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Monday, June 21, 2010


Jewya asked me the other day if anyone had ever told me my helmet was way too small.

My daughter and my Dad had both said they thought so, but what the hell do they know? When Dad was last on his 10-speed, even the pros didn't wear helmets (we're talking back in the 3-channel days when AT&T owned your phone and you weren't allowed to connect an answering machine to it). And Em operates on a knee-jerk conviction that if I'm doing it, it must be wrong.

Jewya, though, she works at the Trek store. The helmet in question can be seen in my BikeMS sidebar here (note: it's not too early to sponsor me, no amount is too large). It's a red Trek Vapor helmet I bought before my first Trek recovery ride when I had just been conned into riding bike MS by my friend Jennichild, and before I could scare her that I was going to do a Dick Cheney impersonation, I had to get a helmet.

It took me a bit to recall who sold me the helmet: at first I thought I couldn't remember, then I did, it was Jennichild herself who helped me pick it out; I just took it to the cash registered along with my debit card and off we went.

The Trek Vapor is a size called 'U' for Universal. It has ways to adjust it to fit pretty much any normal melon. But me, owing to my vast stockpiles of gray matter and my incredibly thick skull need something bigger than this implied 'universe' can hold.

My friend Julie has been pimping Leawood City Hall as the place to get helmets on the cheap: $8. That does indeed sound like a bargain compared to the $50-is I paid for the ill-fitting Vapor. So I went there after work, and they're between orders and out of gigantic brain buckets. The next set will be $10, and anyway they have about as much ventilation as a casket. These are the helmets you find at Wal-Mart, sold at cost. It's a good deal, but even the City Hall Parks & Rec chick told me flat out if I ride much I won't be happy.

When I showed this woman who lords over the helmet closet how my Trek Vapor fit me, she said, 'A reputable bike shop sold you that?'

Been riding with it for a year, 1750-ish miles so far, too. About once a week from said reputable shop.

I was going to ride the Recovery Ride from Trek tonight anyway, so I inquired about helmets and got a very helpful guy who fit me right off the bat with an Extra Large Trek Interval helmet. It looks just like my Vapor except it comes down much farther over my temples and forehead, and it's a yucky, boring white color. The only other color it's available in, and I'd have had to order it, is a boring black color. I swear, manufacturers are such a bunch of ninnies: they make women's helmets in a few colors, but men's helmets, forget about it.

It's the male peacock who has the plumage. I would pay $20 to $30 more if the helmet could come in swamp holly orange, reflective silver, lime green or iridescent purple. We cyclists have an interest in being visible, y'all.

So I'll have to content myself with defacing the sucker with homemade decals and extra shiny duct tape.

And I had to pay full price, which kind of pissed me off: I rode for a year in a helmet that apparently was barely better than nothing that bears their logo and all. Managed to stay upright that whole time, but that wasn't their doing. I figure the least they could do is give me a discount on the properly fitting replacement, sell it to me at cost or something. Especially when it comes with such shitty color choices.

But the Trek guy wasn't even taking it as a serious idea, and it's not like they haven't thrown a few free adjustments into my 17 year old bike, a bike that didn't even come from their store.

Wanna buy a helmet? If your melon is slightly smaller than mine, I have a Universal-sized Trek Vapor helmet, red, used for one year, I'd sell you. I also have two pairs of Extra Large cycling shorts I bought from Jennichild thinking they'd fit me before I realized I'm a XXL, one of which is still in its packaging. For sale at a very reasonable price.

I love Jennichild, appreciate her getting me hooked on cycling and all that, but I think I'm done involving her in my gear purchases...

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