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Riding without a helmet :) (long post)

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by Roarin, Mar 22, 2008.

  1. A while ago there was a thread here about riding on the road without a helmet. Many people posted about how bad, dangerous, stupid & illegal that is. I admitted that I do it from time to time but could not adequately express why. I am currently reading a book written by the late Hunter S Thompson -Hells Angels, kindly lent to me by Loz & strike me dead I came accross this gem. Be prepared -it's long but captures perfectly what I could not hope to explain. So here goes :LOL: :LOL:

    .......So it was always at night, like a werewolf, that I would take the thing out for an honest run down the coast. I would start in Golden gate park, thinking only to run a few long curves to clear my head...but in a matter of minutes I'd be out at the beach with the sound of the engine in my ears, the surf booming up on the sea wall and a fine empty road stratching all the way down to Santa Cruz...not even a gas station in the whole 75 miles: the only public light along the way is an all-night diner down around Rockaway Beach
    There was no helmet on those nights, no speed limit, and no cooling it down on the curves. The momentary freedom of the park was like the one unlucky drink that shoves a wavering alcoholic off the wagon. I would come out of the park near the soccer field & pause for a moment at the stop sign wondering if I knew anyone parked out there on the midnight humping strip.
    Then into first gear, forgetting the cars and letting the beast wind out...35,45...then into second and wailing through the lights at Lincoln Way, not worried about green or red signals, but only some other werewolf loony who might be pulling out, too slowly, to start his own run. Not many of these... and with 3 lanes in a wide curve, a bike has plenty of room to get around almost anything...then into third, the boomer gear, pushing 75 & the beginning of a windscream in the ears, a pressure on the eyeballs like diving into water off a high board.
    Bent foward, far back on the seat, and a rigid grip on the handlebars as the bike starts jumping and wavering in the wind. Tail-lights far up ahead coming closer, faster and suddenly -zaaapppp- going past and leaning down for a curve near the zoo, where the road swings out to sea.
    The dunes are flatter here, and on windy days sand blows across the highway, piling up in thick drifts as deadly as any oil slick....instant loss of control, a crashing , cartwheeling slide and maybe one of those 2 inch notices in the paper the next day :'An unidentified motorcyclist was killed last night when he failed to negotiate a turn on Highway 1'
    Indeed...but no sand this time, so the lever goes up into fourth, and now there's no sound except the wind. Screw it all the way over, reach through the handlebars to raise the headlight beam, the needle leans down on a hundred, and wind-burned eyeballs strain to see down the centreline, trying to provide a margin for the relfexes.
    But with the throttle screwed on, there is only the barest of margin and no room for mistakes. It has to be done right...and thats when the strange music starts, when you stretch your luck so far that fear becomes exhilaration and vibrates along your arms. You can barely see at a hundred; the tears blow back so fast they vaporize before they get to your ears. The only sounds are wind and a dull roar floating back from the mufflers. You watch the white line and try to lean with it...howling through a turn to the right, then to the left and down the long hill to Pacifica...letting off now, watching for cops, but only till the next dark stretch and another few seconds on the edge...The edge...
    There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over. The others -the living- are those who pushed their control as far as they felt they could handle it, and then pulled back, or slowed down, or did whatever they had to when it came time to choose between Now and Later.
    But the edge is still out there. Or maybe it's in. The association of motorcycles with LSD is no accident of publicity. They are both means to an end, to the place of definitions.

    Here endeth the lesson :LOL: :LOL: :LOL: :LOL:
  2. I hate riding without my sunnies on during the day (with my visor up)
    I can't stand getting wind in my eyes n shit....

    That sounds like fun though :)
  3. As a kid I used to burn around all day with no helmet, I used to hate having to put one on. You lost that extra feeling of speed, the wind in your face and so on. I think about doing it again now and then, but then I look at my collection of trashed helmets and remember I'd be dead five or six times over at least without one :LOL:
    Still, I'd love to go for a helmetless ride just once more...
  4. On my old R1, I once took it out and nailed it down a backstreet factory area nearby with no helmut. I had to back off cause the noise cained my ears and my face was wet with tears, plus I'd had some beers, unfortunate truth, the stupidity of youth.

    I didn't mean for that to rhyme, but yeah :LOL:

    Wasn't something I really enjoyed.

    I can understand how cruising with sunnies and no helmut can be enjoyable to some, but f#&k soooooo dangerous. My brain would get so dirty if it hit the road :p

    I'm a serial A.T.G.A.T.T :grin:
  5. Have you seen 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas'? Fark me if that wasn't the weirdest film ever made. Totally OT, sorry :)
  6. me and mates used to holiday on a samllish farm stay place near port stephens. we used to take my 250 burning around the paddock and the couple of dirt tracks on the place. only protective gear was a set of boardies, and as the night degressed even they dissapeared :oops: :LOL:

    ahh they were good times...

    but yeah, riding without a helmet is fun :LOL:

    funny you know, i always enjoyed riding the road twofiddy on the dirt far more than i enjoy riding the traily on the dirt :?
  7. Hunter S Thompson has to be the best (late) writer of our time... He has such a way with words, being able to put to paper the inner most thoughts in perfect clarity, or distortion, whatever the drug may be.

    Good quoting NoShowAllGo, musta taken a while to type up :)
  8. Make sure you tuck a copy of that somewhere on your persons when you go riding without a helmet so that your family and friends will be able to justify the 12 foot stretch of red that used to be your face when some fag in a cage pulls out on you during one of your inspired rides.

    Then we all get to mourn you while our premiums go up.

