Of course, cyclists in tight-fitting lycra and spandex look terribly silly. You know this. We know this. It’s not like the joke is on us. We understand. If we see our reflection, we all tend to think, “What a dork” or some other unflattering thought.
Fortunately for us, we have valid reasons for wearing the clothing we do. And the reasons are good enough to overcome our self-consciousness concerning the sight we are as we ride down the street.
For what it’s worth, while the internet may give me a better deal on the exact same item, I usually don’t buy my clothing online. I prefer to buy my clothing from a local bike shop (LBS) where I can try it on before I buy, to ensure it fits properly.
In this series, I’m discussing each of the items in a cyclist’s closet from the top down, why we use these items, and how to use these items. Last up, the helmet.
When wearing your helmet, it’s important that it be adjusted properly to fit you. (Parents: don’t let your child ride with one that is obviously too big or too small.) The front edge of the helmet should run across the forehead, parallel with the ground. Too many riders tilt the helmet backwards (out of their eyes?) where it provides little to no protection at all for falls toward the front. Adjust the straps while you’re at it, so the helmet fits snugly but comfortably and doesn’t move easily.
Even if you think you can handle yourself very well on a bike (“I won’t fall”), you never know. I remember several times my helmet unexpectedly protected me. Once, I was riding when my chain unexpectedly snapped. I went tumbling over my handlebars and distinctly remember rolling over the top of my head. While I broke my elbow, my head was fine. Another time, my crank snapped and I remember that time sliding across the pavement on my side, and–you guessed it–my helmet. My helmet cracked, but I was fine (other than some minor bruises). And, at other times, I have had minor altercations with cars–again, unexpectedly. The theme in all this? Unexpected. You never know when you’ll be really thankful for a helmet. So, wear one at all times!
Parents: in some cities, it is the law for children to wear helmets when on their bikes. Even if it isn’t, again, you never know when something could happen (God forbid!). Get your young ones used to the idea of always wearing a helmet while they are young. As they grow older, it will just be second-nature to them.