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Monday, June 10, 2013


Photo by Dmitry Gudkov -
Photo by Dmitry Gudkov –
When I’m with my bike, “Where’s your helmet?!” is a real popular question from just about anybody who feels entitled to exercise passive-aggressive judgment in question form. Thankfully, I don’t feel the gall to ask total strangers “Do you really need another martini?”, “How about salad instead of fries?” or “Are you sure about the tank top?” – even after it’s clearly too late.
When I was a kid growing up in the ’70s and ’80s in Lakewood, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, riding a bike was fun, not serious. In our early years, we rode upright on Huffy Dragsters and dirt bikes, doing fast turns, going down hills and catching air on crude homemade ramps on the driveway. And sometimes we fell. When we fell, whether sideways or front-ways, our hands met the ground. We didn’t wear special bicycling clothes, and none of us wore helmets.
I was the youngest of five when I learned to ride a bike in the mid ’70s. My oldest sibling, my sister Tracy, had an upright Schwinn. Between her bike, my bike, my other siblings’ bikes in the garage and most of the other bikes in the neighborhood, the mode of cycling was upright. Still no special cycling clothes, still no helmets.


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