7 Random Observations About Helmets

11.16.2006 | 7:38 pm

A Note from Fatty: Thanks to everyone–more than 50 of you–who participated in yesterday’s contest to win a very cool Vicious Cycles Jersey. Lots of great ideas. You can continue to add entries to that contest through 11/17/06, by the way. I’ll choose a winner over the weekend, and will post it on Monday.

This Has Never Happened Before
I recently had a completely new (at least for me) experience: I wore out a helmet. Or at least I think I wore it out: there’s a crack in the front of my trusty white Giro Atmos that I can’t account for. The helmet’s four years old, so I’m just putting this crack down to accumulated wear and tear.

So how is this new? Well, it’s the first time I’ve ever replaced a helmet before catastrophically destroying it through the medium of an epic crash. In other words, I’ve finally had a helmet die of old age.

Who would have even thought such a thing possible? Seriously. Until now, I thought there was only one way for a helmet to go, and that was with a bang.

So lately I’ve been doing some helmet shopping, during which I have thought a lot—too much, perhaps—about helmets. Here are some of my random helmet-related observations.

1. Helmets Are Not Exciting
I’m having a very difficult time getting excited about buying a helmet. This is peculiar, because I usually get excited about buying just about anything bike-related. I’ve gotten excited about buying bike shoes. I’ve gotten excited about buying a new kind of energy food. I’ve gotten excited about buying socks, for crying out loud.

So why am I blasé about getting a helmet?

I think it’s because of what the helmet represents. Every other item I buy for biking contributes to the pleasure of biking itself. The helmet, on the other hand, is an insurance policy you strap to the top of your head. No matter how many vents it has, no matter what kind of ratcheting gizmo it uses to keep it snug on your noggin, no matter what exciting racing colors it uses, it’s still a Styrofoam hat that develops a permanent stink after you use it a few times.

It’s not easy to get excited about that.

2. Helmets (or Rather, Lack Thereof) Make Me Act Schoolmarmish
In spite of their decided lack of sexiness, I’m a helmet zealot. The fact that I’ve crushed several and have never had a serious bike injury is evidence enough that they’re worth wearing. So when I see anyone without a helmet, I have to fight the urge to go tell the offender off. And if I see an adult and a child riding—neither wearing helmets—I’m likely to fail to resist that urge. At least a couple times, I’ve gone and told parents they have a responsibility to make their kids wear helmets, and a further responsibility to set a good example by wearing one themselves.

Nobody has ever thanked me for giving them this advice. And every time I have done this, I have immediately regretted it. Do I stop people in traffic if they’re not wearing seatbelts? No. Do I walk up to people who are smoking and tell them about lung cancer? No. Do I point out to strangers that listening to their iPods at maximum volume is going to cause hearing loss? No.

And yet, I have this strange, embarrassing compulsion to occasionally play the bike helmet vigilante.

Am I alone in this?

3. Genius Helmet Marketing Idea
I have an old helmet, on which I keep a helmet-mounted light. This helps me avoid having to attach the light each time I go night riding. I used the Velcro straps as well as double-sided tape to fix the light in place, and my setup works well.

Or, perhaps I should say that it works well except for when I’m using it. No helmet in the world—that I know of—is made to stay on snugly when the weight of a light (coupled with the drag of a battery cable) is added. The helmet either slides forward or backward. And then there’s the question of whether a helmet with a metal-and-glass contraption up top is going to do you any good whatsoever if you superman into a tree.

I suspect not.

So, if I were a helmet-mounted bike light manufacturer, I’d team up with a helmet manufacturer to design a bike light/helmet combo that doesn’t slide back and forth all over your head. It would be a bonus if it doesn’t require a MacGuyver-esque combination of Velcro, tape, and glue to hold the light in place.

Note to Giro and NiteRider: You can thank me for my brilliant idea by sending me a helmet/light setup as soon as you finish developing it. Size Medium.

4. Fit
I have a perfectly-formed, evenly-shaped cranium with no irregularities whatsoever, so this helmet-related observation is strictly hypothetical. But just say, for the sake of argument, that one’s head were shaped in such a way that no matter what you do, the helmet always seems to tip back so the front is high on the forehead? I assume that person would constantly be hearing from other riders who want to offer helpful advice, along the lines of, “Hey, your helmet’s tipped pretty far back there, Fatty.”

I’m assuming, here, that this person with the irregular-shaped head also has the nickname “Fatty,” just by coincidence.

So anyway, I imagine that this person with the funny-shaped head would answer, “Yeah, show me how to make my helmet fit,” and then would stand there smugly, arms crossed, while letting other riders discover to their satisfaction that the helmet is on the only way it’s going to go on.

Boy, I’ll bet that such a person—hypothetical though he may be—wishes you could get helmets that are custom molded to your skull.

So I’m sure glad that I have, as I already mentioned, a perfectly typical, symmetrical, smooth, non-lumpy skull.

5. Color
Here’s a nice, practical tip: get a dark-colored helmet only if you like the idea of your helmet doubling as a passive solar heater. Otherwise, go for a light color.

And don’t, for the love of all that’s good in the world, get a helmet with an outrageous pattern. It’s like wearing a loud tie. You may think it gives you a devil-may-care swagger, but it really just makes you look like a dope.

You know what a good color for a helmet is? White.

6. You Know, I’d Buy Locally if I Could
I have, in the past three weeks, gone to five different local bike shops. Not a single one of them had a Giro Atmos. Or a Giro Pneumo. They did, however, have lots of helmets with bright colors that scream, “I ride my bike between two and three times per year, and this one was on clearance!”

If you’re a bike shop employee, please answer this simple set of questions:

  1. Do you currently have any medium-to-high-end helmets in stock?
  2. Why not?
  3. Do you really think that if I’m shopping for a high-end helmet, I don’t need it ‘til next week, which is when you’d get it if you special order it?

So—even though I want to support my locally-owned bike shop, I’m looking online.

7. What Helmets are Really Good For
I’ve whacked my helmet into trees, rocks, dirt, and (once) a pedal, so I’ve been convinced of their life-saving value multiple times. Many more times than that, though, I’ve been grateful to my helmet for doing something much more mundane: taking a branch for me.

I really don’t remember how many times—more than 100, I’m certain—I’ve been riding along when I suddenly see a branch right at eye level. I duck my head and immediately hear and feel a solid *thwack* of the branch hitting the shell of my helmet. It’s the sound of disaster averted.

I love that sound.

It may be, in fact, the second best sound in the world.

PS: The first-best sound, in case you were wondering, is the sound of an airborne fist-sized rock bouncing harmlessly against your downtube, instead of hitting you on the shinbone.


  1. Comment by Teamfubar | 11.16.2006 | 8:13 pm


    Did you take a page from my “How to Buy Bicycle Helmets: What Bell and Giro don’t want you to know?” guide book? I can never, ever, find a high end helmet at any bike shop, except in small. Who needs a size small? If your head is that little, you probably don’t have much brain in there to protect anyhow, and even if you do, your skull is inordinately thick, so wearing a helmet is redundant. Also, white is my helmet color of choice. (It really disturbs my wife for some reason.) I truly deserve the title of “Fat Cyclist” and am quite hirsute to boot (I was the inspiration for the “Messin’ with Sasquatch” commercials). I don’t need passive solar in any form or fashion, so I choose white. Last, but not least, have you, ahem, your hypothetical friend, tried a Bell helmet? I have found that people with a more “oval” head (looking down from the top, oval from front to back, not side to side as that would be more like Stewie from Family Guy) do better with a Bell helmet. People with a more round head do better with a Giro.