    Just put a f**king helmet on, or build your own private track so you know it's safe.
  9. As a kid, I used to ride a Suzuki 80 around the bush with lots of trees and stuff with no helmet. Makes me wonder how I survived childhood.
  10. As a matter of fact, yes I have seen that movie. I liked the book better but there was some really funny & weird shit in the movie though. I have read a few of his (Hunters) books and find they vary quite considerably in style and entertainment value.

    My my -aren't we a cheerfull fellow. If it is insurance premiums you are referring to -have no fear. My bikes are not comprehensively insured so I fail to see how this will affect your premiums. In fact, I think I might be doing you a favour as if I crash I suspect I will not be alive to place a financial burden on YOUR compensation/medical system.
  11. I is an exerience that you can only get on motorcycle but after seeing the helmet of my mate who fell off in front of me at 175.. Naw full face helmat every time all the time.. Won't work every time but!!

    Besides there ar other ways to get the wind in your face, jump out of a perfectly good aeroplane, that will do it. F... knows why you would want too.
  12. Hunter Stockton Thompson didn't really care to much bout his own head in the end.. he put a bullet in it!! :shock:
  13. Good read, thanks for that. I want to get one of those flip-up helmets just so I can get the odd bit of wind and naughtiness - started in the dirt with no helmet, and on the road with an open-face, and around the Uni campus where I work now I sometimes go with no helmet...great feeling! :) As we develop safer riding gear it's a great thing, but despite that its also a truth that we lose something; nothing like boots, jeans, a shirt, a smile and the wind in your hair! :)
  14. Lots of people have died on bikes wearing all the gear too.

    Riding a bike carries a risk whatever you choose to wear.

    I've had at least one smack where my helmet saved me from serious injury or worse, yet I still enjoy the occasional lidless fang.

    I just choose my time and place carefully.
  15. fcuk! I would love to ride without a helmet, but I just can't bring myself to run the risk.

    I rode into the city today wearing just shorts and a t-shirt which was great, but I felt a bit 'naked' LOL
  16. Hunter loved the wind in his face. perhaps the only reason he shot himself was because the wind stopped blowing
    In another of his books, he talks about the gleaming red Ducati sports bike he'd been sent to 'review'. it scared the crap out of him and he loved every second of it. he was never afraid to embrace life by embracing death.

    i've had the chance to legally ride without a helmet, and it feels fcuking awesome. the hencluckers will no doubt biatch and moan, but as Larry Flynt put it, 'opinions are like assholes, everyone's got one'
    it's your head, and you can ram it into the ground however you damn well please. it seems like growing old used to be a noble reward, but these days it's too damn easy. life gets dumbed down more every year. the human race isn't going anywhere, we're not desperate for population and reproduction. heartbroken family and loved ones are a big worry of course, but my family know what kind of 'free spirit' (whatever the hell that means) i am, and would take great consolation in knowing i'd continued as i've started, and died as i've lived

    they say youth is wasted on the young. and they're damn right
    because too many people regretfully reach middle-age and all the family responsibilities that come with it without daring to exploit the freedom of youth.

    you've gotta have SOME stories to tell the grandkids
  17. As an aside - the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) is an awesome piece of road.

    It's a lot like our Great Ocean Road - spectacular ocean view on one side, spectacular cliff wall on the other, tight corners and scenic straights.

    The differences - Well, the obvious one is that the PCH runs North-South instead of East-West like the GOR. But most importantly, most of PCH is about 50 to 100 metres above sea level.

    There are no crowded beaches. There are no bustling tourist towns. There are no tourists.

    There are only drivers and riders, and I am glad to have had the opportunity to hustle a four hundred horsepower Corvette C6 along it with a like-minded friend.

  18. bit of a sticky argument really

    i always used to advocate against the use of a helmet. after all my mates and i rode for years without them and i never saw someone die as a result of head injuries. id seen people killed instantly from being run over by cars, running head-on into cars and head-on into trees; or ive seen them die after-the-fact as a result of massive internal injuries, blood-loss and/or shock. but not from any form of cranial damage or brain haemorrhage, so why wear a helmet? my theory was if your going to die on a bike its more likely to come about from poor riding or poor driving (if a car is involved) so why restrict your own vision and cram your head into a plastic shell?
    i know people say the difference between when i was a drunken helmet-less lout on a 650 BSA riding like Hunter S. on his Vincent and todays roads is that the traffic is heavier and less predictable and the bikes are faster and more dangerous, but i dont care about those arguments. if a car hits you or you hit an obstacle hard enough, youre dead - lid or no-lid - as too many have already proven.

    however i think the turning point for me came when i saw a kid fall off his scooter while he was parallel parking in Murray Street. he was barely going walking speed, pulled up against the curb and put his foot down. not sure why it happened, whether he missed his mark or what but he toppled off the machine. we all laughed and went to help him up and dust him off, but he was stone cold dead. hit his temple against the curb, easy as that. poor sod mustve only been 16.
    so now i wear a helmet at all times on a bike, on- or off-road. i just came to the realisation that the cranium can be a very fragile item, and now that ive got some grey matter between my ears id like it to be protected

    having said all that though, i believe helmet use should be up to the individual and the only reason its mandatory to wear one is to cover the insurance companies' collective arss

    having said THAT, you wait till youre doing 110mph lidless and a fly hits you between the eyes, hahaha. its not fun at 50mph and it wont be fun at twice that.
  19. Yeah, because all the accident stats about wearing helmets are just wrong, I mean, you've seen it all. :roll:
    I love the old motorcycle rider's reasoning for EVERYTHING "Oh, I've never seen it in my small world, so it never happens".

    Regards, Andrew.
  20. Just go for a drive and stick your head out the window.... :grin: