Remember the last time you rode without a helmet? I do. At least the last time I went on a ‘real’ ride without one. My pal, Ken and I were headed to Kananaskis country. At that point, we hadn’t done much riding in the mountains at all – we were still pretty green on the mtb scene. Ken had researched a trail called Jumpingpound, that sounded pretty good. We drove along, bikes on the roof of Ken’s red, VW Golf, a couple of Edmonton river valley riders, excited about the K-Country adventure ahead. We found the trail parking lot, got out of the car and started to get geared up. Then I heard Ken say, ‘Oh f*@k! I think I forgot my helmet.’ This, of course meant that yes, he had forgotten his helmet.
Faced with the dismal prospect of driving back to Calgary to get it, and losing valuable ride time, you guessed it – we opted to ride anyway, sans Ken’s helmet. Stupid? No, not at all, or at least this was our thinking, because we had a strategy, deciding to share my helmet, switching back and forth allowing one of us to rip while the other held back and took it a bit easy. Needless to say, until that day, neither of us truly realized the impact not wearing a helmet has on you once you’re used to wearing one, especially when riding on the rocky, rooted terrain of Jumpingpound with danger at every turn! Without the helmet, I rode like an old granny on the descents – so cautious in fact, I was probably putting myself more at risk than if I had just let it flow. Bottom line, riding without a helmet is scary and a bonehead move – not wearing one, to me now, is like driving without a seatbelt.