Barclays teams up with Sportsdirect.com for national cycle helmet promotion

10 per cent discount off brands stocked by sports goods retailer

by Simon_MacMichael   May 20, 2013  

Christine Bleakley trying on a cycle helmet (picture courtesy Barclays)

Barclays Bank, sponsors of London’s Cycle Superhighways and Cycle Hire scheme, has launched a national campaign offering cyclists a 10 per cent discount on helmets bought through the UK’s biggest sporting goods retailer, Sportsdirect.com.

The bank says it “wants to encourage more cyclists to consider wearing a helmet,” and adds that with more people cycling, whether for leisure or commuting, it wants “to make it as affordable and easy as possible for all cyclists to access a helmet, should they wish to wear one.”

The issue of cycle helmets is of course an emotive one and while Barclays is recommending that cyclists wear protective headgear rather than insisting they should be compulsory, and emphasises that it is the rider's personal decision, any campaign that focuses on helmets does carry with it a risk of a backlash from parts of the cycling community. 

The 10 per cent discount is available on a range of helmets stocked at Sportsdirect.com’s 400-plus stores throughout the UK, as well as on its website.

Brands include Muddyfox and its sub-brand MFX, whose products tend to be sold through big-box retailers including Sportsdirect, as well as in-house brand, Dunlop.

The latter’s tennis racquets were once used by stars including Steffi Graf and John McEnroe, but owned by Sportsdirect since 2004, the brand has been diluted well beyond its historical focus on racquet sports and golf into areas including cycling accessories. Dunlop Tyres is a separate business, now owned by Goodyear.

Barclays cycling ambassador, the TV presenter Christine Bleakley, commented: “I wouldn’t feel comfortable cycling without a helmet and hope the offer will encourage more cyclists to consider wearing a helmet when on the roads.”

The helmet Bleakley herself is sporting in the picture Barclays supplied isn’t likely to be one of those available in the promotion, however – it isn’t stocked by Sports Direct.

Bleakley was shown trying on the helmet, made by Bern, in one of the videos she hosted for Barclays last year, aimed at encouraging female non-cyclists to take to two wheels.

Given the fact the helmet promotion is being run in conjunction with a retailer that isn’t top of mind when thinking of cycling specialists, it seems fair to say that it is likewise aimed at consumers who are new to cycling.

According to the 2012 annual report and accounts of Sports Direct International plc, the parent company of Sportsdirect.com, Barclays is the group’s principal bankers.

Last month, we reported that a Freedom of Information request had revealed that the bank had clawed back more than £1.5 million of its £50 million funding for the Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme from TfL, apparently due to missed targets during the scheme’s initial phase following its launch in summer 2010.

Currently, Barclays is offering free bike clinics in London in partnership with Bikeworks.

 

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The quote:

The bank says it “wants to encourage more cyclists to consider wearing a helmet,” and adds that with more people cycling, whether for leisure or commuting, it wants “to make it as affordable and easy as possible for all cyclists to access a helmet, should they wish to wear one.”

I like the wording, it doesn't mention they should or its safer or it will save your life.

But it should still be down to personal choice.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2631 posts]
20th May 2013 - 17:23

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That "bigbikechain" website looks a bit like Halfords one. Wonder if that's deliberate.

I am only as insane as the insanity around me (Jens Voigt)

posted by alronald [58 posts]
20th May 2013 - 18:22

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Here's how Christine Bleakley actually gets about London.

http://mevio.co.uk/2011/12/1921/

posted by j1mmy76 [63 posts]
20th May 2013 - 19:23

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Listen up SD and Barclays, no one wants helmets shoved down their throat, you're just hurting your "brand" short and long term.

posted by northstar [1083 posts]
20th May 2013 - 19:28

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They could promote, and subsidise copies of, Cyclecraft, which might actually address actual safety rather than the usual FUD based nonsense.

Pete Clinch
often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

posted by pjclinch [58 posts]
20th May 2013 - 20:02

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I don't understand why any cyclist would ride WITHOUT a helmet. Helmet's saved my life - twice. Once, it split in half like a nut, but at least it wasn't my skull.

