Winter riding...helmet or no helmet?
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  1. #1
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    Winter riding...helmet or no helmet?

    I have seen numerous pics of people and pros training in the winter and all they have on is a knit cap or balaclava...what is the rationale for not wearing a helmet in the winter? Is it a fit/comfort thing? Surely the risks on the road do not diminish in cold weather...if anything, I would think it more dangerous. What gives?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by pbird74
    I have seen numerous pics of people and pros training in the winter and all they have on is a knit cap or balaclava...what is the rationale for not wearing a helmet in the winter? Is it a fit/comfort thing? Surely the risks on the road do not diminish in cold weather...if anything, I would think it more dangerous. What gives?
    they probably don't wear a helmet during the summer either on many a ride. And somehow armageddon does not happen.
    Blows your hair back.

  3. #3
    huvia ja hyötyä
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    Maybe their helmets are too small

    I manage to get a thin woolen cap under my helmet, when I open up the adjustments.

    What I see for cold weather head wear goes in a few steps:
    - Buff or bandanna under helmet
    - knit cap under helmet
    - balaclava under helmet
    - taping over helmet ventilation
    - "shower cap" over the helmet

  4. #4
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    I need my brain intact for work. The helmet stays on, all year.
    Just ride.

  5. #5
    Road & Trail Warrior
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    The pavement is just as hard in winter as in summer.

  6. #6
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    They probably are riding on roads with little traffic and aren't doing crazy descents or whatnot. The risk of crashing is much lower than, say, in a crowded city or while racing.

    Plus, they are professional athletes and part of what they are "selling" is a casual, rakish attitude. Maybe they wear their helmets most days, but want more of their face showing during a photo shoot. A cap is much more PRO-looking than a helmet.

    As far as amateurs not wearing helmets, it's their right (in most places) and is based on some sort of intuitive balance of risk/reward. It feels great to ride without a helmet. Some people think riding a bike at all, especially in traffic, is an unreasonable risk to take, and yet we've decided it's worth the risk.

    I wear a helmet almost always, but I tend to side against the helmet nannies.

  7. #7
    Music Man
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    I ride with a helmet on at all times. If you fall, it's going to be your face, head, and shoulders that are going to hit first. I wear an Under Armor skull cap until it gets too cold. I just ordered these items from Nashbar:

    http://www.nashbar.com/webapp/wcs/st...0052_159795_-1

    http://www.nashbar.com/webapp/wcs/st...0052_114406_-1

    I haven't received them yet, but my plan is to wear the one that goes over the ears on milder winter days, and the Baclava on colder, windier days.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlandry
    The pavement is just as hard in winter as in summer.
    Although the ground is harder.

    I used to wear a ski mask without a helmet, then hit a few patches of black ice. I no longer skip wearing the helmet.

  9. #9
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    Helmet always on. Enough said.

  10. #10
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    the nurses at the hospital don't refer to those guys as "donors" for nothing

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by adjtogo
    I ride with a helmet on at all times. If you fall, it's going to be your face, head, and shoulders that are going to hit first. I wear an Under Armor skull cap until it gets too cold. I just ordered these items from Nashbar:

    I have been riding and racing since the 70s. I have crashed and fallen multiple times over last 4 decades. I have hit my head once. The one time I did hit my head I was NOT wearing a helmet. I survived with no neurological, physical, emotional, or psychological disabilities, nor did I suffer any post traumatic stress disorders; but given the hysteria over non-helmeted riders I am truly surprised that the whole freaking world did not explode.

  12. #12
    but thinking about it
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    Quote Originally Posted by tethernaut
    the nurses at the hospital don't refer to those guys as "donors" for nothing
    I ride with a helmet all the time, but I wonder whether this has been oversold a bit. I have been acquainted with three cyclists who died in bike accidents. All were wearing helmets, but all were hit by cars traveling at 40 mph+. (Although I didn't find good overall statistics, I did find information from the Children's Safety Network claiming that 3/4 of cycling fatalities among those under 20 result from a collision with a car.)

    Although I will continue to wear a helmet, I've known (and known of) too many cyclists who were killed while wearing a helmet to think that the "donors" are just the riders who ride without one.

  13. #13
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    I took a particularly nasty spill this past August. Slammed my head hard enough to smash my helmet. I shudder to think what would have happened without it...

    Of course - to each, their own. But I remind my daughters (early teenagers) to wear their helmets when they ride. I think seeing the results of my crash have convinced them.

  14. #14
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    I'll preface this by saying it is absolutely wrong. I did not wear a helmet in the winter when training during the years I lived full time in michigan. It was always cold and a thick hat was in order. The helmet simply didn't fit right with a hat, and just sat atop my head. I rationalized that in the event of a crash, the ill-fitting helmet wouldn't protect much anyway. Statisticly, I rationalized, that the likelyhood of me catching pneumonia and dying of complications in the hospital had I not worn a hat were greater than dying of a helmetless fall. I also do not wear a helmet when skiing. I am bad.....but now I live in florida....and wear a helmet in the winter....maybe I'm not bad after all.

  15. #15
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    I have a cheap helmet in all white that I ordered a size too large so a skullcap fits nicely underneath it. If you choose to wear one or not it's a free country. While I'd love to see everyone wear one all the time, I respect their right to choose.
    "I felt bad because I couldn't wheelie; until I met a man with no bicycle"

  16. #16
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    Overselling

    Quote Originally Posted by Undecided
    I ride with a helmet all the time, but I wonder whether this has been oversold a bit. I have been acquainted with three cyclists who died in bike accidents. All were wearing helmets, but all were hit by cars traveling at 40 mph+. (Although I didn't find good overall statistics, I did find information from the Children's Safety Network claiming that 3/4 of cycling fatalities among those under 20 result from a collision with a car.)

