How to choose and fit a bicycle helmet

logoStudies show that wearing a bicycle helmet significantly reduces the risk of head and brain injuries as well as facial trauma in riders of all ages.

That might seem like an odd introduction to a fashion post, but a bike helmet is something that I wear quite a lot at this time of year and something that I feel strongly about. I first started wearing one when my children were young because the best way to convince them to wear theirs was by example. In our province, helmets are only mandatory for riders under the age of 18, but now I wouldn’t consider riding without one.

The first time I went riding this spring, I noticed that the shell on my old helmet had become quite discoloured. Closer inspection showed that it was also cracked in several places. It was obviously time for a new one which didn’t break my heart because I’d always thought it was rather ugly!

I started by asking my daughter-in-law for advice. After all, Robin thinks nothing of riding her bike 50 or 60 km a couple of times a week and has ridden in several Gran Fondos. She suggested that it ought to be comfortable and lightweight and that it should be snug without feeling tight. I also wanted it to look nice. Riding is excellent exercise and if I like how I look, I’m liable to do it more often!

I chose a Bell True Fit helmet which is designed to fit properly every time with just one simple adjustment. In addition to looking better than my old one, it’s also a much better fit.

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How to properly fit a bicycle helmet:

  • Ensure that the rim of the helmet is 1 to 2 finger widths above the eyebrows. It needs to be worn low in front to protect the forehead.
  • The side straps should form a “V” beneath the earlobe.
  • The chin strap should always be buckled and pulled tight. It should rest under the chin against the throat. When you open your mouth, the strap should feel snug and the helmet should hug your head.
  • Standing in front of a mirror, grasp the helmet with both hands and twist back and forth. If it fits properly, the skin on the forehead should move with it. Now try rolling it backward and forward. If it slides forward and blocks your vision or backward far enough to expose your forehead, it is too loose.

And now, before we leave the topic of bicycling, I’d love it if you would check out the latest post on Robin’s blog, Sky to Sea, where she writes about a very special cycling challenge that she is going to participate in during the month of June. She plans to ride 500 km to raise funds to fight childhood cancer, the disease that took our daughter at the age of 5 and robbed Robin of a sister-in-law that she never had the chance to know. Perhaps you’d even consider sponsoring her.

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