invisible helmet, visible hell

I have a crazy m$%therf*cking headache that has been here since 4pm yesterday, and there is nothing like 14 hours of wanting to amputate your own head to put me in a good mood. So take all of this with a grain of salt.

Because, by and large, I LOVE how many people have sent me this vimeo. I love the individual people, and I love that there are about 10 of them who have all thought – “woah, an invisible HELMET, I have this friend who LOVES helmets, she will surely get a giggle out of this”. I also just love when people send me shit, because it makes life so much easier. Keeping track of what’s cool on the internet is like trying to predict who’s going to give you that STI.


But basically, this is so annoying to me I can’t even believe it. Cycling is my one major connection to consumer culture and regular society (i.e. this is my area for looking at the advertisements, everywhere else I TRY not to see them, but for cycling, I actually pay attention. I care about the policy developments, I look at the news on it. I even watch the sports channels. It’s like fitting in finally.)

I care about my place in this element of capitalist culture, which generally overwhelms me and frightens me. However, this invisible helmet thingy annoys me so much, right from the first moment the girls are “going to be millionaires” to the time when they laugh that others can’t believe “women could invent something so technical” to the $10m of venture capital they’ve raised. Can they go and invent something truly technical like, I dunno, a mechanism that will prevent gender based violence?

If you like to feel the wind through your hair so goddamn much, fine, don’t wear a helmet. I have never once tried to tell you how to live your life. I just try to be complimentary and nice and not have you be deterred by the fact that your hair is squashed when you ride. Please ride your bike, I will like you better. It’s so simple, it’s painful.

I’ve always been receptive to the idea that with a freaking massive bike lane for me and my bike buddies EVERYWHERE and hardly any 60kph moving 1+tonne cars with angry drivers, or better yet, drivers who think “you go girl, on your cute little bike with its basket on the front, you TAKE THAT WHOLE GODDAMN LANE” then I wouldn’t wear a helmet all the time either. We live in a nanny state that wants to remove glasswear and the ordering of multiple drinks because that is what makes us want to smash each others faces in when we are drunk, that we are holding too many glasses, all of them in such cheap commercial glass and that kind of thing makes us want to punch each other in the face, not that dark simmering of rage and wrong and boredom and hate.

I’m going to go and hang out in my la la land where people play string instruments, drip with earnest, love hiking, read Wendell Berry, fudge their first lines and are just nice to each other. I might order a freaking chai at my ridiculous yuppie cafe and just go on being whiter than I ever thought I was going to be.

August. Month of the rant.

(sorry little Alex for stealing your childhood image from Adelaide Cyclist, I hope you’ll forgive)


Categorized as brisbane

By Eleanor Jackson

Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer, cyclist, writer, gal about town, feminist, freewheeler, and friend.


  1. That post was awesome. You’re a legend. Hahahaha. Sorry about your headache, hope it goes away soon.
    My wife and I went on a cycle tour through Barcelona recently and it was liberating to not have to wear a helmet. I liked the fact that it was our choice whether to wear helmets on that ride. Interestingly enough, two other aussies, women from brisbane, chose to wear helmets – they were the only ones which was cool. Freedom is choice.
    Helmets are definitely hot, but the joy of living in a nanny state is not!

    1. August. She is the month of the rant. Let us give thanks for things that piss us off. Nanny State. The Shire. Etc. I’ll be sure to check out your happy riding diary!

  2. We didn’t wear helmets in France and there are certainly not bike lanes everywhere there. They have their share of crazy insane drivers but they seem to prefer to hit each other over hitting cyclists, and they pretty much always saw us. We spent so much time on the road that we saw some odd things, like a wheel that came off a truck as it was going around a roundabout. As a cyclist you have a better view and see these things almost before they happen. The wheel rolled along the road and came to rest directly in front of a car. The lady behind the wheel of the car stuck behind the wheel leaned on her horn, like that would help the situation. The truck pulled up on the side of the road. We went around the honking driver, and the dismembered wheel and continued on our way. I personally don’t care if people wear helmets or not, but I like to pick and choose my fights with the law. I think for 90% of the riding I do the helmet is really not necessary (I live on a lovely separated bike path, I will show you if/when you visit, I don’t ride that fast on it). When I am descending hills at 60kmh or riding as fast as i can then maybe the helmet is valuable, but I prefer to avoid being involved in crashes in the first place.

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