    Although I will continue to wear a helmet, I've known (and known of) too many cyclists who were killed while wearing a helmet to think that the "donors" are just the riders who ride without one.
    A bicycle helmet, like a motorcycle helmet, seat belts, air bags, crush zones, roll cages, etc. increases the speed at which you can survive a crash, but it clearly cannot prevent injury or death in all cases. The last time I crashed, it cracked my helmet but I suffered no injury. If I had not had a helmet on, it's hard to argue that I would not have been injured, though it is possible. If I had been going much faster or gone head-on into a post, the helment may not have prevented an injury. You play the odds.

    The reason the professional peloton is required to wear helmets is that Andrei Kivilev was killed when he took a rather "innocuous" tumble in a race in 2003. Consensus was that a helmet would have saved his life. That was the straw that broke the camel's back of resistance to helmets by the pros.

  17. #17
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    Yep. I guess I'm just reacting to something I don't like about the helmeted decrying the helmetless as fools ("donor!"). Having decided to take on some amount of risk just by riding, where do people get off in acting like riding without a helmet is so foolish? Does it help them to ignore the inherent risk in their own riding?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave IV
    I have been riding and racing since the 70s. I have crashed and fallen multiple times over last 4 decades. I have hit my head once. The one time I did hit my head I was NOT wearing a helmet. I survived with no neurological, physical, emotional, or psychological disabilities, nor did I suffer any post traumatic stress disorders; but given the hysteria over non-helmeted riders I am truly surprised that the whole freaking world did not explode.
    That seals it: I'm never wearing a helmet again!
    "If you have the guts to be yourself, other people'll pay your price." - Rabbit Angstrom

  19. #19
    Broken Legs Suck
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    When i started riding 25 years ago, no one wore a helmet, except when they were required for races. I finally started wearing a helmet full time about 5 years ago. Now when i see guys without a helmet, i have to admit i look at them differently. Attitudes towards helmets have definitley changed over the years.

  20. #20
    vexatious enigma
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    I probably wouldn't have made it out of my last big accident without a helmet. I also do a bit of mountain biking at night. There are times when you cant see a branch/ tree that is at head height and a helmet is very nice.
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  21. #21
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    Safety perceptions

    Quote Originally Posted by Undecided
    Yep. I guess I'm just reacting to something I don't like about the helmeted decrying the helmetless as fools ("donor!"). Having decided to take on some amount of risk just by riding, where do people get off in acting like riding without a helmet is so foolish? Does it help them to ignore the inherent risk in their own riding?
    What do you think when you see someone driving without a seat belt? Smoking? Mototcycling without a helmet? It's the same reaction lots of people get when they hear about a bicyclist w/o a helmet.

    But, to be fully hypocritical, I am also a downhill skier. I've been skiing for a lot of years, have taken a lot of falls, and never felt I needed a helmet. However, helmet use at ski areas has gone from virtually zero 15 years ago to roughly 50% today. I don't know how long it will be before people start looking at me and wondering why I'm so stupid as to not wear a helmet.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Undecided
    Yep. I guess I'm just reacting to something I don't like about the helmeted decrying the helmetless as fools ("donor!"). Having decided to take on some amount of risk just by riding, where do people get off in acting like riding without a helmet is so foolish? Does it help them to ignore the inherent risk in their own riding?
    I think the reason people see it as foolish is because they don't seen any down side to wearing one. Not hot, not heavy not really a pain in any way. I think people generally understand why people smoke (addiction) or don't wear one of those heavy and hot motorcycle helmets but it's tough to come up with an understanding of not taking a precaution doesn't present a negative.
    It doesn't help them ignore an inherent risk in their own riding. It helps them realize they are not adding to that risk with no reward for doing so.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave IV
    I have been riding and racing since the 70s. I have crashed and fallen multiple times over last 4 decades. I have hit my head once. The one time I did hit my head I was NOT wearing a helmet. I survived with no neurological, physical, emotional, or psychological disabilities, nor did I suffer any post traumatic stress disorders; but given the hysteria over non-helmeted riders I am truly surprised that the whole freaking world did not explode.
    Will you have a relative log in to the forum and amend your reply when you're in a coma?

    Seriously, I know many riders have cycled a lifetime without a helmet and never suffered a related injury. But there are more cars on the road at higher speeds than ever before, many more driveways, etc. I'm surviving with cancer now and for me to exit life by smacking my head would be spitting in the face of the forces that permit me to stay alive. I don't expect others to have the same outlook, but I do pity them that they don't value their life or loved ones enough to take that easy extra precaution.

    This AM I headed out with a hat on and it took me a mile to realize what I was wearing was not a helmet so I turned around to get it.

    David

  24. #24
    but thinking about it
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons
    What do you think when you see someone driving without a seat belt? Smoking? Mototcycling without a helmet? It's the same reaction lots of people get when they hear about a bicyclist w/o a helmet.
    Maybe that's the problem---I don't think anything of it (even though I wear a seatbelt in the car and wear a helmet on my motorcycle). I do have problems with smoking, but not really about the damage to the smoker.

    Skiing is an interesting example; in some terrain, when I expect to ski in a certain style, I do wear a helmet. But I don't wear one if I'm skiing groomers with casual-skier friends.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow
    I think the reason people see it as foolish is because they don't seen any down side to wearing one. Not hot, not heavy not really a pain in any way. I think people generally understand why people smoke (addiction) or don't wear one of those heavy and hot motorcycle helmets but it's tough to come up with an understanding of not taking a precaution doesn't present a negative.
    It doesn't help them ignore an inherent risk in their own riding. It helps them realize they are not adding to that risk with no reward for doing so.
    People do a lot of things that I don't see as having any "reward," but I recognize that I only get to form that view with respect to myself . . . .

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