  2. Comment by JET(not a nickname) | 11.16.2006 | 9:11 pm

    I choose to wear a black helmet. Just too spite you FC. Just kidding. It is because I am able to keep up incredibly blazing speed throughout my ride that the copius amount of air rushing through my vents at high velocity cools me straight to the core. Still kidding. I just can’t get myself to wear white. Come to think about it, my current helmet is more of a grayer-black scheme. Anyhow, I agree with the greatest sounds bit, although being exclusively on the road I haven’t experienced too many fist size rocks hurtling towards me, but I have realized a branch was sticking out at the very last minute and thankfully the branch bounced harmlessly off of my helmet. I have only now just realized that I have nothing of any worth to contribute to this topic so I’ll just stop now.

  3. Comment by BIg Mike In Oz | 11.16.2006 | 10:45 pm

    I’d have to say that I have 2 different greatest on-bike sounds.

    Number 2 is the sound of a magpie striking plastic instead of flesh.

    Number 1 is a redneck cursing after his half full beer can flys wide of its target (me) because said redneck proves he is no Einstein by miscalculating the relative velocities.

    A helmet is a grand accessory in both cases. With the magpie it’s because it’s needed, and it’s also insurance for when Cletus gets lucky.

  4. Comment by theLurker | 11.16.2006 | 11:48 pm

    Well, not being an off-road type I’ve never had a use for a helmet in (runs out of fingers, takes off socks , 15, 16…) 40 years of city and country riding so I’ll continue to trundle around wearing my trusty woolly tea-cosy which keeps my bonce warm in the winter _and_ fends of the mind control rays a treat.

  5. Comment by Diego Noronha | 11.17.2006 | 1:03 am

    The Giro Atmos is a beautiful helmet. It’s rather sexy in white or black.
    My own is in Discovery colours (birthday present from my father).

    I’ve never experienced a rock hitting my helmet…yet, but I have experienced branches, actually multiple branches hitting the helmet. It’s a beautiful sound except when just as you think there’s no more branches one whips out of nowhere and cuts your right cheek. Oh so much fun.

    I cannot wait until the Giro Ionos is on the market…now there’s a sexy helmet:)

  6. Comment by sportcrazy.net | 11.17.2006 | 1:15 am

    I’m in exactly the same position, my trusty (yellow!) Met helmet is dying of old age. It smells bad even though I washed the annoying little velcro attached pads and lost one of them in the washing machine.

    Let us know what you end up picking.

  7. Comment by sportcrazy.net | 11.17.2006 | 1:25 am

    Sorry to spam your comments fatty, but I just saw this:

    Bell Sports Sweep R Racing Helmet – 2006 Model Titanium/Yellow Medium #114816

    Sufficiently yellow!

  8. Comment by Born4Lycra | 11.17.2006 | 2:45 am

    Well at Mike Turtur Cycles Main North Road Prospect South Oz they have a full range of sizes and quality helmets. Very impressive range I must say from which I chose my new Silver (nearly white) Met helmet. It is illegal to ride a bike in Oz without a helmet which probably explains the ready availability of helmets in our shops.
    I too am a Helmet Vigilante and have received abuse from all ages accordingly. Having said that I feel totally justified in my actions because recently I was at an accident scene where a rider with no helmet had made contact with the W-Beam guardfence head first. The damage to his skull was horrific with hardly any other mark on his body. The Abulance crew on arrival referred to it as a Brain Evident Injury and that was that he was gone. So putting on my Vigilante wooly tea cosy Lurker I too have never actually had the need for a helmet but I saw someone that did and I will never ride without one again. I sure hope you were joking.

  9. Comment by TheMekon | 11.17.2006 | 3:18 am

    The problem with helmets is the medium size ones look great but don’t *quite* fit on my head. So they bring out ‘large’, and it balances on my head just like a matress on a bottle of wine. Its an SUV parked on top of a compact. An elephant standing on a beachball… you get the picture. All the same, I’ve landed head-first before and it took the bullet for me. Way to go big guy.

