I stopped, because we all stopped maybe. I’m not sure why we stopped. When grambling, you don’t need a great reason to stop, because stopping is just part of it. Also, the more people you have along, the more likely one of them is to need do something that requires not moving.
Bruce rolled up behind me, which I took particular notice of, because normally Bruce will run into me when we stop. It’s one of the things we do. I run into him. He runs into me. Then we make an apology that’s not an apology. It’s fun. Try it.
Anyway, there was Bruce, suddenly standing behind me, and I noticed he had a mountain bike helmet on. For the purposes of this discussion, we’ll refer to any helmet with a brim as a mountain bike helmet, while a brimless helmet we’ll call a road helmet. I know there are other helmets (crash, commuter, BMX, etc.), but for this particular Friday, we’ll pretend there are just the two kinds.
I said, “Is gravel riding a mountain helmet activity?”
And he said, “Is it not?” not understanding that I was asking an actual question and not trying to entrap him in some sort of low-brow insult. Then he said, “Actually, this is my only helmet that’s not disgusting, so I wear it for everything right now.”
I did not point out that the distance between where we were standing and the point where that helmet would become disgusting was maybe not as far as he thought. I was actually looking for information.
I had on a road helmet. To be more precise, I had on a road helmet with a cycling cap, which is what I normally do, in effect making a brimless helmet have a brim. Still, somehow I see a distinction here where clearly there is no difference. The cap, as long as we’re down this rabbit hole, is actually there as a sweat absorbent. It is only ever partially successful in this role, but I take what I can get.
I looked around at the rest of our group, a few mountain helmets, a few road.
I asked out loud, “What is the right helmet for gravel? Road or mountain?” The few who acknowledged the question shrugged, blinked, and said nothing.
We should all thank our lucky stars that no one in the bike biz has yet come to market with a gravel-specific helmet. I don’t like to imagine the product managers out there are so cynical that they think they can sell us anything as ludicrous as tap water in a bottle, but you never know.
I’ll be honest with you. If you were to chime in here with the somehow verifiable correct answer to the question, I’m not at all convinced that it would change my behavior, but this week’s TCIF asks, what helmet do you wear for gravel? The road or the MTB? The crash? The commuter? Can anyone give me any reasons that one of the two primary genre of helmets wouldn’t suffice for gravel riding? Please. Go ahead.