My friend Jake and I were recently heading back to San Francisco from a party in Oakland. Jake was traveling with a bicycle and I wasn’t and we went back and forth for a long time trying to figure out how the 12-block trip to the train station was going to work. Was there a way to share the bike? Perhaps I could I sit on Jake’s shoulders, chicken-fighting-style, while he pedaled? We only had one helmet between us, “but don’t worry”, I said, “My thighs will be your helmet.” It made a lot of sense, but we were tired and couldn’t figure out how to make it work. We ended up walking the entire way.
In the days following, we couldn’t stop thinking about our failure. We knew there must be a way for two friends to safely share a bike. The following series of sketches explore solutions to this problem.
In the first set, Jake provides a classic template for riding on your friend’s shoulders. The top rider keeps the hands up as a sign of success.
You’ll notice that no one gets hurt in a crash because the top rider has a helmet and the bottom rider has thighs protecting their head.
In the next set of sketches, I expand on Jake’s template by adding some different styles of handgrips and footholds.
Where is the bike? There is no bike.
Next, my sister Anna trashes convention and provides a number of alternative ways to safely sit atop someone’s shoulders.
I doubt you'll need to pray. This is safe.
Finally, our friend Peter provides two vivid, real-life examples.
We’re so close to figuring this out! If anyone out there has other ideas, please send in your sketches. Who knows where this is going? We might set up a My Thighs Will Be Your Helmet shop on Etsy and sell t-shirts and handbags.
UPDATE: A few people have mentioned the phrase “my thighs will be your helmet” has sexual undertones. Seriously? I don’t know how I could be any more explicit that this is about friends sharing a bike in a safe manner. Get your mind out of the gutter.