How many times in your whole life have you heard someone say “make sure you wear your helmet "? Well I know it has been countless times for me, and I can guarantee you this, it would have paid off. To me, wearing a helmet wasn’t a chore, but more of a "fashion statement". Only the hardcore kids don’t wear their helmets, only the true daredevils don’t wear them, well guess what people, even daredevils screw up. When is the last time you saw Sam Hill race Oceana with no helmet? When’s the last time you saw Kyle Strait have a Crankworx run with no skid lid on? Never, so why should it be any different with you? It shouldn’t, and that’s the thing. All the kids out there now a days are presuming that in order to be real, true bikers, you have to defy the rules, don’t wear armor, don’t wear any helmets or anything, well people, here’s something for all of you, its a story of my misfortune, and hopefully it will help you guys realize that wearing a helmet shouldn’t be a "fashion statement", it should be an honor.It was an excellent Sunday; sun was shining, bright white, fluffy clouds in the sky, surrounded by baby blue skies. I was at the local mountain cleanup, doing my cleaning thing. Really, whenever it comes to these mountain maintenance days, I always end up building a new line instead of maintaining a different one. I figure that if you just fix the line that’s already wrecked its going to get ruined again, so why not make a new line for fun? Well, for those kids that were there they would know what trail I'm talking about, but incase you don’t, we were working on a trail called Hidden Pleasures, up on Vedder Mountain. There is a really fun section right near the start of the trail that consists of a drop, into another smaller drop, into an open section with nothing on it but a few little humps. I noticed there was an old line still cut into the mountain that would be excellent for a step down line. So, after very little thought about it I decided to start building this line. The day progressed, and a pal I know showed up with his bike. After working on the line for a while, and pampering it up a bit, it was looking like it was ready to be hit. Now, let’s remember what this story is generally based around, "Wearing your helmet". Now, this was a really bad idea on my behalf, and I know it now, but it’s all good when it’s all said and done. My buddy was talking about hitting up the new line, and he decided to. His run went fine, perfect amount of speed, perfect transition, it was smooth. After hiking back up he handed me his bike and told me to hit it up, so I decided to shred it. Once again, not wearing a helmet, only gloves. I proceeded to hit it once, fine, twice not as smooth, a little bit of a whip, but not bad. I was trying to dial my speed for it. The 4th time I hit it, disaster struck. I came flying into it way too fast, I hit tranny, but then proceeded to loose control. I got spat off the bike, face first into the dirt, and the bike went tumbling into the trees. I was jumbled pretty badly; my brain was like "I just lost at Jenga". A rough landing for me, but what can you do, accidents happen. And guess what everyone that saw the wipe out asked me “why weren’t you wearing a helmet?", and "because I was just testing the jump" didn’t cut it.
Later that day, after walking down from the cleanup, I was at home, all bored thinking about what to do. Now I recently gained myself a BMX bike from my roommate. I’m not very good at BMX'ing, but I know what I’m doing enough to be able to ride it around town fine. So I decided to waste some time I was going to hop on it, and go for a ride around. No intentions of hitting anything or riding up/down anything, just for a pedal. I got myself down town to the court house when I noticed that the stairs there were looking like they could be easily bunny hopped up. Totally ignoring the fact I had no helmet on I took 2-3 pedal strokes to ensure I had enough speed to make it to the top of the stairs smooth’ like. Well guess what people; it never works out how it was planned. I jumped as hard, as high, and as far as I could, and only made it to the 5th stair up. And, to no surprise, there was 6 stairs. My front tire dove into the gap between the 5th and 6th stair.
The rest of this I don’t remember, but I will create something that would be about right from what I have heard. My face had a 15km/h impact with the pavement of the courthouse steps, and then I proceeded to skid forward for about 3 feet or so. I put a huge scrape on my head, about an inch long cut on the back of my ear, my earring was embedded in my ear, I pulled all the muscles in my right arm from impact/sliding on it, and my neck muscles are all pulled too. I was then forced into a seizure from the impact/concussion. How did I get to the hospital? I don’t know who called the ambulance? No clue. I recall waking up in the ambulance for a few seconds, to the driver asking me if I knew where I was, what day it was, what the month was, and things like that. I don’t recall at all what my answers were to him. I then woke up a bit later in the hospital, in bed number 2, to a nurse tucking me in. The first question they asked me “were you wearing a helmet?" and guess how dumb I felt telling them "no, I wasn’t planning on jumping my bike at all, I was just going for a leisurely ride". The following are some pictures that I took on my roommate's laptop when I got home from the hospital.
That is what they sent me home from the hospital looking like.
Then later on while I was cleaning my dome of all the blood, dried blood, gravel, puss, things like that, is when I noticed that my ear had a huge cut on it, and my earring was embedded in my ear. I was then rushed back to the hospital via the "red rocket" to get my ear fixed. When I entered the operating room the first thing the guy asked me was “were you wearing a helmet?". Trust me people, it sounds even dumber the second time. I had to get my earring surgically removed, and 5 stitches put in the back of my ear to fix the hole.
Currently I am sitting here typing this and my head is leaking out some form of yellow/white liquid out, soaking the bandages they wrapped around it.
The gash on top of my head from scraping on the pavement was the worst I think.
So people, this is me reaching out to you guys and girls. Not wearing a lid is simply NOT worth the possible outcome. It won't make you cool or even a better rider to leave your lid behind for "just this time". You don't see the pros in the big leagues competing in Crankworx, the Sea Otter Classic or anything like that without wearing a helmet. Just think about this story , and remember , accidents happen, and things like this happen as well. So now it’s sunny outside, a bit overcast, but still nice enough to ride, and I am sitting in my room writing a story about how dumb I am for doing that. And the doctors have also said, NO BIKES FOR 30 DAYS! So, it’s up to you whether or not you want to look like me, but I would suggest not following in my footsteps.
The outcome was a concussion, 5 stitches in the back of my ear, a 45$ piercing wasted, along with a 39$ earring, and a bunch of lost riding time/dignity, and 3 days of lost wages. So if that’s something you would like to strive for, have at it, but I wouldn’t suggest it, because it A) it hurts like hell and B) is not "dare devilish" at all.
Ride lots and ride safe,