What reason do riders have for not wearing them?!

In my opinion, (and it is only my opinion and no abuse will change it, just harden it)...

In my opinion, any cyclist without a helmet IS a helmet Angry

Strax

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posted by jdstrachan@yaho... [53 posts]
20th May 2013 - 20:34

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Utterly misinformed nonsense from a bank, and I'm very glad I don't have any money with them, and I hope that anyone who does will be putting it with a bank which has at least the faintest idea what it's doing.

Given that they sponsor the cycle hire scheme it might have been hoped that they would actually look at the results before promoting their ignorance to all and sundry. The hire scheme is incredibly safe, and almost no-one riding the bikes wears a helmet. I almost wish that I had an account with them so that I could close it.

If they are this misinformed about something they are so tightly involved with, how could they possibly be trusted with your money?

burtthebike

posted by burtthebike [66 posts]
20th May 2013 - 21:51

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If people read the article they are not saying you should wear a helmet, quite the contrary, they are saying if people want to then they are recommending you buy one whilst offering a cheaper way of doing it but they confirm it should be the riders decision.

If you must break the law, do it to seize power: in all other cases observe it. Gaius Julius Caesar.

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posted by stumps [2631 posts]
20th May 2013 - 23:14

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jdstrachan@yahoo.co.uk wrote:
Helmet's saved my life - twice. Once, it split in half like a nut, but at least it wasn't my skull.

So your helmet FAILED then, even at high impacts, helmets should NEVER split, they are designed to take and impact and through the way they are put together, dispence said impact through their design.

Your helmet splitting is half like a nut, means it failed because it did not actually do what it was supposed to.

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posted by Gkam84 [8637 posts]
21st May 2013 - 2:13

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Gkam84 wrote:
jdstrachan@yahoo.co.uk wrote:
Helmet's saved my life - twice. Once, it split in half like a nut, but at least it wasn't my skull.

So your helmet FAILED then, even at high impacts, helmets should NEVER split, they are designed to take and impact and through the way they are put together, dispence said impact through their design.

Your helmet splitting is half like a nut, means it failed because it did not actually do what it was supposed to.

Sorry gkam, but isn't a helmet splitting in a crash a helmet doing exactly what it SHOULD DO.

I'm not a helmet manufactruring expert, but i am an engineer, with a reasonable understanding of energy transfer and g-forces. Surely a helmet Is like a crumple zone on a car. They are designed to deform and break in order to dissipate the energy in the crash. For a helmet, staying in one piece transfers more of the crash energy to the head, thus increasing likelihood/seriousness of injury.

If a helmet is already cracked(from dropping it) it should be replaced because some of its energy dissipating capabilities have already been lost. A helmet should only break up with an impact over a certain level - breaking up too easily would limit its ability to deal with heavier crashes, while breaking up too hard would result in the energy transfer to head issue already described. Hence why a helmet doesn't always break up, but could still be cracked internally from the energy it has absorbed.

posted by joules1975 [64 posts]
21st May 2013 - 8:11

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Take look at Copenhagan Cycle Chic blog. Are all these people reckless idiots?

Still smiling politely at a persistently flat chain.

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posted by velophilia [38 posts]
21st May 2013 - 8:57

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velophilia wrote:
Take look at Copenhagan Cycle Chic blog. Are all these people reckless idiots?

Yes. How dare they wear normal clothes and make it look like they are safe and enjoying themselves.

Those reckless Danish with their complete lack of helmets, hiviz clothing and appropriate footwear are a danger to us all.

Even their pastries will kill you, if you eat enough of them.

Damn them. Damn them all to hell!

posted by zanf [418 posts]
21st May 2013 - 9:28

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joules1975 wrote:

Sorry gkam, but isn't a helmet splitting in a crash a helmet doing exactly what it SHOULD DO.

Correct. Simple physics.

posted by Paul99 [17 posts]
21st May 2013 - 10:08

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And so it begins!

jdstrachan@yahoo.co.uk wrote:
What reason do riders have for not wearing them?!

