Avoid unsightly helmet hair: leave the helmet at home when biking around town like Jake and Cody

Cody Larson and Jake OlsenI took this photo of Cody Larson and Jake Olsen biking to work this morning. They weren’t wearing bike helmets, a perfectly reasonable and safe thing to do for around town biking according to the research discussed here

These gentlemen need to look their best at work, so they leave their helmets at home when commuting and biking around town.  Plus, they know that they’re helping to contribute to the overall public health of the community by setting a good example.  Yep. The promotion of the wearing of bike helmets for around town biking reduces bicycling and the public health benefits of cycling.  Who’da thunk of those unintended consequences?

(It’s absolutely not true that Jake and Cody were smoking cigarettes and texting while biking just before I took this photo. That’s just a vicious rumor circulating on the intertubes.)

Griff Wigley, sweaty helmet hairContrast their fresh, cool and professional appearance with the way I looked this morning when I arrived at GBM after a hard commute from my house wearing a helmet. 



  1. On a related matter, I was surprised and delighted to see a picture of an unhelmeted cyclist at the Mn/DOT presentation last week. I’ve become accustomed to DOT pictures of cyclists only looking like this one, where the guy is riding with a helmet and orange safety vest in broad daylight, on an empty street, in a bike lane that looks to be about twelve feet wide. I don’t have that image from the Mn/DOT presentation, but this showed a regular guy, in regular clothes, on a regular bike ride. How refreshing.

    June 4, 2012
  2. Patrick Enders said:


    Would it be fair to describe your position as:
    “Helmets for me, but not for thee”?

    June 6, 2012
  3. Nancy Moyer said:

    Griff- a few years ago Dr. Donald Lum wrote a letter to the Northfield News telling of a bad fall that he had just had on his bicycle. He felt that his helmet that he was wearing at the time definitely had saved him from serious injury. He was so impressed with the protection that his helmet had given him–that he felt he had to write and remind everyone who rides a bike–and especially KIDS to WEAR THEIR HELMETS! The current discussion on not wearing a helmet because it messes one’s hair is ridiculous and sends the wrong message!

    June 6, 2012
  4. Griff Wigley said:

    Patrick, that was true last week but no longer. I’ve ridden my bike to my GBM office everyday this week without a helmet, plus a few times after dinner.

    June 7, 2012
  5. Griff Wigley said:

    Nancy, you may want peruse the full discussion of this issue here.

    But do see this article from the Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation:

    A helmet saved my life!

    It’s not surprising that people who’ve been through a crash on their bike and escaped serious consequences but found helmet damage often believe strongly that the helmet has “saved their life”.

    June 7, 2012
  6. Griff Wigley said:

    And Nancy, I actually think helmet hair is one big reason people, especially women, don’t ride their bikes around town or to/from work. (Maybe sweaty heads, too.)

    I can’t point to research on this (yet) and it’s the kind of thing (vanity) that I think most people would not like to admit. As for guys, there’s an equally vain reason: I don’t want to look like an overly safety conscious doofus when I’m riding my Mary Poppins hybrid bike at 5-10 mph.

    June 7, 2012

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