  10. Comment by FliesOnly | 11.17.2006 | 6:34 am

    I was once in a race when a rider, a couple positions up, touched wheels with the guy in front of him. He went down…hard…and the dude immediately in front of me tried desperately to miss him…but to no avail..and ran right over the kids head. I was next in line, and I could hear this kids helmet crunching as it was being crushed while being run over by this guy. So now there I was, leaning my bike over as far as I could trying to get around the poor kid who was still sliding and rolling on the concrete. (I should mention that this was taking place during a bunch sprint for the finish line, so we were all riding hard and fast). Anyway, just as am going around this kid, I look down and his head is right beside my front wheel, and he’s actually sliding towards the wheel. I miss him with that, but as I go by, my pedal comes around and hits him on the head. As I continue pedaling, this actually forces my back tire off the ground. I come back down and drop my chain, but manage to stay upright and cross the finish line. The kid, however, is out cold. He eventually “comes to” and begins to wale in pain. They load him up in an ambulance and take him away. He lost A LOT of skin and I believe be broke his clavicle (don’t they always?), but he escaped serious injury only because of that helmet. I will never ride without one. (I can still hear that sound has his head was being run over and I can still “see” my pedal bottoming out on his head…man it was ugly).

  11. Comment by Tim D | 11.17.2006 | 7:41 am

    A few years ago when the kids were much younger, I was taking Jamie to school. As is the want of young kids, he was weaving in and out of all the driveways we passed. Eventually, the inevitable happened and he crashed into a gatepost. He had a big gash in the side of his head and narrowly missed a worse injury from a rusty hinge he nearly hit. He wasn’t wearing a helmet. Would he have been better off if he had been? Probably, but we were just walking to school.


  12. Comment by Boz | 11.17.2006 | 7:41 am

    Bell Impact (L) fits my melon perfectly. Nice price, too. Looks great in silver (the helmet, not me. Lipstcik on a pig is still a pig.), too. Ski Hut in Duluth has a great selection of helmets from Giro, Bell, and Specialized. Stop and see Lucky, he’ll fit you right.

    Nice ad copy, eh ?

  13. Comment by Brett Taylor | 11.17.2006 | 8:09 am

    I would agree that if you have a LONG thin head (say, like me) that Bell helmets always fit better than Giros. I’ve had 3 Giros (of 6 or 7 helmets) and only one of them fit really well. The Atmos and Pneumo do not fit my head at all. The Bell Sweep and Ghisallo though fit my head perfectly. Give ‘em a try Fatty!

    You know what helmets are really good for (besides saving your life, or at least your life as a non-vegetable person)? Stopping hail. I was commuting more than once in Boulder when the afternoon thunderstorm turned to hail. It was nice to know that every other part of me was being pummeled by hail that my head was not getting smooshed. Of course, this was quite a few years ago and there were fewer vents back then. I wonder how much protection a new high end helmet would provide in the hail now?

  14. Comment by Rick S. | 11.17.2006 | 8:26 am


    Did you try Canyon Bicylce in Draper? They tend to carry a ton of high end helmets. Oh, and be sure to mention my name. I’m kind of a big deal around here. I wear a black helemt so it doesn’t make me look fat.

  15. Comment by MTB W | 11.17.2006 | 8:32 am

    You hit on a great idea. Helmet companies, listen up. Make a helmet with a light imbedded into it, perfectly balanced. It would be an instant hit. You could even have a red light in the back for road riding.

    I know the feeling as tree branches thonk the helmet. During a race, I was on the side of the dirt road, avoiding the crowd and potholes, where (stupidly) I was watching everything but what was in front of me. Nearly ran into a tree – ducked in time for the helmet to take the blows and save me from a nasty headache, although a tree branch stabbed in the arm (had to remove it as I continued).

  16. Comment by sans auto | 11.17.2006 | 9:00 am

    You don’t need a new helmet, you need two things. 1) a heavier bike to help you keep the rubber side down (and therefore your helmet off the ground or pedal) and 2) A higher VO2max so that you can keep your head up (rather than getting your tongue stuck in the spokes during increased effort) and see the branches before you run into something.
    Don’t get a specialized helmet, my “friends” stole the i and z stickers which was sort of embarassing for the life of the helmet.