@jdstrachan, if this is a genuine question, then I would point you towards this site: http://www.cyclehelmets.org/

But I think, given a lack of hard evidence either way and so many confounding factors, most reasonable people feel it's a decision best left to the individual. To be fair, the announcement of this discount seems worded with this in mind.

So compulsion is not helpful, and neither is patronising people who make a decision which differs from one's own. So no abuse from me - the name calling seems to be more your forte.

Although I might just ask, out of interest, if you are as forthright about wearing a helmet when walking or travelling in a car?

Of course many cyclists will feel different about sports cycling (of whichever discipline) and popping to the shops, etc.

posted by pmanc [112 posts]
21st May 2013 - 10:09

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If it weren't for the fact that it is a legal requirement would you wear a seatbelt in a car?

posted by thebungle [115 posts]
21st May 2013 - 10:12

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thebungle wrote:
If it weren't for the fact that it is a legal requirement would you wear a seatbelt in a car?
Personally, of course I would. To do so hardly inconveniences me at all (apart from seatbelts making cars a little more expensive in the first place), and unlike cycle helmets, as I understand it there is clear evidence that seatbelts save lives. And I have read up on both measures.

Not sure how it's relevant though.

posted by pmanc [112 posts]
21st May 2013 - 12:25

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The Helmet Debate Rules clearly state that the discussion is declared null and void as soon as a participant plays either 'The Helmet Saved My Life' maneuver (AKA 'The Cracknell Hypothesis'), 'The Seatbelt Analogy' or "The Danish Comparison'. Thus we are all freed from the need to continue to play the Debate to its illogical and often violent conclusion and go and troll about Rapha instead.

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posted by joemmo [768 posts]
21st May 2013 - 12:35

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Seatbelts in cars are legal requirements. Unlike bicycles, there are no health benefits to using a car - there are only health disadvantages (to the occupants and to everyone else). Further, head injuries are a significant risk to car occupants, despite air bags (which are extremely violent when they go off). Helmet use in cars could further reduce these head injuries. Why don't we make car occupants wear helmets?

Unlike driving, cycling has significant health benefits. Thus, any reduced injury or deaths from wearing helmets must be balanced against the effect on cycling rates. There is little benefit to the general public in saving 1 head by requiring bicycle helmets, if it costs 1000 hearts due to people being put off cycling. All the evidence suggests that cycling is relatively safe. Certainly, it's not significantly more dangerous than walking or driving. Further, the evidence strongly suggests mandatory helmets greatly impacts on cycling rates - utility cycling particularly.

All in all, statistically you likely will be much better off cycling a bicycle all your life without a helmet, than not cycling at all.

Next, if you truly care about safe, mass cycling, look to the Netherlands. They achieve even *safer* cycling than the UK, and in much higher numbers, and with *very low* helmet usage. It is the countries with high helmet usage that seem to have the worst cycling safety, and helmet wearing cyclists in the Netherlands are significantly over-represented amongst cyclists who are injured or killed.

It is thus an undeniable fact that helmets are NOT a prerequisite for safe, mass cycling. Indeed, there appears to be a strong negative correlation between cultures of helmet use and cycling safety. It might be worth looking into why that is.

posted by Paul J [517 posts]
21st May 2013 - 13:13

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joemmo wrote:
The Helmet Debate Rules clearly state that the discussion is declared null and void as soon as a participant plays either 'The Helmet Saved My Life' maneuver (AKA 'The Cracknell Hypothesis'), 'The Seatbelt Analogy' or "The Danish Comparison'. Thus we are all freed from the need to continue to play the Debate to its illogical and often violent conclusion and go and troll about Rapha instead.

I would like to enquire what level of helmet use was prevalent during the second world war, and whether this might be tied to a conclusion related to the German leader of the time?

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

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posted by Gizmo_ [709 posts]
21st May 2013 - 14:03

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joules1975 wrote:

Sorry gkam, but isn't a helmet splitting in a crash a helmet doing exactly what it SHOULD DO.

I'm not a helmet manufactruring expert, but i am an engineer, with a reasonable understanding of energy transfer and g-forces. Surely a helmet Is like a crumple zone on a car. They are designed to deform and break in order to dissipate the energy in the crash. For a helmet, staying in one piece transfers more of the crash energy to the head, thus increasing likelihood/seriousness of injury.

