H4H Mailbag: helmets of the nerds


Sit down children, because it's time for everyone's favourite segment (all three of you!), Helmets for Hipsters Mailbag! Yeah! Today's letter is from the redoubtable Leanne. She writes:
It has come to my attention (last night actually as I was riding up Swanston Street), that there is another class of people not wearing helmets. They are people who are already so unbearably dorky that to wear a helmet would be adding insult to injury. They are so nerdy that if they were to wear a helmet it would tip them right off the edge into Steve Urkel territory. If they were real nerds that wouldn’t even be self-aware enough to make the decision to ditch the helmet, so maybe they are Aspirational Hipster Non-Helmet Wearers. However I haven’t really put in the weeks of observation to know if these are isolated sightings or whether such a class of people exist in any great numbers. I will keep you posted.
Truly these are questions for the ages and the sages. The thing is that the line between nerd and hipster is so blurry. Just look at such key hipster texts as Napoleon Dynamite, Rushmore and Revenge of the Nerds, and nerdy hipster celebrities such as Wes Anderson, Demetri Martin and Natalie "I Went To Harvard and then rapped on SNL" Portman. In Melbourne there is even a hipster club night called Geek.

But I agree with Leanne that in order to be a true nerd, you must be unaware of your nerdiness, rather than being hyper-aware and trying to celebrate it ironically in order to make yourself okay with it. And it is these True Nerds that Leanne is talking about when she asks us to take pity upon them and exempt them from the disapproval of Helmets for Hipsters.

But I say ... NO.

Here's why. Because although it's paradoxical, it's a given that hipsters celebrate the coolness of nerdiness. If they see nerds cycling along without a care or a helmet, they won't feel pity, as we normal non-hipsters might feel. No - hipsters would think to themselves: "Fuck, that's awesome! That nerd says no to society's feeble rules! Yeah! Nerd uprising! Plus I really like his jumper, I wonder if they've got one at Savers."

Indeed, if hipsters were to see nerds wearing helmets, their inevitable ironic love of nerds will begin to encompass an ironic love of helmets. So I believe that this campaign must harness NERD POWER! Here are a few images I found to illustrate my point.

GO GO NERD POWER RANGERS! You mighty nerdy power rangers!

Come on! This guy is frickin awesome! Who wouldn't want to don a helmet after seeing this picture?

This guy is like fucking catnip to hipsters! Look - he even has a milk crate strapped to his bike, and those handlebar tassels! And a moustache! Why don't we just put him on a poster on various telegraph poles around Brunswick Street, right now?

Yes, helmets are pretty frickin' cool


Yo DJ, let's kick it!


I have just received a very interesting email from Gemma, who described an encounter she had with a dickhead who wasn't wearing a helmet. I feel that to communicate the gravity of the situation to any hipsters who may be reading this, I will have to translate it into the international language of hip-hop. So DJ, lay down some phat beatz while I spit dis shit. Yo, check it!

I was ridin' on da footpath in the late afternoon
With my homegirl Lucy, yeah that's what we was doin'
The sun was bright orange and low in da sky
And Lucy said, "Girl, helmets just ain't fly!
I don't need that shit; I roll slow wit my wheels!"
I said, "Let someone hit ya and see how it feels!
Remember one time a dawg rode into me?
I don't wanna have beef, but let's just say we disagree!"

So to all my ladies, when your head goes smack
And your helmet ain't on, it's wiggity-wiggity-wack!
(wiggity-wiggity-wack? wiggity-wiggity-wack!)
If you're in a bike stack, it's wiggity-wiggity-wack!

And as we was rolling past da cemetery
This sucka rode by, looked like he was in a hurry
We pulled up to Lygon, a busy intersection
Peeps was waitin' at the lights to get all pedestrian
They flashed us the green, and we went to do our thang
When a car hit da sucka with a screech and a bang!
See, the driver turned early, he was blinded by the light
Couldn't see that douche, and did a runner in the night

So to all my fellaz, when your head goes smack
And your helmet ain't on, it's wiggity-wiggity-wack!
(wiggity-wiggity-wack? wiggity-wiggity-wack!)
If you're in a bike stack, it's wiggity-wiggity-wack!

