Longboarders Promote Helmet Use in cross-country ride
Wear a bucket. It’s a simple message that Jeff Abbott says too many people are ignoring. A bucket, in this case, is a helmet, something that Abbott wants to see on heads, whether they’re cycling, skateboarding, skiing or snowboarding. “It’s not cool to not have a helmet on.” Abbott and friend Mike Harris have taken their message on the road, riding their longboards in a cross-country odyssey to raise money and awareness for the Brain Injury Association of Canada.
They detoured this week to make hometown visits to Waterloo and Barrie. Abbott, 24, grew up in Waterloo, while Harris, 27, hails from Barrie and now lives in Waterloo. Their trip began May 1 in Vancouver, and they hope to reach Newfoundland in about a month. Their fundraising goal is $100,000.
Covering about 110 km a day, they take turns riding longboards — like a snowboard on wheels, Abbott says — and driving their hotel / support van. Mountain climbs and unforgiving headwinds have been the toughest challenges. A sporting sail, like a parachute, keeps their speed under control on downhill slopes. Along the way, they’ve stopped at schools, done interviews, and have told as many people as they can about the importance of wearing helmets.
Over the years, Abbott and Harris have suffered concussions. The first time, while skateboarding, Abbott wasn’t wearing a helmet. The next three times, while snowboarding, he was, but Abbott says the injuries would have been a lot worse otherwise.
“I really get sick of seeing kids out without helmets,” he says.