On Helmets

While I envy, in some ways, the kind of cool–physically cool, that is–chic of people who cycle without helmets, I just can’t do it. I know that the data on helmet safety is conflicting; I know the entire population of Copenhagen sneers at the very idea. But I would no more cycle without my helmet than I would without my shoes. The end. Sadly, the average bicycle helmet is as aesthetically pleasing as roadside litter.

Mine looks a lot like this:
image courtesy of theicebunny, via flickr

The visor blends in a little better, but it is the same kind of expanse of blue plastic.

The problem is that more attractive helmets just look so hot. (Again, physically speaking.) Bern and Nutcase helmets are much prettier than the Tour de France special, but those ugly helmets are much more vented. Nobody wants a hot head. They’re also heavy. The best Catlike helmet (I mention them specifically, because they are “the best” but also insanely ugly) weighs something like 300 grams. A Bern helmet weight over 400. I’m not one to split weight hairs, but that’s a lot of additional neck strain when you’re in a traditional road-bike posture.

All I want is a non-ugly, breathable helmet, with a nice visor to keep the sun off my face. Alas, it seems to be too much to ask.

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