(this isn’t me, FYI, this is a google image)

I’ve been meaning to get my back brake fixed for a while, it’s the one on the right handlebar and it came loose when I threw my bike down in the park at the beginning of summer. It stopped working altogether a few weeks ago, but the front brake’s the important one so I sacked it off and carried on.

Then Monday before last I was cycling to work and the fucking little cunt came completely free of the handlebar and fell into my front wheel, instantly stopping the bike and throwing me free of it. I landed on my head and was out cold for a few seconds. When I woke up I didn’t realize I’d been knocked out and saw a bunch of people around me, I was confused because I couldn’t work out how they got there so quick. I was all ‘what’s the big deal guys? I’m fine, chill out!’ til I stood up and fell over again. An Irish guy helped me to the side of the road and a jogger called an ambulance.

I’ve never been ill before so it was a thrill to get a trip in an ambulance, and it was exciting to have all the people do tests on me and fuss over my shit. In the end, my head was totally fine even though it was all bloody and covered in gravel, the real problem was my collarbone, which was busted in two. Now I’ve got a cool sling and I had a really good excuse not to help when Platform moved offices yesterday (if you’re near the railway bridge in Shoreditch shout for us and we’ll throw snack foods at you from our window). In fact, even though my collarbone still fucking hurts two weeks later and I can’t tie my own shoelaces I’m glad it happened, I feel like a ticked off a life experience.

That day I had no less than eight medical professionals ask me if I was wearing a helmet, but of course I wasn’t wearing a helmet, I’m not an accountant in Oasics trainers on my way back to Clapham, I’m a sexy young thing on the go, running lights all over town and cycling on the pavements and whatnot, because obeying the rules is for dicks. The problem is, my head fucking hurt that day, then my physiotherapist sister emailed me a load of pictures of caved in skulls from bicycle accidents to ‘scare me straight’ or something, and I fucking swear I’m not as good at spelling as I was before the accident (oh, and I saw this doco, which was harrowing). Now I’m gun shy of bikes.

The only way I’m not going to feel like I’m risking a six week coma with my mother enduring a bedside vigil (she’s very highly strung and she wouldn’t cope) is if I get a helmet. However, as someone deeply, deeply vain I am slightly worried about getting one, because I don’t want to look like I care about that shit/am not the chilled out cool guy I appear to be.

But needs must, as cycling is the only exercise I get. So what are the options? The options are bad is what they are.

It’s pretty much one of these

Prosthetic tortoise from the year 2132.

or one of these:

Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2/over cautious trip to the skatepark.

Obviously the second one is preferable because skateboarding (and even BMX!!) will always be cooler than wearing a reptile from the future on your head, but with either one, you can’t have them nonchalantly hanging off the top of your head like you can a box cap or a fedora (maybe), they’re very strict about it. They even have graphics to explain:

Look at that smug nerd! Having it hang back a bit is clearly way cooler looking, but who’ll be cool when your brain’s splattered all over the pavement? The guy with it in the nerd position, that’s who! It’s pretty clear from this that sex and cycling are more removed from each other than the movies would have you believe. You can be as fun and relaxed as Bill Murray when you bump into some hot girl in the street, but when you ask her for a drink, she agrees and you turn up to the bar with your chin strap tight, carefully undo the buckle and then sit the thing on the table next to your drink for the whole time, you’re basically saying ‘I like a joke as much as the next guy, but safety is serious stuff guys’. And bam, she’s on a date with this guy:

He’s not hot.

So what’s the solution? I say level the playing field- make it so everyone has to wear one! Make it a law! Then we can all turn up to our dates with our dorky helmets (the marginally sexier BMX ones are 20000 times more expensive- don’t bother) and be all “oh man, it’s the nanny state isn’t it? First cigarettes in restaurants, now I gotta cycle round looking like the brother from Something About Mary!?”. She’ll never have to know you’re wearing it because you ‘had a scare’ like old ladies do and now you’re scared of cycling without it. You’ll both laugh together about how you’ve been made to look by the government and you’ll get back to being Bill Murray and then you’ll have sex and get married.

(If anyone wants my old bike, it’s the white and blue racer with the left brake hanging off it locked up outside Homerton Hospital)