  17. Comment by Ben | 11.17.2006 | 9:05 am

    Don’t you think all those branches whacking you in the helmet might have something to do with the crack?

    And black helmets rule! I have two, a pneumo for the road and an aero hemet that makes me look like darth vader/a colossal idiot for tts and tris.

  18. Comment by Paul | 11.17.2006 | 9:14 am

    Nobody has any place to complain about helmets until they’ve tried to find one that will fit a size 8 head.

    To the best of my knowledge, there are exactly two helmets on the U.S. market that will fit my head–the Giro Atlas II, and the Bell Kinghead. The first thing you will notice is that the names they give these things are absolutely ridiculous; it’s like having to ask where the “husky” section is at the clothes store! The second problem is that since each company only makes one model of xx-large helmet, they make it sort of “style-neutral”–it’s neither a road helmet or a mountain helmet, and there are no options for lightweight, extra-venting, etc.

    The only upside is that since they’re “low-featured,” they’re also dirt cheap. I couldn’t pay more than $40 for a helmet if I wanted to.

    My question is, what do pro riders with big noggins do? These helmets would be absolutely unacceptable for any serious roadie snob (too heavy, too hot, too ugly). Are there no pro (or even sponsored amatuer) riders out there with plus-size melons? Or do Bell and Giro secretly make one-offs of their high-end helmets in extra large sizes for their preferred customers?

  19. Comment by Al Maviva | 11.17.2006 | 9:16 am

    I went down in at the end of a crit over the summer after the hammer went down and we were jostling for position in before the bunch sprint. Went down isn’t really the right term – a guy in front / to the side of me went down, flying into my wheels. I think my front wheel might have locked up after the eejit hit it, I’m not sure. After seeing him slewing into me, my next memory is being upside down, going 35 or 40 MPH (I accelerated forward after he hit me, relative to the speed of the pack…) and noticing there were people riding nearby on both sides of me. I then blacked out and the next thing I remember is race officials were talking to me, and there was carnage, downed riders and busted bikes everywhere. The horror… the horror… According to bystanders I landed more or less perpendicular to the ground and bounced off my head before hitting the ground and skidding quite a ways on my back. My $30 helmet was cracked down the middle, but my head was fine. My @ss was hamburger and it took over a month for the bruising to go away completely… They thought I was dead after they saw me hit. But I was okay.

    So my new $75 helmet fits really nice and I wear it *all the time,* without fail. I’ve since heard everybody else’s story about going down hard in a race, and also everybody’s story (everybody has one) about a friend who went down at 5 MPH and hit a curb with their head (Big Mike has one too) and died. I compare those stories to my experience… All I can say is pay the money, get a nice one that fits, and wear it like it was your skin, even on coffee runs. It’s okay to die riding your bike, but you should be doing something interesting and epic like descending Tourmalet or trying to clear this enormous move. Dying because you were too stupid to drop $50 on a helmet and wear it is a pretty bad way to go.

    And the best sound in the world? “Well, you lost some skin, but you’re going to be fine. I don’t even think you have a concussion.”

  20. Comment by UltraRob | 11.17.2006 | 9:17 am

    Back when I first started racing, I tried out track racing. One night one of the guys at the front forgot to turn when we went into turn 1 after the sprint for double points in the middle of the points race. Now how do you forget to turn when you’re on the track? If he had been on the outside, it might not have been too bad but he wasn’t. Unfortunately I as blocked in right behind him and the guy to the outside of him.

    I dodged bikes and bodies until I thought I was in the clear. Just then another body slid in front of me so I threw the bike the other way. I collided with a bike and I was told I went 15 feet straight up into the air along with my bike and the other bike that had become meshed with it. The good news was I had a rental bike and they didn’t have anything requiring renters to pay for damages although they did by the next week.

