I used a hair

I used a hair dryer the other day to take the Arai sticker off the forehead of my helmet — mostly to see if it could be done. It actually worked really well. Kate’s dad Snuffy Smith does this to his Shoei helmets all the time so that he can put a Triumph sticker up there.

Putting stuff on your helmet is a big part of motorcycling. Anyone who’s ever doodled a “Zofo” on their Trapper Keeper in eighth grade is going to do something to their stock helmet. A lot of guys in the “no fear” set with neon-green sportbikes have their helmets airbrushed so that they look like carnivorous reptiles or grinning skulls. I’m sure those guys had plenty of “Van Halen” logos penned on the canvas covers of their three-ring binders. Jeez, but maybe they’re too young for that. Whitesnake? Pictures of Screech from Saved by the Bell?

Harley bikers buy tiny, useless “beanie” helmets to comply with helmet laws. These beanies — kind of like a styrofoam yarmulke covered with black paint — come with a whole lot of pre-printed Giant Non-Conformist Rebel™ stickers that you can add to show your Free Spirited Indipendence©. Most popular are the ubiquitous “Loud Pipes Save Lives” and “Helmet Laws Suck” stickers*. Pennsylvania repealed its helmet law last week, and Kate is mystified why a lot of the Harley bikers are still wearing their beanies. They won’t protect you from anything, and now their stickers are outdated.

If I can figure out a way to get a bear holding a shark on my helmet, I’ll do it. Until then, I just went with a Dr. Cube sticker.

* Some of these slogans are kind of a guilty pleasure for me. As a kid, I was fascinated by the giant pewter belt buckle displayed in one of the cases at the Downingtown Farmer’s market: “Ass, Gas, or Grass: Nobody Rides for Free.” I wasn’t sure quite what it meant, but it seemed like a mystic portent of another, dirtier, and more exciting world. If that world really exists, it hasn’t changed much: I was passed by two sportbike riders on the way to a rally the other day. They had flame jobs on their helmets, and plastic trick pegs mounted on either side of their fairing. Written across both T-shirts was a big, red slogan: “Will wheelie for boobs”.

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