Thing is, there weren't bike helmets when we were kids doing wheelies and riding around without holding onto the handle bars. We wiped out, sure. Got scraped up, bled a little, maybe even broke an arm. But I guess we were lucky; no one I knew sustained a head injury.
But I knew I probably should wear one. I had been pushing the envelope whizzing down the area bluffs on my granny bike. I don't know if a bike helmet is really going to help much if I catapult over a guard rail and slide down an embankment, but at least my head might not crack open. That is, if I have the helmet on right. Which I found out isn't all that easy.
So last weekend I went to Walmart to buy a helmet. I picked out the cheapest one I could find in my favorite color, periwinkle. As soon as I got home, I decided I'd test it out and go for a spin on granny bike. I cut the tags off and looked at the directions.
The first line read: PROPER FIT IS CRITICAL TO HELMET PERFORMANCE. Boy, I better do this right. I read on.
1. Put the helmet on. I got that part.
2. Adjust the side straps. The directions said you could adjust each strap in front and behind the ear for a more custom fit. This stumped me. The front strap pulled my eyebrows to the side so that I looked like I had a bad face lift. And the back straps were so loose they'd flap in the wind. I fiddled with the straps until I was ready to throw the helmet across the room. Finally, I enlisted Dave's help. He easily moved the straps into the right position. I moved on to the next step.
3. Adjust the chin strap. I was to make sure the strap fit snugly against the throat. Make sure the buckle is flush against the skin under the chin and that when you open your mouth, it is snug on the chin and hugging your head. Okay, this really presents a problem to those of us who are older and have loosey goosey skin under the chin.
I was afraid I was going to get the stretchy neck skin pinched in the buckle. I looked in the mirror. I tried to pull the skin back with one hand while I fastened the lock in place with the other hand. Problem here too. I couldn't see and had to get my cheaters. I was starting to get a really bad headache.
Finally, I got the helmet fastened. The helmet was loose. It easily moved back and forth when I turned my head. I had a vision of myself taking a spill down the Norwegian Hill, the helmet jerking my head back, and me being strangled in the straps.
I started over with step 1.
After 45 minutes, bad words, and a full-blown headache, I had the thing in place. I think I had the PROPER FIT.
I sighed, took the helmet off, and went to taste test wedding cakes in the kitchen with Matt and Paige. I really didn't want to go for a bike ride anyway.
P.S. Maybe I should go for this kind of helmet. No kidding. It's for real. Inflates on impact. Might be the solution, if I can figure out how to put it on.