    I had friction burns all over my back and my helmet was shattered into several pieces that were held together by the internal mesh. That was back in the day of lycra covers. The lycra had melted as I slid plus some of the helmet itself was melted. The hospital was a couple blocks away but it seemed miles since the EMTs had taped me to the backboard because they were sure I had neck or back injuries. They had the ER doctor standing at the door when I arrived and he picked up my helmet and said “you’re lucky to be here”. I was 19 and didn’t like wearing helmets but I’ve never complained about them since. Last year I got hit in the back of the head by a bottle thrown out of a redneck’s truck. I was lucky it hit my helmet instead of being a little lower. I still had a headache all day.

    I also feel the urge to say something to anybody I see riding without a helmet. In fact I made a comment to my wife this morning when we were driving and I saw 2 guys without helmets on. What really bothers me is kids riding without helmets or with them on but sitting on the back of the head were they’re useless if they fall forward. I don’t know why because when I was a kid I rode everywhere and did stunts and didn’t wear a helmet. I started wearing a helmet when I was 15 and started doing rides over 50 miles and my mom made me choose between riding with a helmet or not riding.

    I also agree that white is the best color for a helmet although mine has some red on it because that’s our club rides. That reminds me that I have a brand new Atmos in the basement that I’ve been meaning to put on eBay. My Pneumo was worn out and I got a deal on the Atmos but once I got it I decided it didn’t sit on my head right.

  21. Comment by bikemike | 11.17.2006 | 9:20 am

    At my shop here in Florida, i keep all sizes of Giro Atmos and Specialized Decibel helmets in stock. C’mon shops, what’s your head worth? We always sell high end helmets to road and dirt bikers. They’re cool (color doesn’t matter, they’re foam insulated, not going to overheat) they’re lightweight and (relatively) easy to fit.
    I do agree with light mounting. Let’s go Niterider, get on the stick and fix this.

  22. Comment by Lofgrans | 11.17.2006 | 9:47 am

    You are not the only school marmish one. See http://roberttaunyalofgran.blogspot.com/2006/08/wear-your-helmetyou-putz.html
    Also, I’ve sent you an email of where you can purchase an in-stock, in-town helmet in your size and preferred color scheme. The salesman happens to be quite attractive as well. If you like tall, blonde, skinny roadies as I do!

  23. Comment by c | 11.17.2006 | 10:01 am


    My Pneumo cracked in the same place last weekend while I was at Tamarancho. No crashes or drops and I am sad to say there is no way that I ride enough for it to have been worn out. Give Giro a call – they may be willing to replace your helmet – and then you’ll have an extra.

  24. Comment by Tayfuryagci | 11.17.2006 | 10:05 am

    I guess you may be alone in the vigilante thing. I don’t care if people don’t wear helmets or not. If anything happens, they’ll die. And they were most probably warned by their LBS. I sometimes take my helmet off and strap it to the rear-rack. It gets hot man.

    I too love the sound of branches hitting the helmet. I really haven’t encountered an airborne rock hitting the top-tupe. That’s crazy man!

    And after reading Rob’s comment, you can be sure I’ll be keeping my helmet on, always.

    Funny note, I always complain about how bike shops here don’t have the parts I want, they tend to have ALL kinds of VERY expensive helmets in stock. Weird.

  25. Comment by BotchedExperiment | 11.17.2006 | 11:19 am

    Fatty, did you sit on your helmet? Maybe you cracked it with your crack.

  26. Comment by Sophia | 11.17.2006 | 11:50 am

    I haven’t gone helma-nazi on anyone yet, but I understand the urge, especially when it comes to kids. I saw a father and his kid biking down a steep, narrow canyon road with no bike lane and a lot of cars and neither one was wearing a helmet. It’s one thing for adults to inanely risk their lives, but to not protect their children is just crazy. Perhaps I should have turned around, chased them down and given them a blistering lecture on safety. I’m sure they would have thanked me.

  27. Comment by Caloi-Rider | 11.17.2006 | 12:32 pm

    Al Maviva- do you remember trying to convince me to race crits this past summer?
    I think I’ll be sticking with time trials.

