May 14, 2008
I never wore a helmet when biking as a kid. I just grabbed the blue mountain bike from Canadian Tire my parents bought me and went riding over to my friend's house or out for slurpees. Or to school and back. Never gave it a second thought.
Helmets are optional for adults here in Edmonton, but compulsory for kids. I think it sets a good example to wear one. And in the volatile Edmonton traffic safety is a real concern so a helmet is a good thing to have on. Since there aren't dedicated bike lanes (properly marked out, et all) the cars in my city aren't really that accommodating to cyclists. They are either too cautious which makes them unpredictable and confusing or absolutely oblivious so they end up running through stop signs and taking right turns without a shoulder check. Regardless, the result is cars hitting cyclists or at the very least, close calls where the motor vehicle operator ends up honking like mad and hurling an unending stream of obscenities at the cyclist.
Yes, I understand many helmets are not fashion compatible. That is why I didn't ride a bike for so long. Don refused to ride with me if I didn't have one, and I refused to wear one that would insult all my aesthetic sensibilities. Now I am a total convert, after finding the right one for me! My helmet is totally outfit friendly and I love that it keeps my hair in place, instead of my hair and earrings flying all over the place and looking ghetto once I reach my destination. Now I have a smooth and shiny coif... if I put the helmet on and take it off carefully.
If you don't squish your hair randomly into a helmet, your hair won't looked randomly squished sans helmet. This all depends on the hair and the helmet (or course, everybody is different), but I am confident in stating that I think everybody's hair can look decent on the other end of a ride.
Remember to remove the helmet immediately after you arrive at your destination. Letting your potentially sweaty hair sit in your helmet will be asking for some serious helmet head.
When buying a helmet, one has to approach the experience like buying a pair of good jeans. You have to try them on. Try on many different styles and colours and make sure you have the right size and fit (ask somebody who is an authority on these things at the store). Also, consider a skateboard style helmet for a different silhouette. I like the rounded crash helmet look as opposed to the super speed pointy sport helmet. On the other hand, good friends of mine have these wickedly patterned ones that look fantastic, and those are sporty. It's all about your own style and finding the proper bike accessory to compliment it.
My red and black ones are from Jorg & Olif. They ship.