If a helmet is already cracked(from dropping it) it should be replaced because some of its energy dissipating capabilities have already been lost. A helmet should only break up with an impact over a certain level - breaking up too easily would limit its ability to deal with heavier crashes, while breaking up too hard would result in the energy transfer to head issue already described. Hence why a helmet doesn't always break up, but could still be cracked internally from the energy it has absorbed.

Nope, totally wrong, if it breaks, it dissipates much less, sometimes nothing of the impact.

Have a read here http://www.cyclehelmets.org/1209.html

If someone's helmet breaks....its FAILED to do anything Wink

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posted by Gkam84 [8637 posts]
21st May 2013 - 14:09

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Gizmo_ wrote:
joemmo wrote:
The Helmet Debate Rules clearly state that the discussion is declared null and void as soon as a participant plays either 'The Helmet Saved My Life' maneuver (AKA 'The Cracknell Hypothesis'), 'The Seatbelt Analogy' or "The Danish Comparison'. Thus we are all freed from the need to continue to play the Debate to its illogical and often violent conclusion and go and troll about Rapha instead.

I would like to enquire what level of helmet use was prevalent during the second world war, and whether this might be tied to a conclusion related to the German leader of the time?

Rolling On The Floor Rolling On The Floor Rolling On The Floor Rolling On The Floor Rolling On The Floor Rolling On The Floor Rolling On The Floor Rolling On The Floor Rolling On The Floor Rolling On The Floor Rolling On The Floor Rolling On The Floor Rolling On The Floor Rolling On The Floor Rolling On The Floor Rolling On The Floor Rolling On The Floor Rolling On The Floor Rolling On The Floor Rolling On The Floor Rolling On The Floor Rolling On The Floor

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posted by Gkam84 [8637 posts]
21st May 2013 - 14:10

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The polystyrene in a helmet absorbs the most energy when it deforms through crushing. It absorbs significantly less energy if it cracks and splits - the cracking of itself absorbs much less than crushing, plus the loss of structural integrity adversely affects further crush deformation.

Good helmets, like certified motorcycle helmets and some of the better hard-shell bicycle helmets, have a hard, smooth outer shell, with as few discontinuities as possible (e.g. for ventilation). This hard shell resists cracking/splitting and helps spread the force away from the impact point, and across as much of the polystyrene as possible. This increases the level of impact at which the helmet will fail and crack at the impact point, and it maximises the energy absorption through crushing.

Many cycling helmets however lack a hard shell. They are able to pass only a very low standard - EN1078:1997. If your helmet split apart in a crash, it absorbed much less energy than it could have if it hadn't.

The above is fairly obvious, but I should be able to dig up references in the scientific literature if needed.

posted by Paul J [517 posts]
21st May 2013 - 16:47

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pmanc wrote:
And so it begins!

jdstrachan@yahoo.co.uk wrote:
What reason do riders have for not wearing them?!

@jdstrachan, if this is a genuine question, then I would point you towards this site: http://www.cyclehelmets.org/

But I think, given a lack of hard evidence either way and so many confounding factors, most reasonable people feel it's a decision best left to the individual. To be fair, the announcement of this discount seems worded with this in mind.

So compulsion is not helpful, and neither is patronising people who make a decision which differs from one's own. So no abuse from me - the name calling seems to be more your forte.

Although I might just ask, out of interest, if you are as forthright about wearing a helmet when walking or travelling in a car?

Of course many cyclists will feel different about sports cycling (of whichever discipline) and popping to the shops, etc.

Perhaps name calling is unhelpful, and immature, but I don't understand why people would choose not to. And yes, whenever I have travelled on our roads, on a vehicle that provides no other protection (i.e. bicycle or motorbike) I have always worn a helmet. I have not ridden on occasion when I did not have my helmet with me.

A car driving too fast, too close, too aggresively, or distracted doesn't discern between 'popping to the shops' and 'racing'. Therefore, for me, in my opinion, a helmet should always be worn.