  28. Comment by SYJ | 11.17.2006 | 1:48 pm

    Fatty, go to the following URL:


    That helmet/light thing is a seriously good idea.


  29. Comment by Genghis Khan | 11.17.2006 | 2:13 pm

    Check this first, though: http://www.helmets.org/patents.htm

  30. Comment by bradley | 11.17.2006 | 2:30 pm

    Like a lot of you, I cringe when I see a parent riding with kids and no helmets. In some ways, it’s worse when the kid has a helmet and the parent/adult doesn’t. As Tayfuryagci points out, this can be good for the gene pool, but condoms might work better.

    To show how old I am, my first helmet was one of those kinda hard plastic pro-tec helmets that look like today’s skateboard/skiing helmets, only worse. It earned me the nickname “helmet head,” a precursor to helmet or hat hair, since I had hair then. Maybe for the likes of Fatty’s friend, along with a helmet/light combo, someone can develop a “foam” helmet along the lines of foam ski-boot liners from the 80’s. Get a generic frame, inject foam while frame is on head, wala, custom fit helmet. I better patent it.

    I’ll spare the smacked helmet stories, only to say my worst (I just lied, didn’t I?) was when a garbage truck pulled in front of me. As I smashed into the side, the left side of my helmet hit the side of the truck. After flying across two lanes of the street, the right side struck the curb, the edge of the curb. Rather than being dead or a drooling idiot in a wheel chair, I’m just your run-of-the-mill idiot, and for that I have my helmet to thank (that and the fact that I always wear it; feel naked without it).

  31. Comment by spin echo | 11.17.2006 | 2:43 pm

    agree with all those above about wearing helmets
    bicycle with rider sans helmet = potential “donor”cycle.
    A statement that is even more true when it comes to motorcycles.

  32. Comment by Al Maviva | 11.17.2006 | 3:15 pm

    Al Maviva- do you remember trying to convince me to race crits this past summer?

    Um, no I don’t.

    Just kidding. Road races are actually probably a lot safer than crits. Three’s a certain amount of contact in crits sometimes…

  33. Comment by DP Cowboy | 11.17.2006 | 4:07 pm

    I make myself wear a helmet, too. I don’t like them much, but you are pretty close to right when you pick the Giro Atmos. I tried and used a bunch of them and found that one the lightest and most comfortable.
    Little known helmet fact — Pros in Europe (and everywhere else, becuase everyone else tries to copy pros in Europe) all use small helmets, or even Xsmall, and then have the helmet reps carve out the foam with Dremel tools, sculpting the smallish helmets to their skulls. Weird, huh…I guess it’s a weight weenie thing.
    Every once in a while, I see a real bike racer wearing a baseball hat and sunglasses, when training. I have seen videos of this as well. They think it looks cool. I tried it, and it is not nearly as cool as no helmet at all, which was how all of us old guys used to ride ‘way back when’. I felt pretty stupid, too…as the cars do not go slower or more cautiously around you just because you aren’t wearing a helmet. Leather hair-net helmets were what we used to use for racing, and the patent leather Danish Racing Helmets were the bomb then. I still have one of them, but the Doberman ate the other one.

  34. Comment by Rokrider | 11.17.2006 | 6:52 pm

    I agree the sound of a branch thwacking off your helmet is a great sound. But not quite as good as the sound of the branch thwacking off the helmet of the guy behind you. The one that didn’t duck quite as low as you did.

  35. Comment by Stan | 11.18.2006 | 8:01 pm

    I rinse my helmet out with the hose when I get home every day. Keeps the stink down a lot.

  36. Comment by Rocky | 11.19.2006 | 3:38 pm

    It think black makes me look sexier. My wife agrees. Ew. Plus on those pirate rides at night, the beacon-like glimmer of the white helmet (had one and it was too conspicuous) gives me away. Yes, I sweat like a buffalo, and yes, I did sweat a whole m&m once. But hey, black is sexy. I can take the heat.

