I am the woman who should never ever wear helmets, because every time someone tells me to put one on, things don’t go quite according to plan.
A few years ago when I was on a trip to Daytona, Florida, I was invited to enjoy the Richard Petty Driving Experience at the NASCAR racing track – home to the Daytona 500.
My stomach lurched as the speedometer reached a buttock-clenching 160 miles per hour, forcing my cheeks – all four of them to judder furiously. As someone who can’t even drive and doesn’t even know one end of a gear stick from the other, let alone how to use the brakes, riding in a stock car as it hurtles round one of the most famous speedway tracks in the world was definitely an experience to remember, particularly when the car took the track at a 31-degree angle. It was breathtaking and I loved every minute of it.
The only problem came when it was time to get out. For some reason I didn’t entirely understand, I had to get out through the window. But I was still wearing the helmet. I managed to get one leg out, then the other, but I couldn’t work out to get my head – which seemed ENORMOUS in that giant helmet – out of the tiny window. In the end the crew had to come to my rescue. It’s not an exaggeration to say my face was crimson.
Then there was the time we were in St Lucia and we decided to go on an ATV Quad Bike ride. Within minutes of setting off I lost control of my bike and crashed into a fence, sending chickens scattering and narrowly avoiding a tethered goat.
The next time someone asks me to put a helmet on I think I’ll make my excuses and leave.