Friday, April 23, 2010

Hard Headed?

Friday I was driving on Cambridge St., right near Inman Sq., and I suddenly watch a guy come off his bike... sort of do a face plant and bounce off the street. Apparently, he had run in to the rear end of a van that was pulling into a parking space. (I am not sure of the actual cause or who might be at fault in this accident, not the point of this post.) So the cyclist, who may have dislocated his shoulder, now wears a load of cuts and a fair case of road rash. But, he was wearing a helmet! The fact he whacked his head hard on the street, became a moot point. Another save for helmets!

I have mentioned before that I spent many years as a firefighter/EMT. I responded to all types of emergencies that included many trauma victims resultant from so many different mechanisms of injury. Which gives me an experience base to draw on; I can say that those people that suffered head injuries had the worst outcomes. I mean not just short term (as in died) but the long term outcomes. They survived horrendous injuries to legs, arms, faces, etc. which all in due time healed. However those with head/brain injury, not so much. In fact, how can I put this gently, their lives were forever changed. Having received a few concussions over the years, I cannot imagine what it would be like to live in that fog and have that headache 24/7/365 for the rest of one’s life.

There is plenty of info out there that explains what happens to your head/brain when it is slapped (like a home run crack at Fenway) into the pavement, car, fill in the blank at let’s say 10-12 mph and from about 5 or so feet up. It is clearly not good.

Will a helmet protect you from evil spirits, accidents and all other possibilities? Of course not, so drop that line of reasoning. It is there to protect your head/brain in the event of an impact. It is like wearing seat belts in a vehicle. Most people are killed in what are otherwise survivable auto crashes because they were not wearing a seat belt, period. Check out the stats, in nearly all fatal cycle accidents the riders were not wearing helmets. Hmmmmm, kinda makes ya think!

So let me put this in terms that may indeed be crass, a bit obnoxious, over the top, etc, etc. and that might even offend some...But then again, this IS Bike Me.

What do you call a cyclist who does not wear a helmet? A possible organ donor… enough said?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

It's is back. Boston's 2nd Annual (we hope) Tweed Ride. Last year's ride was great fun. Wonderful people and wicked nice rides!

It is the most fun you can have in wool, without getting a rash!

So save the date and meet some of the Boston/Cambridge area's nicest 3 speed (and of course others) rides and riders!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Bikes in Paradise

In February a vacation trip took me to Maui, Hawaii. While there I, of course, checked out what the bicycle scene looked like.

Anytime we traveled form one town to another I noticed a good number of cyclists working hard along the rather hilly shore roads on road bikes. (I’m thinking most bikes here have triple chain rings.) FYI, for the most part there seemed to be plenty of room to ride along the shoulders, although there were a few exceptions along the south shore. Roads like the one to Hana and others like it, not so much. Very windy twisting coastal roads with little or no shoulders, hair pin turns. All this plus constant trade winds to deal with would make for a pretty “exciting” ride.

What is referred to “Up country” on the slopes of Haleakala are small communities like Haiku, Kula, Keokea, Makawao, Pukalani, Paia, Kuau Bay, Kanaio and Ulupalakua, all a world away from the bustling beach resorts. Here I saw mostly mountain bikes. With the hills so steep and/or long the low gearing and aggressive braking is an absolute necessity. Incredible views, cooler weather (a constant 60ish degrees) and wonderful people, many living their dream at every turn.

This is also near the area of the Haleakala Volcano ride companies. They offer van rides to near the top of the Volcano with 10 -20 of your new best friends. Then a guided downhill ride for up to 20+ miles of switch back mountain roads with great vistas. If you would like a zip line ride then you would probable like this sort of cycle ride. There are off road trails from the summit that with two cars, one for drop off and one for pick up, would seem to be a really cool if and challenging ride, remembering this summit has an elevation of over 10,000 feet. It is a oxygen deprived, dry and cold. Because this is a place that can seriously hurt you (being just at 2 miles high) good planning is required for that type of ride.

In the towns that dot the coast cruiser bikes were most prevalent, as the terrain around most is relatively flat. Here is where I did find some vintage hardware with a mix of personal stylings. It is in places like these the real spirit of bicycles is found. You know, function solving a necessity of life that makes a real difference to the individual.

Finally, Bicycle Rentals in Maui seem to be a fairly large tourist business, albeit somewhat focused on the Haleakala Volcano rides, most do offer several style bicycles including higher end roads for up to about $200 per week.

So if you ever do say Bike Me, head to “Paradise” and decide to rent a bicycle it is about the same per week cost as a cheap car rental. And defiantly worth the ride!

Stay Current, Ride Vintage!