to helmet or not to helmet

2:58 AM

Bikes are a big part of the French culture. Think Tour de France and such. People ride bikes all the time here. I heard once that bikes were used a lot during WWII as gasoline was scarce and few had cars. People started riding their bikes everywhere. I don't know if that is really when it all started or not, but it makes for a good story.
    Bikes are so popular that Toulouse has public bikes that can be rented by the half hour. An example of these bikes is above. There are stations set up all around the center and a bit outside of it where you can pick up and drop off your bike. It works really well unless you have a little one to bike around with you. They have some nifty things for little ones besides just the old bike seat, but I didn't manage to get a shot of those..
  Anyway, my point is the topic of helmets. No one wears a helmet here! We do as I am totally against putting yourself in stupid,preventable situations such as becoming a vegetable because you didn't wear your bike helmet. Granted Principe fights me on this as helmets aren't really worn in Spain either, but it seems idiotic to me to make the girls wear helmets and then not wear ones ourselves. So we are okay with becoming vegetables as long as our kids don't? Almost every kid I see on a bike (either sitting or actually riding) wears a helmet, but in all my time of living here I have seen less than 5 adults with a helmet on.
Sometimes, when I am riding through town and people look at me funny I feel a bit childish for wearing it. Sometimes when we get to our destination and my hair is matted and sweaty (humidity people!) I feel foolish for wearing it (and for having actually done my hair that day....), but I hold fast to my helmet views and won't waver. I no longer feel dressed on a bike without it. Thanks to my mom's horror stories of her patients. But I want to be an example to my kids. And I also want to be around to see them grow up. And let me tell you, even with all the bikes around here there are still crazy drivers who just "don't see you."
So tell me, Do you wear a helmet? Do your kids? Am I the only one with a mother for a nurse who had horror stories of patients being hit by cars that instilled in them a desire to have her brain all in one piece while still enjoying a bike ride?

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