Alan Rowe

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Updated 5 November 2004

This letter from Alan Rowe was published in edited form in Cycling Weekly 2 October 2004


Crash Helmets

             First of all I have to say that I have always been against the compulsory wearing of hard shell helmets for leisure riding, as in the past I have crashed on the track in multiple rider tumbles, in road races having had chain marks on my head, and in a time trial slipping on a roundabout where it was damp and greasy. On each occasion I got up and carried on, I also used to suffer during road races during the heat where I got Nausea through wearing a cloth cap, so I was not going to wear a helmet while I was leisure riding, BUT!! Recently I went on a day trip to France with friends and 5km from the ferry port on our way home it is alleged that I sprinted for the Calais sign, it is thought that I got cramp and lost control of the bike as apparently the bike fell sideways and I fell off the back of the bike onto the base of my spine and my head flopped down onto a newly surfaced road with granite chippings. I sustained a very, very serious head injury with bleeding, swelling, and bruising of the brain. I spent two weeks in an induced coma, and another 2weeks medication in a Calais hospital, which at this point I want to say that the French medical team did a fantastic job. I was then transferred to England where I spent another month in hospital for rehabilitation and further medication.

          The point I want to make is none of us knows what is around the corner and as a competitive cyclist for fifty yrs. I think I qualify as a very experienced cyclist, but this accident has brought it home to me how lucky I am to be able to write this. To the competitive ones among you, I was having a very good season, but as this happened at the end of May the rest of this season had been lost.

          So the first thing I am going to do before I resume riding is buy  a decent hard shell helmet and I would seriously advise any other cyclist to do the same, but Iíve read articles before and not taken any notice! But of course at the end of the day it is up to you! THINK!!

          I would like to finish now by thanking my wife and family for visiting me on a daily basis here and in France, also to the many cycling friends who visited me in France and Dartford, and for the many cards it all helped with my recovery it really did, to know how much people were thinking of me.


      Alan Rowe

      De Laune CC

      Evans Cycles/Specialised 

This by the way this is the unedited version, and although most of the editing by Cycling was ok where there are extra words where they are not needed they left out two important parts namely THINK!!, and most important the very last paragraph.

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