Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Tip 22: Hang your helmet on your handlebars

The first people to dangle stack-hats from their Oury-brand grips were a small group of History Professors.
They had read how Hernan Cortes, on arriving in Mexico, had his men burn the boats they  arrived in.  Removing the safety net meant his soldiers would brook no retreat. 
These wise professors saw a parallel in cycling.
Perhaps it could be made safer in a counter-intuitive way.  Your head, they reasoned, is the soliders and your helmet the boats, with their false promise of security.
(Of course, your handlebars are the flames and the road an angry phalanx of Aztec warriors).
Around the holly-oaked lanes of Oxford, untold dozens of injuries to some of the most valuable heads in academe were avoided through this time tested logic.

BONUS TIP:  One unpropitious spring day a history professor revealed the helmet strategy (and its historical antecedent) to some Business school faculty over scones at College. 
The Business School professors started spruiking the historical lesson in their flimsy best-sellers on the strategy of business and copied the helmet routine to boot.
The only time Oxbridge neurology wards got any work was when a business professor and a history professor both rounded a corner in the gloaming, and collided.
The boat burning strategy can't work if both sides do it.

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