In our new sponsorship and partnership with professional mountain bike trials rider Ryan Leech, we’re able to fruitfully combine our love of the sports world with our commitment to loving our brains (and everyone else’s). A talented athlete, Ryan has been on the professional circuit for most of his life, performing his particular magic of focused and fantastic stunts with a bicycle. He’s also a yoga teacher and a coach for athletes. Here’s our first guest post from Ryan.

Okay cool, you’ve got your helmet on…good to go!

Not so fast, turbo.

Did you put your inner helmet on?

Think of this as checking your ego. When you do, you’re protected from its rampant desire for attention, for which it’s prepared to do almost anything. In my world of mountain biking, ‘almost anything’ can quickly lead to injury.

Strapping an inner helmet on is easier said than done though – our egos are sneaky.

For example, I’ll often start my day of riding with both my helmet & inner helmet on. I’ll be riding well, feeling confident, and getting attention for doing so…it feels good. So more of that will feel even better, and sure enough, my inner helmet is unconsciously shed.

That’s when injuries become much more possible.

Ryan Leech 2

Ryan hopping off a tree in the Nutcase Union Jack helmet.

Say you’re bicycle commuting in the city. Without your inner helmet, your ego may convince you that you can make that light – even though it’s about to turn red. So you crank up your speed and blast through the intersection. You’re okay, but how many times can you play that game? How much of a rush are you really in?

Seems this inner helmet is a bit elusive, it comes and goes.

The ego is slippery and mysterious, yet I don’t want to make it out to be a villain here. Instead, my recommendation is to make friends with your ego, otherwise, trying to strap an inner helmet on will be like trying to put toothpaste back in the tube, nearly impossible!

My ego does come up with great ideas. It’s just that left to its own devices, things can go too far.

But having a conversation with my ego about these ideas has led me to some pretty cool, and (relatively) safe, experiences on my bike…and contributed to a long term career doing what I love, riding bikes.

What are your experiences using an inner helmet? I’d love to know what works for you!

(Ryan is wearing two Nutcase helmets in the photos – first the limited-availability Lumberjack, and then the iconic Union Jack. Buy them here.)

And here are a couple of videos showing what Ryan can do:

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