  37. Comment by mark | 11.20.2006 | 11:29 am

    Paul, try the Bell Influx. I have a size 7.5 melon, and there’s room in my size L influx for my noggin plus a hat on cold rides/headband when it’s hot. It won mtn bike action’s $70 helmet shootout a while back. I’ve been very pleased. If you want to use it on the road, just snap off the visor.

    Fatty, I agree that you ought to tell your hypothetical friend to give Bell helmets a try. I can’t get Gyros to fit my head, but the Bells are great.

  38. Comment by axel | 11.20.2006 | 1:59 pm

    what in the world is a ‘high end helmet’?
    for those who crash more and harder?
    let me sell you some high end imported dental floss, too. It is a little expensive but well worth the price, you’ll see.

  39. Comment by TimK | 11.20.2006 | 3:26 pm

    I recently had to replace my ‘05 Bell Ghisallo with an ‘06 Ghisallo, because I decided to wear it as I was working up courage to ride my recently purchased Sector Nine pinboard down a long fast hill. Yes, I was wearing a bicycling helmet while riding a longboard – does that make me uncool? Or does riding a skateboard at age 35 just make me an idiot, period? I love the mountain bike, the road bike and now the longboard – and I won’t stop riding any of them until I absolutely have to.
    Anyway, my song in praise of wearing helmets: I wiped out when the board began the classic high-speed wobble. I flopped and rolled on the rough pavement like a fish thrown from a car window. The flopping stopped when the back of my helmet hit the road and cracked. It’s a powerful experience to look at the damage to a helmet and think, “wow, that could have been my head.” The road rash eventually healed, but took long enough to convince me that I should probably wear elbow and knee pads as well.
    Bell fits my oddly shaped noggin, but I can’t do solid white because I always felt like it emphasized the size. What I really want is a velocity sensing headband that will detect a fall and inflate to the size of one of the rainbow wigs.

  40. Comment by Jeremy | 11.20.2006 | 6:30 pm

    Sucks for you to have such a problem. My workplace is right in between The Giro headquarters, AND the Plantronics Headquarters.

  41. Comment by Ernest | 12.6.2006 | 7:51 pm

    Hello Fatty,

    One thought came to mind about your helmet cracking. No it’s not due to wear and tear, hardly the case but I think it’s mainly it’s your large swelling ego. Your head has slowly gotten bigger over the years of posting your blog entries.
    Yeah helmet use is low on the coolness factor scale as you might have seen in almost every picture of pro cyclists training on the road where 85-90% of them do not wear one (mainly European cyclists). They only wear one for races because it’s mandatory.

  42. Comment by kju | 12.31.2006 | 10:57 pm

    I’ve been known to tell a kid “you really should do up your helmet” ’cause their parents probably told them to wear their helmet but didn’t specify (or check) that it should be clipped on. I was well chuffed when I was obeyed too – I didn’t stop to watch him do it up, but turned off to go up a hill and looked back about 20 secs later to see him finish carefully clipping it up.

    I’ve also stopped a kid to tell him gently that he had his helmet on backwards – the straps that drop down and wrap down towards your ears were almost blinding the kid.

    The ones that really annoy me are the ones that have their helmet on, but they haven’t done the strap up properly and it sits on the back of their head like a yarmulke – or worse, it slides down on one side, so one ear is almost covered by helmet while the other is completely exposed up to an inch above the ear.

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  44. Comment by Megamortar | 05.20.2008 | 5:39 am

    Generally I did’t think much of this blurb. I have a nice bike shop and we have multiple high-end helmets in S,M & L in stock — from more than one brand. Our favorite is definitely the S-works helmet from Specialized. Also, white is boring is sucks.

  45. Comment by Megamortar | 05.20.2008 | 5:40 am

    Generally I did’t think much of this blurb. I have a nice bike shop and we have multiple high-end helmets in S,M & L in stock — from more than one brand. Our favorite is definitely the S-works helmet from Specialized. Also, white is boring and sucks.

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