What's Cool In Road Cycling

Helmet Head: Just Plain Stupid

I will be the first person to stand up and raise my hand when someone asks a room full of cyclists “who here is a Euro Wanna-be poseur?” I should probably have company, but most times it’s just me, standing there in my official Mapei issued Giro leaders Jersey and matching pink Mapei Bibs (they made a few more than Cadel and Stefano were able to use) waiving my arms… Bottom line is that I love the stuff – tubular’s and anything ending in “i” or “o” will find a place with me.

But the one thing I just don’t go along with is the helmet free head you see in the peloton (although you see less and less of it) and unfortunately for us all, and for his wife and newborn little boy, we got to see it one time too many from Andre Kivilev.

I was wondering to myself, who the first moron would be to step up and say something in defense of not wearing a helmet when along comes Laurent Fignon, as is stated in VeloNews.com (Neal Rogers, March 13). Neal puts it into perspective by saying, “While I’m the first to admit that Fignon has more knowledge of bike racing in his pinky finger than I do in my entire body, I have to ask – what the hell is he talking about?” But should have added that Laurent Fignon has a great deal less knowledge about head injuries than most doctors. And although lots of folks involved with the European pro peloton might know lots about pharmacology, they are probably not the experts when it comes to trauma prevention to the brain and central nervous system.

In short, Fignon should have kept his trap shut.

We all see the guys heading toward a mountain top finish, on closed roads without a lid. Fine. But out in the real world, shit happens, and now we have a great and tragic example of what can happen even with all the right factors at slow speeds on closed roads.

So the next time you want to look cool (because the venting on the newer helmets like the Giro Pneumo actually force more air over your head than no helmet at all!) just have a full realization that most of us think you are making an ass of yourself.

All of the cool factor in the world won’t give Kivilev’s son his father back.

Charles Manantan

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