Whether you're cycling to work, riding for fun, or competing, a helmet is a must-have for protection. When properly chosen, a helmet will be comfortable while providing excellent protection. In this helpful guide, you'll learn how to choose a helmet to fit your cycling needs.
Types of Helmets
- Road helmets tend to have more ventilation than other types of helmets. Ventilation increases airflow at the top of your head which provides a comfortable fit while keeping your head cool. In addition, road helmets typically lack visors which produce a more lightweight design.
- Mountain bike helmets usually provide more coverage than most helmets due to the rough terrain you may face off-road. Coverage increases towards the rear of the helmet and the overall design is bulkier. Mountain bike helmets are usually equipped with visors to protect against the sun.
- Sport helmets appeal to many uses. They're great if you commute to work, skate, or just need it for recreational use. Sport helmets are usually cheaper than road and mountain bike helmets.
What's Your Hair Type?
One thing some people may not consider is their hair type. However, to achieve ultimate comfort, you need a helmet to accommodate your hair. For example, if you're bald or have very short hair, you may want to invest in a helmet with padding. The padding will protect your delicate scalp from chafing and discomfort. On the other hand, people with long hair may want to consider a helmet with a hair port to comfortably accommodate a longer hairstyle.
Other Things to Consider
- Weight: A lightweight helmet can make you forget you're even wearing one. Thus, you may experience more comfort with a lightweight helmet while maintaining safety and protection.
- Color: If you're likely to cycle on the road, color is even more important. A light color such as white will be easy for motorists to spot from afar. You can also opt for a bright color if you want to be easily seen. Lastly, patterns made with reflective tape are an excellent way to add protection at night.
- Ventilation: Riding your bike is a surefire way to work up a sweat. Proper ventilation is the key to keeping cool.
What's Your Size?
In order to find the perfect helmet, you need to know what size to buy. Helmet sizes may vary depending on your price range. Lower priced helmets tend to be one-size-fits-all. As the price increases, you'll see a wider range of sizes. Regardless of price, you're increasing your level of safety by choosing to wear a helmet.
To find your size, wrap a soft tape measure around your head. The tape measure should be level and rest about an inch above your eyebrows. This measurement is your helmet size.
Finding Your Perfect Fit
Now that you have your helmet size, it's time to try on a helmet that corresponds to your measurements.
- Level: Place the helmet level on your head. You want to avoid having your helmet tilt back. The front of the helmet should cover a majority of your forehead as well.
- Adjust: Adjust the various straps located near your ears and the back of the helmet until you have a snug yet comfortable fit. When your chin strap is adjusted correctly, you should barely be able to fit two side-by-side fingers between your chin and the chin strap.
- One Inch Rule: Tilt your head in different directions. If the helmet shifts by more than an inch, you need to tighten your helmet more. A properly fitted helmet will be secure with little give.
Safety and Comfort
Don't let finding the perfect helmet overwhelm you. The fact that you're choosing a helmet means you're taking a step in the right direction towards bicycle safety. Helmets are designed to fit your every need and have countless features to ensure a great bike ride. By following this guide, you can ride in confidence knowing you've picked the right helmet.