Two weeks ago today (Sunday) saw me out later than the usual Mole ride, having had a bit of a late one the night before. This ride’s posse consisted of Clive and myself. Frightening thought for me as he tends not to hang about and keep the pace going. So I knew it was to be a relentless and eventful ride. I was not wrong!
We started at Holmbury swings carpark, from here we headed onto the tarmac towards Holmbury and steered off left after a couple of hundred yards. This route takes you behind Belmont School, then over to Abinger Common then through to the carpark that serves Friday Street. I have only ridden this route twice previously, once with Clive and once solo. So the terrain is not fully imprinted in the grey matter yet.
Through the carpark toward’s the foot step’s that bring you out onto the road up to the pub (Stephen Langton). It was here that my bike spat me off. I know that it was due to driver error, round the bend on to an off camber section full of roots on the slope. The favoured line was a couple of feet to the right, but no time to adjust but try and roll through the root maze.
This is where it became apparant of why I wear a crash helmet, and a properly fitting one that is thoroughly secure. In broad detail, the bike went left and whiped me right. Coming down heavily on my hip then shoulder and finally head.
It bloomin’ well hurt!
I have only seen stars from a bash to the head three times—so far, no more me hope’s, touch wood—once on a building site and twice mountain biking. Today’s seemed to affect me physically and hurt the most. Having ridden motor bikes in the past and ending up on the tarmac a few times I’m a stickler for a correctly fitting comfortable helmet.
My message to anyone who takes part in mountain biking or any potentially dangerous sport for that matter, WEAR A HELMET . Don’t try to be big and cool and not bother. It’s your mate’s who will have to pick up the piece’s at the end of the day.
Make sure it fits you properly. You should be able to get two fingers between your chin and straps, no more. Shake you head and there should be no wobbly movement, but should grip your head snugly. Once the straps are secured try and push the helmet up and off your head from above your brow. It should not move.
Recently some of us Moles attended a MTB skills course run by Astounding Adventures. Safety was a fundamental part of the course and a correctly fitting helmet was highly stressed.
My helmet (Giro E2) saved my head today, by taking the force of the impact and breaking, splitting the polystyrene in two. It will still probably hurt, you may suffer concussion and headaches as I have all week. That’s temporary. The consequences of not wearing one are not worth considering. A week later I am back out riding, thanks to my Giro.
Make sure a helmet is part of the equation when buying a mountain bike. You will survive to ride another day. Happy Mountain Biking.