Obviously, people can choose not to, I just don't get it.

Strax

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posted by jdstrachan@yaho... [53 posts]
21st May 2013 - 21:05

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Paul99 wrote:
joules1975 wrote:

Sorry gkam, but isn't a helmet splitting in a crash a helmet doing exactly what it SHOULD DO.

Correct. Simple physics.

Thank you Paul and Joules, and Gkam, quite simply it saved my life. Whether it remained in one piece or not (the second time that helmet dented but I replaced it) it did the job - protecting my head and keeping me alive.

I'd rather it split (even if as you say [wrongly] that it shouldn't do) if it means its not my head splitting and my brain and blood on the road instead of compact polystyrene.

Strax

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posted by jdstrachan@yaho... [53 posts]
21st May 2013 - 21:08

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Most people can afford a helmet, it's only the more racy ones that might be considered expensive. And you can get discounts in loads of shops and online already.

This promo appears to be a way for Barclays and SportsDirect to look like they're doing something positive for cyclists while really just getting some publicity for themselves. There are much better ways to get more people cycling but they're not interested in doing that. Flappy hi-viz giveaway next?

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posted by Simon E [1879 posts]
21st May 2013 - 22:42

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jdstrachan: I don't wear a helmet on a bicycle for the exact same reason you don't when walking, jogging or driving a car during everyday business.

posted by Paul J [517 posts]
22nd May 2013 - 14:11

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Paul, don't you feel at risk though? When I walk on a pavement, the chances of being hit by a car are slim (although with drivers like Emma Way....) and when I am in a car, I have the car as a shell of protection.

Thats why I wear a helmet on a bike, to add extra protection. Don't you feel at risk?

I'm not criticising (despite my previous comments!) I am genuinely curious how non helmet riders feel when riding on the roads.

Strax

jdstrachan@yahoo.co.uk's picture

posted by jdstrachan@yaho... [53 posts]
23rd May 2013 - 21:09

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Plus, could they have picked an UGLIER helmet to put her in?! Surprise

Strax

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posted by jdstrachan@yaho... [53 posts]
23rd May 2013 - 21:10

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Strax, The risk of being knocked off your bike is still small, even if you ride lots of miles, though it probably depends on where those miles take place as not all roads/situations are equally hazardous. Pootling through a park isn't the same as zig-zagging through London rush hour traffic or a bunch race.

Marketing and 'blame the victim' style scaremongering have gone a long way to convincing people that a helmet will protect them. Against a driver like this Twitter girl? No chance. A simple fall from ~1.5m is what I believe they are tested for, not being wiped out by 1.5 tonnes of steel at 50mph. Even at 30mph a car will destroy a brick wall, so how would 1/2" of polystyrene full of holes save you?

What do you think about risk compensation? Or Ian Walker's research indicating that drivers give more room to helmetless riders?

In the end it's a choice. I don't mind if it makes you feel safer. After 4 years of using one (purchased reluctantly after pressure from well-meaning family members) I stopped wearing mine recently. I don't feel less safe but I do feel more comfortable. I might wear it in the winter when the conditions are worse and it's cold and dark during commutes, but I'll see...

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posted by Simon E [1879 posts]
23rd May 2013 - 22:04

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Paul99 wrote:
joules1975 wrote:

Sorry gkam, but isn't a helmet splitting in a crash a helmet doing exactly what it SHOULD DO.

Correct. Simple physics.

No, and it isn't the physics that's simple.

Try this simple experiment: take a piece of polystyrene packing and try crushing it, and you will find that it takes considerable effort and a great deal of energy. Now try snapping it, and you'll find that it snaps extremely easily and takes almost no energy. Which do you think would absorb the greatest amount of energy, crushing or cracking?

Helmets are designed to work by absorbing energy by the polystyrene being crushed, and if it fails by cracking, it has absorbed very little energy, and didn't save your life, no matter how many paramedics, doctors or helmet salesmen tell you otherwise.

Actually, you're right, the physics is simple, you just don't understand it.

burtthebike

posted by burtthebike [66 posts]
11th June 2013 - 10:41

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