According to a recent blog post on the Merida Bikes website, “James Cracknell is being seen all over the place, promoting his programme [on the Discovery Channel] following his incredible journey back from his near fatal head injury”. During these interviews, he has been very keen to promote the wear of cycle helmets and he has also been telling people that “I don’t have a commercial relationship with the [helmet] manufacturer, by the way.”
This is a wee bit odd, as he is a “brand ambassador” for Alpina cycle helmets and one of the main sponsors of his trip across America was Merida Bikes [link now dead]. These bicycles are sold in Britain by Merida UK, which has exclusive distribution rights to sell Alpina cycle helmets in the UK. This may well lead some people to question the claims that a piece of polystyrene covered with plastic could have actually saved Mr. Cracknell life.
What is certain is that it was the quick actions of the ambulance crew, along with the attention of the medical team at the hospital within the “golden hour“, which actually saved Mr. Cracknell’s life. According to the medical team which saved his life, as a result of this rapid treatment there is no reason why Mr. Cracknell shouldn’t make a full recovery – in time. I wish him well for the future.
Another thing we can be certain of, is that the lightweight Alpina Pheos helmet failed to prevent his skull being broken in two places, when he was hit by the wing mirror of a passing truck. It is perhaps fortunate for Merida UK and Alpina, that Mr. Cracknell wasn’t hit by the truck while he was walking along the road and not wearing a helmet. As the likely outcome would, given the same rapid treatment, have been the same. The only difference being that they would have been unable to take the credit for saving Mr. Cracknell’s life (instead of the timely intervention of the medical team) or use Mr. Cracknell as a “brand ambassador” to promote their products.