Last Tuesday night, my friend J (aka JWLF), Tom and I were riding to Modern Times for BikeSD’s Party. JWLF took a gnarly spill and had to be taken to the hospital. We were hoping you would lend your time to us to hear a few words about how J’s helmet and bag might possibly have saved J’s life.
The words of JWLF :
“I grew up in the 80’s and 90’s skating. Helmets weren’t considered “cool” and they were big and bulky at that. Hell, we barely even wore seat belts. It wasn’t until the latter part of the 90’s that we came to grips with the fact that smoking was seriously bad for your health along with everyone around you. Needless to say, safety and health weren’t exactly a priority back then.
I caved, bought a Bern helmet, and wore it in order to make her feel comfortable with me commuting via bike instead of driving daily, and just like everyone else, I had my near misses and small accidents from time to time, but it was never really anything to write home about, and (for the most part) my helmet remained unscathed aside from dropping it from time to time.
To make a long story short, fast forward to last Tuesday when Charlie, Thomas, and I decided to attend the one year anniversary for BikeSD. Charlie and I met up at his workspace, rolled to Trolley Barn to meet up with Thomas, and started on our way. Somewhere along the way, it came to a vote as to which street we wanted to take in order to get from “upper” San Diego to “lower” San Diego. Charlie mentioned Washington and Juan as two choices. Washington is full of traffic and I had never taken (nor had I ever heard of) Juan St, so I mentioned Bachmann. Almost no traffic, somewhat lit, not too crazy of a hill, the three of us had ridden it before…Bachmann it was.
Starting down Bachmann was calm enough…no traffic and the three of us had enough space between us that if anything went wrong we could react. First curve, check; second curve, check; cruise…pothole. Fuck.
My front tire got acquainted with a pothole quite quickly and I went airborne over my bars. The first time I hit the ground, my left shoulder and left side of my head absorbed the impact. At that point, I bounced, spun in the air, came down on my left side again, rolled, slid for a distance on my back, and came to rest on my left side in the middle of the road with people around me a few seconds later. It wasn’t until later on while I was in the hospital that my girlfriend pointed out that my helmet was cracked and both my helmet and bag were chewed up with road burn.
Gravity doesn’t pick sides. Potholes don’t give a damn if you’ve been riding for a month or your whole life. Accidents happen and that’s why helmets were invented. Granted, you might not appreciate it every time you ride, but the minute a car, a pothole, or whatever picks your number; hopefully you’ll be around the next day to say that the helmet you were wearing saved your life; because I sure as shit know that mine did. And not only did my helmet save my life, but after seeing my bag, I can wholeheartedly say that if it weren’t for my bag, I’d either be needing skin grafts for my back, or I’d have broken my back along with breaking my collarbone.
Thank you Bern and thank you Chrome.
His bag :
His helmet :