This is a photo of me, wearing a helmet:
There are several notable things about this helmet. First, it seems to have taken its design cues from a bowling ball; it even has finger holes so — if you are so inclined and sufficiently strong — you can roll me down the alley. Sure, it would be humiliating for me, but hilariously so.
Next, this helmet is so heavy that, even though I am trying to hide it with a sardonic half-smirk, my head is lolling to one side.
Ventilation’s a problem, too. Specifically, there is none. No, wait, that’s not exactly true. There are those two holes, which set me up for a really awesome sunburn pattern on my forehead:
Looks like I’ve just recently filed my horns off or something.
OK, now here I am, wearing a different helmet:
Obviously, I don’t have the same ventilation issues with this helmet. I mean, you can pretty much see my whole head in this photo. And while such a helmet will definitely leave an interesting pattern on my head, it’s sufficiently complex that I won’t even bother trying to Photoshop it.
Also, this helmet weighs a lot less. In fact, when I wear it, I think my head weighs the same as it would if I still had hair. There’s no easy way to verify this fact of course, because the weight of hair varies quite a lot from person to person, what with different lengths, coarseness, thickness, and population density of hair.
Let’s just say this helmet weighs less than my hair did when I was going through my Bon Jovi phase, and move on, because this really has nothing to do with the point I wanted to make in this post, which is this: highly-ventilated helmets have a very, very serious problem, especially for those of us of the bald / balding persuasion:
Oh the Horror
I could simply describe, in clinical detail and with very exacting precision, from a non-involved third-person point of view, the trauma I have suffered due to insects flying into my helmet vents.
That would not, alas, convey the raw, freakish grossness of the bug-in-helmet experience.
Thus, what follows is a verbatim inner monologue I have conducted on a ride, shortly before and then during a typical bug-helmet encounter. All in italics, of course, because that way you can tell that the whole thing happened in my head.
Wow, that was a hard climb. I wonder if I beat my record. Oh. Nope. Oh well, I think I’ll just call it a “nice, easy climb” when I blog about it later, then.
OK, I’m picking up speed now. I bet I’m going 45 miles per hour by now. Should I risk taking a look at my bike computer to see how fast I’m going? I wonder how many cyclists have crashed because they were looking at their bike computer instead of where they were going? That would be an interesting statistic, especially if there were a way to compare reported wrecks due to looking at bike computers Vs. wrecks due to looking at bike computers where the rider claimed it was due to something else. I’ll bet there’s a blog post there somewhere.
I’m going to look.
What? Only 35 miles per hour? Seems like faster. I should write a blog post on how bike computers tend to under-report speed as you approach the speed of light / sound / Summer Equinox.
What was that? Did a bat just hit me in the helmet? Maybe a bird? OK, maybe it was a Japanese beetle. Well, it felt like a Japanese beetle.
Oh no. It’s still on my head. I can feel it crawling around on my head.
A wasp. I’ll bet anything it was a wasp. It’s going to sting me and the pain is going to be so intense and sudden that I’m going to wreck.
And then my head is going to swell up so big that the EMTs won’t be able to remove the helmet from my head.
OK, it hasn’t stung me. Not yet, anyway.
Oh great. Now it’s walking around. This killer wasp is walking around on my head and it’s looking for the most painful place imaginable to sting me.
No sting yet. Still walking around. I’d almost it rather go ahead and sting me already and get it over with.
I didn’t mean that, wasp. Please know that I didn’t mean that. I don’t want to get stung.
But why is it still walking around? Is it moving in some kind of freakish dance? Is the evil killer wasp on my head doing some kind of mate-attracting dance on my head? Fantastic, now my head’s a singles’ bar for wasps. Or whatever they are.
Maybe it’s not going to sting me. It’s been on my head long enough that I don’t think it’s going to sting me. So why is it still there? Is my head a comfortable place for bugs to hang out? Has it decided to take up residence? Is it about to lay eggs?
No. No no no no nonononono. That’s too awful to contemplate. I will now drive that thought completely out of my head. I will think of something else. That thought is gone.
It’s not gone.
The freakish little insect on my head is — at this moment — burying eggs right in my skull. Like in Alien, but smaller.
Wait a second. I don’t feel the insect anymore. It’s gone. I don’t know when it left, but it’s not there. What a relief.
Ow! What was that?