“Boston Tweed Ride”

Frank G.

Boston Tweed Ride on Oct 4th.

I have been looking forward to a local Tweed Ride…and here we go 🙂 

 However there is a little catch to this ride…on the site it tells me that helmets MUST  be worn to participate 😦 and I think that stinks and will keep people from showing up, maybe me too?

Now the helmet issue is a hot debate [in the USA] and I have tried to stay out of it, but this just does not seem right to me, for the whole purpose is to look vintage and stylish and have fun. I was hoping that the tweed ride would be a more informal affair, just dress up and go for a ride…now liablity has to take all the fun out of it [like it always does]. When you look at all the other tweed rides, do you see people wearing helmets?

I can see where they are coming from, because I have to deal with this on our annual Open House ,which is Oct 17th 😉  I have taken the chance at Open House and let people ride without helmets, if they choose. Actually I worry more that someone will be run over by a car and most often a helmet does not help in that case. Helmets are best for the minor accident, where it is a slow speed topple, hit your head and your done.

Now I have to point out that I have been a helmet wearer off and on, since I was in high school [had a Bell Turtle Shell, one of the first helmets]. And I have to say that wearing a helmet in a group ride isa good idea, but I don’t like to tell people to wear a helmet and I really hate it when the few times I am not wearing one, someone on the road yells at me to get one! It really upsets  my day, when I am on a care free ride without a helmet and someone [that can’t even hold a line] tells me to get a helmet. I would say that for a the last 7 years I wear my helmet about 99% of the time. When I lived in the city [where it is actually safer to ride] I wore my helmet maybe 50% of the time, maybe less, mostly when I went out of the city on road or mtn rides.

Actually I think I am going to blow this ride off 😦

Anyone that wants to go on a helmet less Tweed Ride [or with a helmet is ok too] can meet me here at my shop before 11am on Oct 4th and we can tool around the Holliston area [maybe a 20/30 mile ride] and go to the Stone’s Pub in Ashland, for lunch, have a beer and some Sheperds Pie…now that I have said that…someone will probably get a stick in the front wheel, take a header and crack their head open! Though if you have a cool looking hat it may keep the dirt out of your cracked head 😉

Just to note this ride will have hills! I will be riding a fixed gear and if you are somewhat fit you can do this ride on a 3 speed. I would like to stay together and will be stopping a lot to re-group, speeders will have to wait or be on their own. I may make the ride go in a figure 8, so people can do a shorter ride.

You can RSVP, but don’t need to. You can just get up on Sunday…look out the window and make a decision. It takes about 2 hours to ride a bike here from Boston. Takes 45 min by car. Directions here.


About antbikemike

Bicycle frame builder
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8 Responses to “Boston Tweed Ride”

  1. Charlotte says:

    So sad!

    The organizers were concerned about joint and several liability. MassBike agreed to provide liability coverage but they require helmets.

    Since there’s no telling who might show up the organizers didn’t want to bet their respective farms on the skill of the participants and the litigiousness of any passers-bye, so they took the safe but questionably-stylish road.

    Which is not to say that helmets won’t be, uh, ‘decorated’ in the spirit of the ride!

  2. dottie says:

    That’s too bad. Chicago’s first tweed ride is the one time I did not wear a helmet riding in the city, so I could wear my cool hat. Of course, that’s the one time I crashed in the city on train tracks, but I was fine 🙂 The second ride is this Saturday and I have not decided what I’m going to do about hat/head/helmet, but I’m glad I have a choice in the matter.

  3. skvidal says:

    I’d say you show up and don’t wear a helmet. If they try to stop you from riding I think a good case could be made for your just riding along.

    I’ve always found the idea of an organized ride that compels behavior to be preposterous. The roadways are still free for the use of any authorized vehicle. Your vehicle is certainly covered.

  4. Ray says:

    Yes! Open House!
    I look forward to it.
    I just smashed myself (in the woods doing something overly ambitious for a fixed-gear road bike) a couple weeks ago and was delighted to have a helmet on, thankfully, it did not crack as the impact was slight.
    My reflexes had my neck muscles holding my head up (and straining them in the process).

  5. 2whls3spds says:

    I have always wondered about the “liability” part of it. So if I wear the mandatory helmet, crash and get hurt I can still sue? Because I was wearing my magic styrofoam hat? How about if I line it with tinfoil first? 😉

    Helmet use should be up to the individual…


  6. Oh gosh, that is too bad. I did not notice this policy on their website; it must have gotten added somewhere down the line. I regret to say that I will not be attending as a result of the compulsory helmet rule.

  7. cosmo says:

    “Actually I worry more that someone will be run over by a car and most often a helmet does not help in that case. Helmets are best for the minor accident, where it is a slow speed topple, hit your head and your done.”

    Have you ever been in or seen a car/bike impact? Generally people don’t get “run over”—they get knocked over, either out, away from the car, or onto the hood/windshield/roof.

    In both cases, it is of *tremendous* advantage to have a helmet on, since your skull is moving with some good velocity toward some very hard objects.

    To say that “Helmets are best for the minor accident” is inaccurate. As it turns out, your skull is pretty decent at protecting your brain at lower speeds. A helmet still protects you from lots of things you’d want to avoid (big bloody cut, concussion, skull fracture) but generally speaking, you’ll live on to ride another day.

    Where helmets really matter is hard impacts that would kill you or significantly and permanently damage your brain. This (http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30817658&l=a16349858a&id=512374) is from a helmet-first impact with pavement at about 25 mph.

    Other than the bruises and some road rash, I was fine; If I hadn’t been wearing a helmet, I wouldn’t be here to write this. Ditto for most of the few car/bike collisions I’ve been through in my life.

    I agree that wearing a helmet is a personal decision—you have every right not to wear one, and in college, I rode around campus without one all the time. But PLEASE don’t spread misinformation about helmet use or effectiveness.

  8. Philip says:

    Helmets are but one tool to reduce risk of injury. There are other ways of mitigating risk like slowing down, learning defensive cycling rules, and using lighting from dusk to dawn. If you study the injury data you see that cyclists have a great deal of control over the risk they are exposed to and helmets are but a tiny, hotly debated part.

    Why not focus on less controversial safety advice like that offered at sites like http://bicyclesafe.com/ I don’t want to avail myself of the services of a neurologist any more than the next guy, but I don’t want an orthopedic surgeon either.


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