I have had a stone in my shoe lately that has become a bee in my bonnet. I have an axe to grind with you, and I'll not beat around the bush. I'm talking about something that's as cool as the other side of the pillow, and even if you're an old dog, I've got a new trick to teach. I know the whole thing about how you can lead a horse to water but can't make it drink, but I still want to express how important it is that many of you turn over a new leaf, stubborn though you are as mules. Permit me to share with you the following illustration...
During the first few years of the Soup Peddler business, I was a rather anti-helmet sort of character. I am very conscious of my hair and spend hours each morning making sure that it is just so. I didn't want to ruin all that hard work. I thought that people that wore helmets looked kind of dorky. I didn't like the feeling of the chin strap. I thought I was a better bike rider than anyone out there, so I didn't need a helmet.
Dave DiBlasio wasn't necessarily anti-helmet... he just couldn't find one that would fit over his dreadlocks. He claimed that his hair had a greater shock damping coefficient than most man-made materials. Well, he was partially correct... he didn't bust his head open in the accident pictured at right, at least. But he was shaken up enough to try a little harder to find a helmet that fit.
I've never been in a bike accident. Yes, there is that annoying patch of algae in the street up on South 2nd and South Center that has sent me spilling a few times, but without even a scraped knee. So why did I change my ways? Was it the preponderance of warnings that I received from my helmet-wearing friends? Was it the fact that among the Soupies, we've had one bicycle-related fatality and two near fatalities?
None of those things. I did it for love. Or rather, I did it because my girlfriend gave me an ultimatum, delivered at the helmet rack at Bicycle Sport Shop: either the helmet stays, or I go. There are many ways to persuade loved ones to behave in certain ways... the parenting and self-help books are chock full of 'em. My personal favorite underhanded arm-twisting method, which you may feel free to employ if you need to forcefully introduce the helmet concept to someone you love, can be found here. It's one of the cutest stories ever, please take a moment to read it.