akmal's bike park

akmal's bike park

Friday, 6 April 2012

Sans Casque

Period: 19~23/03/2012 (11th weeklong in 2012).

Breezy, and no helmet hair. Surely.
I've tried once before this doing my RTW without wearing a helmet. The ride was quite aggressive, my head was sweaty and trickled down to my face. Not a good feeling. Lately, I've been riding a la bike commuter proper. Relaxed ride, spinning leisurely and enjoying the breeze from the ride. Going uphill would take some time as I'm utilising the low gears in order to spin the crank at a leisurely rate. So, it is different now. And I tried a week of RTW without wearing my helmet.

It's a sin, I know. And that's coincidentally a day after the late Rafizi Hamdan met with fatal accident on the MRR2.
:'(

Here's what I found out:
1. My head feels lighter with wind on my hair
It is simpler to go out of the house and just pedal off. I can feel the breezy air on my scalp as I hit 10km/h mark.
However, I feel awkward without the helmet on my head (of course, silly!).

2. Feeling of Freedom and carefree
I feel more like a commuter ;)
Just like people in Taiwan, China, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and fellow Bangla riders in Pasir Gudang.
With helmet, I feel like a bit over the top when riding with them.
Without it though, I feel awkward and a bit 'naked'.

3. Feel more cautious
I was guilt-ridden for not wearing my helmet, in part because I feel that I'm a role model for safety of cycling on the road.
I associate the wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE, helmet in this case) as a signal of being safety conscious and that I take safety as paramount in RTW.
Without the helmet, I feel that I am much more cautious compared to wearing a helmet. Perhaps because I feel vulnerable without the protective shell sitting atop my head, for I've had it all these time.
So yes, I pedaled leisurely but cautiously without helmet. And it's a bit tiring.

4. Sweaty, still
Due to humidity, my scalp does get sweaty especially when I stop at the traffic light.
With a helmet, I need to shampoo my hair due to sweat soaked on the inner helmet pads.
Without, I just need to dry the hair a bit with towel and that saves me some time getting ready for the day in the office. Quite convenient. But, only if I ride the bike at a leisurely pace, i.e. 18km/h average. Yes, slow.

So, do I like it?
Yes and no.
Yes it is nice to be free. But I don't feel safe. To think about it, I've never met with an accident during my RTW whereby I knock my head. The worst was I hit the ground with my shoulder. So, statistically over the couple of years when I RTW on a regular basis, the helmet is a 260g mass sitting on my head strapped under the chin.

However, I have to say that I have more respect to cyclists who respect themselves; wearing a cycling helmet while riding. That's the case in  Malaysia, I think. At least, for me. Well, I'm blessed so far without any head-knocking accident. And I don't want to be without a helmet when I'm in one (na'uzubillah).

Of course, there's the debate of riding the bike with and without helmet which I wouldn't dwell about in here.
My stand? I'm wearing one because of safety and other abstract reasons. Besides, my MET Falco is sub-300g (that's light) and I look good with it.
Don't I?


Don't ride without it. Have a beautiful helmet hair, you.
Thanks for coming over.
Enjoy your weekend ride.

2 comments:

fellow rider said...

once during an offroad ride fell flat on my back, and in seconds back of head slammed to ground : back part of the helmet (the jagged part) cushioned the fall, manage to continue the ride after that (apart from bruised knees and elbow :D)- helmet cost rm45, not losing the marbles, priceless.

Akmal Hizam said...

Alhamdulillah.
It's insane to see people not wearing helmet while riding offroad.
I always wear one.
No helmet, no ride.