crash had permanently damaged the helmet.
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Old 04-23-21, 10:37 AM
  #33  
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I became famous in the Boston bike world 1977 wearing the Bell Biker when my Lambert fork broke. I was on my way to a ride lead by a bike shop owner riding with his friend when I crashed. 4 days later was my racing club's annual dinner. (NEBC) It was announced there that I was in a coma. The USCycling (different name back then) district rep was at the dinner.

I had no idea of the fame I'd acquired. Recovery took everything I had. I raced the next season and did notice that people seemed to be helpful, but after that massive TBI, I had no former memories for reference.

I started to see just how widespread knowledge of my crash (and early Bell success story) was after I moved across the country to rebuild my life and would periodically come back to see family. Then it became fun. I could walk into a Boston bike shop I'd never set foot in before, go the the helmet stand (early '80s all shops had them; they didn't exist when I was racing) and an employee would walk up and start telling me about my accident.

So I've had a long history with helmets. 1976 I raced wearing the required leather hairnet. (The joke in the racing peloton - we wore those so we could have open casket funerals.) The Biker and it's replacement. A V-1 Pro or two. Several Bell Influxes(?). Now a POS mips Trabec; easily the highest quality and most comfortable helmet I've used.

Sadly, I get concussions very easily now. I've had them in hard body slam crashes when I didn't hit my head at all. Basically I have what I call NFL loose brain syndrome. Not an exact analogy nor the proper term but I could sit down with any NFL lineman and trade stories. The flip side of this? I could be like the other patients in the ward whose rooms I wondered into in my excursions away from mine. I looked at those immobile patients as sad cases and was glad not to be one of them. (I still had no idea where I was or why.) I got to walk out of that hospital in three weeks and do the long haul of rebuilding a life. Thank you, Bell.
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Old 04-23-21, 10:45 AM
  #34  
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I bought my first helmet in 1986, a yellow Vetta. I had been wearing a cycling cap prior to getting the helmet and I was pleasantly surprised at how much cooler the helmet was. I threw the Vetta away a few years ago when the fit pads turned to dust. I wish now that I had kept it around as a novelty from the old days.
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Old 04-23-21, 11:00 AM
  #35  
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1. Never had a leather hairnet. Never saw anyone wearing one except in races.
2. Got serious around 1984, not wearing helmet.
3. My mom is a clinical psychologist specializing in head injuries - she bought me my first helmet, one of the first V1 Pro's.
4. 1986 or so got interested in racing, about the time the UCSF instituted the "no hairnet" rule, they required the ANSI or SNELL sticker and my V1 Pro didn't have it.
5. Bought a Vetta (stormtrooper!), raced.
6. After that was a Bell soft shell with the lycra cover... that was probably 1989.


Also, there's a leather chamois in them shorts and slotted cleats nailed on to my shoes!
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Old 04-23-21, 11:13 AM
  #36  
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Damn, dude.
Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I bought, and used, a Bell Biker in the late 70s, possibly as early as 1978. It lasted until about 1985 when I let go of one handlebar on the most epic mountain bike jump of my life. I smashed it after going over the high side and ended up with “camera motor drive” vision. (Moving my head from side-to-side felt like I was taking pictures with a motor drive).

I smashed a MSR when one of the two dogs I was riding with decided that she was afraid of drainage grates on the road. She stopped, the other dog didn’t nor did I. I remember a might THWACK when my head hit the ground and two dogs jumping over me in a very graceful and beautiful arc.

One of my most memorable car she’s happened with a Bell V1-Pro. I smashed it to pieces when I hit a curb at about 20 mph and did a Greg Louganis dismount...full layout with a pivot on my head.

Since then I’ve smashed so many helmets that I have no idea how many. It could be as high as 20 or 30. With the exception of going over the high side, I have not once lost consciousness in any crash. I remember them in glorious technicolor.
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Old 04-23-21, 11:28 AM
  #37  
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I've never been a racer. I only wore a helmet when ridin' in group and in the hillside. This was my second.
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Old 04-23-21, 12:15 PM
  #38  
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V-1 Pro. 1984. Wore it all the time. Lots of people wore them, even in Louisiana.
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Old 04-23-21, 12:24 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by obrentharris View Post
Like others here I began wearing a helmet after a crash and concussion. That was about 5 years before this photo was taken.




Brent
Are you the lapper, or the lappee in this pic?
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Old 04-23-21, 12:37 PM
  #40  
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wore a "patent leather" Banali in the 70's. first was a Lambertini.

It got stolen when my garage was broken into.
In 1988, I bought a Bell, I forget the model.
after a few years it has been a series of Bell Solar models.
Cheap enough to exchange after 30 months or so. EPS ages.
getting hard to find basic white. last one was a white to silver fade.... meh.
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Old 04-23-21, 12:47 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Hobbiano View Post
V-1 Pro. 1984. Wore it all the time. Lots of people wore them, even in Louisiana.
It's funny how it varies from state to state. In Southern California, the helmet was "never" seen (mid 80's), but after I joined the Army, my riding buddies from such states as Ohio etc. wore helmets. I think I was the only guy that had never worn one.

