Dear helmets:

You guys are my favorite hats.

Sure, other headwear may be more stylish, more “cool,” easier to put on slightly sideways to suggest some, well, whatever it is the kids are trying to communicate these days, but you are the best, to me.

I have fond memories of bouncing you off linebackers who outweighed me by 50 pounds, bouncing you off the asphalt on city streets, even bouncing you off the occasional tree whilst mountain biking.

Thanks for taking the impact from that rock in the Black Canyon that my partner accidentally brushed off from 120 feet up, and the other baseball-sized one that my friend accidentally kicked off that sport climb in Boulder Canyon, and the other one that popped off that route in Big Thompson Canyon, and the other one … well, you get the point. Remember when those rocks hit you? You were like, “Whatever,” and they just bounced off—there’s no way I could have done that. I would have been curled up in the fetal position, holding the bleeding part of my scalp and moaning in excruciating pain. Like a CHUMP. So thanks.

I’m sure you know people say negative things about you, like you’re too hot, or too bulky, or you make it hard to meet attractive members of the opposite sex while on alpine rock climbs or the skate park or whatever. Don’t worry about that. Mustaches went through a long stretch of not being cool between the end of Magnum, P.I. and like 2009, but then they came back big, and the people who wear them seem to do OK in the dating world, so just hang on, your time is coming.

Hell, John Sherman wears one bouldering, and that guy is a LEGEND. He once wrote:

“These days, if I can’t find a legitimate reason not to wear a helmet (I’ll never get through the Harding Slot with this on), I wear one. Which is 98% of the time. Vanity is a weakness, not an excuse.”

Or, as comedian Denis Leary once said, “Life sucks, get a fucking helmet.”

How many other hats have a band named after them? Well, not too many bands who have as many fans as Helmet does.

Sometimes people downplay say things like “I’m a good skier” or “I’m only riding my bike a short distance,” and I defend you by saying “Lots of other people suck at skiing,” or “People texting behind the wheel don’t give a shit how far you’re riding your bike when they accidentally hit you.”

Here’s a brief list of cool people who wear helmets:

  • Danny MacAskill
  • Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman
  • Darth Vader
  • Vikings
  • Daft Punk
  • Felix Baumgartner
  • Astronauts
  • My friend BJ
  • Firefighters
  • People’s kids

Helmets, I’m pretty sure I love you as much as this guy does:

Thanks for providing a protective shell around my skull, and for enabling me to claim “helmet hair” is a hairstyle.


[Image screen captured from amazing GIF at]

18 replies on “Dear Helmets:”
  1. says: Dan

    Well said that man… I look a tool in my helmet (and all hats) but boy do you appreciate it when it does it’s job!

  2. says: AaronF

    But then you have the super cool Harley Davidson riders who have a saying “If you have to ask why I don’t wear a helmet then you wouldn’t understand”. Yeah, I hope when I grow up I can be that cool guy shitting in diaper because not wearing a helmet is what all the cool Harley kids are doing.

  3. Today is the first day of the NFL preseason for the Broncos, and they’re getting a rematch against the Seattle Seahawks, who crushed them in the Super Bowl last year. Since you spend a lot of time in Denver (though I don’t know if you call it home since you travel so much), I’m surprised you listed Richard Sherman as a “cool” person. Peyton Manning also wears a helmet. Isn’t he a million times cooler? 🙂

  4. says: Brittany

    I can’t imagine NOT wearing a helmet! Find one you like and that fits you well and call it good!

  5. Brilliant Brendan.

    The only beef I have with the helmet industry is the specialization of helmets . Most people I know who wear helmets have a couple for climbing, a couple for skiing, road riding, urban riding, mountain biking, skating, bar crawls….the list goes on.

    A guy ends up having more helmets than pairs of underwear (should I admit that?…) I regress.

    At the end of the day, having a collection of helmets isn’t the worst thing in the world and beats the heck out of the alternative when things do go wrong.

    Cheers and keep spitting the truth mate!


    1. says: Em

      It is annoying to buy a lot of helmets, but I think there is some reasoning behind the design of different kinds of helmets. For example, bike helmets and horseback riding helmets are structured differently because horseback riding helmets are designed assuming that your head is falling 9 feet (horse + your torso) instead of 4-5 feet from a bike. In safety testing, they use a sharper anvil to simulate horseshoes/hooves. They’re also required to cover more of the back and sides of your head to protect from kicks and because you tend to hit your head in different places when falling off a horse vs. a bike. (I’ve never landed flat on my back after being bucked off by my bike 😉 )

      That being said, I am sure that the differences are sometimes played up to sell another helmet (my “road” riding and “urban” riding are not that different…).

  6. says: Meh

    As someone who was made a hood ornament while biking and lived to tell the tale, I can relate to their virtues, but I still think mandatory bike helmet laws are b.s

  7. says: Grant

    As a guy who 1) has a mother and 2) is married to a neurosurgical ICU nurse, I begrudgingly accepted a long time ago that I’ll be wearing a helmet for just about anything I do. It took awhile to convince them both that it was not necessary for me to wear the climbing helmet I already own while pulling plastic at the gym. Although I know that wearing a helmet most of the time is the right thing to do, I resorted to self-deprecating humor when my buddies would rip on me for it.

    Brendan, thanks for dropping some perspective on me. The next time I hear the sarcastic, “Hey, sweet helmet!” comment, I’ll proudly reply with, “Darn right. Just like vikings, Daft Punk, Darth Vader, and mother f-ing astronauts.”

  8. says: Jim

    I’ve worked in many places where spikey things hang down and lurk waiting to pounce, so it seems normal to have a helmet for other places and hobbies where things want to smack you round the head.


  9. says: Stephen M.

    I love my helmets and, to be honest, modern ones are not heavy and uncomfortable like those of yore. They don’t even look too bad, today. The only problem with helmets is storing them. My wife and I are both active, outdoor types; between us, we have two climbing helmets, two ski helmets, two bicycle helmets and one horse-riding hat, all of which have to fit into our London apartment!

  10. says: Kathryn King

    My bike helmet saved my life three years ago and my climbing helmet has kept me from cracking my noggin on many a rock face. I love ’em.

  11. says: Bercana

    Pretty soon we’re going to need a helmet room to store all the helmets we need for whatever we do anytime we leave the house and go out into the big scary outdoors… biking, skiing, skating, walking, golfing, breathing…

  12. says: Rick

    I too can attest to the quick recovery vs. the lengthy stay under a neurosurgeon’s care.
    I have been off an F1 bike at various speeds up to 190mph more than once. But, more apropos to this thread: I have skied all my life (about 2500 ski days) and it seems that every 10th or 12th day, I just have to get myself into some kind of trouble that it is absolutely imperative I have a helmet on. Bouncing my head of exposed rock, exposed ice as hard as rock, rock hard snow and the 3 to 4 inch diameter low hanging twig that should have moved when I ran into it.
    I wouldn’t role my tricycle down the driveway with one.

    I love helmets.

  13. says: Thor

    I’ve been climbing ice for about 3 decades, so yeah – helmet. As for cycling, I’ve only dinged one; my wife has busted 4 of them in various crashes. Perhaps I’m not going hard enough…

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