The reason why millions of people in the United States love biking is because it combines transportation, exercise, and leisure all into one affordable package. When you get the right bike and take proper care of it you can expect to have it as long as you want. Repairs are cheap, and maintenance is practically free-as long as you have a pump and some WD-40. Not to mention you’re not paying for fuel or insurance either. So it's no wonder people put so much time and effort into finding the right bike. But what is often overlooked is finding the right helmet. Many riders buy the cheapest helmet at the bike shop, one that doesn’t fit and doesn’t offer solid protection; or don’t wear a helmet at all. Now, this is due to several reasons. Some people don’t understand the importance of helmets, some people don’t like the way they look, some find them uncomfortable, but most people simply don’t know how to find a helmet that works for them. Let's change that. Here's what to look for when helmet shopping:
Safety Rating: Above everything else, the safety rating of your helmet is the most important aspect to look out for. Before you begin shopping you should learn about the different types of safety ratings that classify the helmets sold in the US. You can read about them here. Figure out what kind of safety rating matches the type of riding you do, and then keep an eye out for it while you’re shopping!
Comfort: Safety is the most important aspect of a helmet, but ultimately it doesn’t matter how safe the helmet if its too uncomfortable to wear. While shopping, make sure to try on every helmet you’re interested in, and make sure to adjust it to fit you properly. Some helmets can seem uncomfortable at first, but fit well after minor adjustments. Other helmets may feel comfortable when you first put them on your head, but after you adjust them to fit you properly you may realize it isn’t what you thought it was.
Perks and Accessories: The base level of helmets are typically padded styrofoam with a thin layer of plastic on top. However, the helmets that cost a few dollars more usually do so for a reason. Helmets can have all sorts of perks and accessories attached to them. Some helmets have holes that you can snake your lock through, some helmets have built in lights, some have bluetooth capabilities, and there are a whole lot of other perks as well.
Shopping for a bike is a lot of fun. You get to try out different models, test a couple different styles, and eventually you find the perfect one to fit your needs. As soon as you leave the store you’re ready to ride. Shopping for a helmet, on the other hand, can be a little less fun but it's just as important. Take the time to understand the helmet you want before purchasing. Understand the pros, the cons, and the protection it offers. Try it on. Make sure it looks good, feels good, and fits well. Safe riding!