“You’re not wearing a helmet. Is that because you want everyone to see that fancy hat you’ve got on?” This is Rapha Continental Rider Ryan Thomson commenting from behind the windscreen of “Big Jän” the dark blue Sprinter van that we have been piling in to explore road rides around the United States. It may seem a bit rude at first, but, Ryan has a right to say things of this manner to passing cyclists. One reason for this is because he always wears his helmet, always, you could say almost religiously. The other reason is because he took a bit of a tumble last week when we were riding through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. He was wearing his helmet at the time, but the resulting injuries will keep him off the bike for the next six weeks.
There are people that wear their helmets all the time and there are people that sometimes choose not to wear them. They claim that it is too hot out, or they do not like the way that they look. Sometimes they do not even give excuses, they just do not wear them. Whatever it is, the key there is that it is a choice. You do not have to wear your helmet, really you do not. However, when you are flying down a descent at 40+ miles per hour and the car in front of you smoothly glides over a rock the size of a fist, disguising it until the moment it connects with your front wheel, you will be happy that you did. The other people that you are riding with, the ones that are there to help you into the back of the ambulance and shove your mangled bike into the the van, they will be glad you wear your helmet too.
NOTE: Aside from a broken scapula and a few scratches on his otherwise beautiful face, Ryan Thomson is on the mend. Thanks should go out to the two lady paramedics that stopped to help and the fantastic Emergency Response team from Aspen, Colorado. Ryan’s euro-mullet was not injured in this crash.