So the sucka kissed road, and he didn't look cool
With a peak-hour crowd knowing he's a damn fool
It was lucky for the dawg that his bike took the hit
But his wheels were totalled; he wasn't riding shit!
So he had to drag it home; I said, "He got served!
That cocky motherfucker got just what he deserved!"
And Lucy said, "Damn girl, perhaps you was right
Let's hit up Kmart for some helmets tonight!"

So to all my people, when your head goes smack
How many times I tell you? it's wiggity-wiggity-wack!
(wiggity-wiggity-wack! wiggity-wiggity-wack!)
Yo, we outta here, it's wiggity-wiggity-wack!

A precious life saved - by a helmet!


According to this report, former soapie star Daniel McPherson was saved from certain death in a freak bike smash ... by his helmet. The erstwhile Neighbours and The Bill actor, who currently hosts that intellectual powerhouse of a TV show, Killer Sharks, was in training for an iron man competition. His girlfriend, Big Brother alum and lip gloss entrepreneur, Jemma Gawned, rushed to Sydney to be by his side.

MacPherson had been in heavy training for his tilt at the upcoming Australian Ironman Championships when the chain on his bike jumped off while he was going downhill at 65km/h.

He was thrown over the top of his bike and his helmet took the brunt of the accident.

"The helmet was smashed to smithereens," a spokeswoman for MacPherson said yesterday.

"No one can believe he didn't have a lot worse injuries. His family strongly believes that, given the force of the impact, the helmet saved his life."
So there you go. Helmets don't just save lives, people. They save precious lives. It's things like this that keep my chin up as I strive to make helmet-wearing seem cool to the asymmetric crowd.

Long Island Head Injury Association


Dear hipsters,

I just found the website of the Long Island Head Injury Association. You, too, can hang with these fine people (or their Australian comrades). All you have to do is not wear a bike helmet.

Just sayin'.

Omelette you wear a helmet


I recently got this eggheaded image from Virginia. It is apparently from Germany, which makes sense to me because there is something very 'European' about it, if you know what I mean, and I think you do. Still it is a perfect example of why road safety campaigns based on the threat of head injury won't work on hipsters. They just don't care. They think the laws of gravity (and of the road) don't apply to them.

However, hipsters do care about the threat of mockery. So the best thing to do with pictures depicting head injuries is give them Vice Magazine-style captions.

So you're a bald douchebag riding down the street one day, and the sight of your luxuriant chest hair fluttering in the breeze sends onlookers into a kind of frenzy. And they're running along after your bike like deranged Beatles fans and you feel a little pleased, until you realise they're all carrying screwdrivers.

I saw this guy riding along Canning Street in his bodacious Oakley sunglasses and his "No Fear" t-shirt, singing along to Nickelback. And I couldn't put my finger on what was wrong, until it dawned on me: he wasn't wearing a helmet!

No helmet no bike? Wah wah wah


And a big whassup to my homie Jonathon, who directed me to perhaps the finest Web Page on the Information Super-Highway: No Helmet, No Bike, aka "Neuroscience for Kids". Truly it is a riveting read. My favourite part was:
"The brain is a delicate and fragile organ. It contains all of your memories and your ability to form new ones. It is everything you were and everything you will be."
We all know how these existential issues prey on the delicate and fragile minds of hipsters, especially when they're shitfaced drunk or coking out of their skulls. ("It's like, in I Heart Huckabee's...", "Omigod, Jason Schwartzman is so fucking hot...", "Yeah, I'd totally tell him I'm into Cum-ooh!")

But the comic art that comes with this website is genius. Could that kid be any more of a hipster, with his pink 80s hoodie and his vintage dove-grey hi-tops? This makes me think of starting an online comic here. It would be called Wah Wah Wah - The Helmetless Adventures of Corey. Please feel free to suggest possible plotlines in the comments.

About Helmets For Hipsters

  • I grew up riding my bike without a helmet, feeling the breeze in my hair. Then that darn government made helmet wearing compulsory. It still is. But you try telling that to fancy-free young urbanites. So in the interest of safeguarding the well-coiffed craniums of my generation, I decided to launch a community service project… Helmets for Hipsters.

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