Today I yelled at a Citi bike driver “You’re supposed to wear a helmet!” and not in a Mom “Don’t hurt yourself way” more in a “I want to point out what I see as wrong behavior” type of way. Seeing a tourist on a rented bike without protective head garb, I assume he is an idiot and most likely going to cause an accident with a domino effect. I see a chick in a suit with a coffee in one hand, riding a Citi bike one handed with no helmet, she’s a nut. I’m in awe. (I have seen that and the lady looked like a corporate super hero, even on a rented bike.)
Sometimes I wish I was the type of person who enjoyed that sort of risk. You would have to put a gun to my mother’s head for me to get on a bike in NYC with no helmet. Even then I’d be screaming bloody murder with every push of the pedal. Just thinking about it gives me high blood pressure.
The last time I went bike riding was on Cape Cod with my mother and sister, on a path in the woods where cars are not allowed. WE WORE HELMETS. That was to protect ourselves if we fell off our cruisers. We weren’t trying to save our brains if we got hit by a Mack track, we just didn’t want bumps on our heads or chip a tooth. We weren’t trying to be good examples for the children, we just didn’t want to bang our faces up.Nobody was happy about wearing them. We had head protection apprehension. I remember looking at my family member’s faces mushed into helmets and thinking “this isn’t our scene” Was it fun? It was fun to be in the woods and see animals and stuff but my mother ended up crashing and it wasn’t funny. At least that’s what she said.
So, it’s not just the fear that stops me from riding in a bike in NYC, it’s my ego. I have a big head, then I put a helmet on it? Forget it. I look like Violet Beauregarde on a good day. You can’t feign confidence in a helmet. You always have to look serious. If you look cocky and happy with a helmet on smiling, laughing, or singing, you are opening yourself up to a boatload of ridicule. I remember I saw a girl once on Smith Street in Brooklyn – on a bike with a helmet on smiling from to ear to ear. That was about two years ago and I think I could pick her out in a line up.
When I leave the house, I have an assumption I will be socializing. I don’t want to be on a bike, see somebody I know and attempt to be smooth while I take my helmet off to chat. I know Kelly Le Brock could pull it off and look flawless. Not me. I would have to wrestle with the chin strap for a minute or two, squeeze me head out of the helmet, pat the hair and face for sweat and, most importantly, catch my breath. Then start with the “Oh my God! How are you?” The helmet removal is a real momentum stealer.
Who am I kidding, if I see somebody I know and I have a helmet on, I’m not stopping.
Whether I’m on a bike or not.
Thanks for listening!
Kendra is a stand up comic living in Brooklyn where she owns a super comfortable bed. She spends most of her time wondering where the hell her sugar daddy is and hoping he didn’t settle.