All these vintage pics with fellow BF members wearing helmets has me questioning my memory!
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Old 04-23-21, 01:46 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by zandoval View Post
Wish I had a picture! I entered a local event in Vicenza Italy in 1976. Rats... Forgot my helmet!!!

Ended up using my Petzel Cavers helmet instead. Of course I detached my carbide lantern beforehand.
Wow, that is a lot of information in three sentences zandoval . You were:
Living in Vicenza, Italy in 1976
You entered a bicycle race in Vicenza in 1976
Your other hobby at the time was exploring caves
In 1976 spelunkers were using carbide lanterns
Pretzel helmets were available in 1976
Pretzel helmets were sold in Italy
And from your current location, you are living in Texas, USA

Pretty darned cool!
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Old 04-23-21, 02:21 PM
  #43  
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I love all these BITD photos.
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Old 04-23-21, 02:27 PM
  #44  
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I started riding geared bikes in the early 70's daily for fun never raced so I didn't wear a helmet, never even heard of them. In 82 while in school in Pittsburgh I was riding my bike home after school going to wrong way on a one-way street and got hit head on by a van trying to pull into traffic. I put my shoulder into the hood and my hand into the headlight and flipped over the vn and landed on the sidewalk. Nothing broken, a couple of stitches in a finger but the frame was toast. No helmet then.

I was in the Bud Light Triathalon in Chicago in 86 and you had to have a helmet so I got a hairnet just like fabiofarelli's. I've been in multiple wrecks since then, with a helmet but never hit my head. You just have to know how to fall.


Originally Posted by fabiofarelli;2

2028060

I've never been a racer. I only wore a helmet when ridin' in group and in the hillside. This was my second.
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Old 04-23-21, 02:32 PM
  #45  
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When I started racing as a teenager in the late 80s, helmets were required for all races and club/team rides. Some of us put banana stickers on our helmets like college football helmets. Giro helmets were the rage in the late 80s, but I never owned one. I believe this photo was taken in 1987 (maybe '88) at the Ziggurat in Laguna Niguel, CA.


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Old 04-23-21, 02:41 PM
  #46  
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As a kid, I got a Bell helmet (the inverted brain salad bowl) -- white with red stripes, and I used it from 1978 until it was stolen from my parked, locked bike in Cambridge UK in 1993. By that time it was pretty nasty. I am surprised some Brithole wanted to steal it.

Looked like this:

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Old 04-23-21, 02:53 PM
  #47  
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Count me in the column of those who did. Don't recall when I started. Probably 1975 or so.
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Old 04-23-21, 03:01 PM
  #48  
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I didn't race, nor was I around racers back in the 70's or 80's - but I never owned or wore a helmet, nor do I recall seeing other riders wear one back then. Always wore a cap, if anything.
I guess us recreational riders were late to the game.
I didn't ride much in the 90's at all, and didn't buy my first helmet until I got back into cycling as a regular part of my activity in 2003.
My last car meeting - if I hadn't had a helmet I doubt I'd be writing this. Smacked my head hard on the windshield and then again on the curb as I flew off.
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Old 04-23-21, 03:03 PM
  #49  
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I had the Avenir copy of the V1-Pro. It was heavy, hot, and uncomfortable compared to modern helmets. I only wore it in races.
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Old 04-23-21, 03:23 PM
  #50  
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I think it was in the summer of 1975 or maybe the summer of 1976 when I saw bike helmets in a catalog. It was the catalog of the American Youth Hostels NYC branch which had a small store. They were selling the Bell Biker and an MSR helmet intended for spelunking or mountain climbing. They said the MSR helmet was hotter than the Bell. In approximately the summer of 1979, at the age of 18, I bought a Bell Biker with my own money, which is to say helmets were so rare that my parents didn't put any pressure on me to wear one. People thought I was silly, but I didn't mind.

The Bell Biker was heavy, 17 ounces if I remember right. It was also very hot. Those air scoops didn't work. The shell was made of Lexan™ which is very strong.

A few months later, my girlfriend was riding at night across campus and ran into a chain she didn't see. She got bruised and realized a helmet could be a good thing. She stopped ridiculing me for wearing a helmet.

In 1981, I took a 3-month trip through Europe on my bike. Helmets were even rarer there than here. People laughed out loud at me.

In spring of 1982, wearing my Bell Biker and riding to work, I got hit head-on by a car. All I remember was riding my bike ... and waking up in the hospital. My helmet was damaged, and my bike was mangled. I had a concussion, bruises and a small laceration. I replaced the helmet.

I should be a poster child helmet advocate but I don't put pressure on people to wear helmets. Even though it seems evident that withstanding the ridicule and heat saved my life, it annoys me how people imply that wearing a helmet is the most important thing a cyclist can do to stay safe. It's not. Skill is the most important thing, including handling the bike, understanding traffic, being predictable, and predicting others. Sometimes I get on a bike and don't happen to have a helmet, and I don't think I'm doing something stupid. I do recommend helmets if asked, and I don't scold helmet-less riders.

Here I am in around 1983 in my second Bell Biker.
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