When you're in the bicycle business like we are, you hear lots of rationalizations for not wearing helmets. But, we've been riding and helping people get into bicycling for a long time and we've experienced, seen and heard all kinds of amazing saves by cycling helmets, so we always promote their use.
Often the hazard is unpredictable like a falling branch on a windy day. Or a squirrel darting in front of you causing you to lose control. You just never know what might happen. When you're sitting atop a bicycle, it's a long way to fall. Therefore, it's only smart to have and wear a helmet on every ride, no matter how short the ride. After all, your brain is worth protecting.
Besides the safety aspects, helmets provide shade from the sun, cooling airflow and they make you look like a cyclist — and a safe one. Their nice, bright finishes and elegant shapes help you be seen out on the road and trail too.
Helmets are Better than Ever
Modern women's cycling helmets are light, airy, super comfortable and more importantly, safer. Many feature MIPS technology, a protective system designed to minimize susceptibility to concussion and head trauma. MIPS (Multi-Directional, Impact Protection System) is an additional layer inside the helmet that allows the helmet to rotate independently, redirecting impact energy. When you visit Gus' Bike Shop try different helmets on to find the one that best suits your needs for comfort, style and safety.
Equally important, helmets have become more stylish and fashionable. Gone are the days when you wore a slightly advanced styrofoam cooler on your head. For all of these reasons, most cyclists today wouldn't dream of pedaling down the road or trail without a protective helmet.
Models and Differences
Once you've found the brand of helmet that fits your head, you should choose which model you like. Entry-level models often have a universal fit. As you look at the models with more features you get into full-on retention systems, like harnesses that cradle your head and are fully adjustable. Often they're lighter with better ventilation.
All helmets have straps and buckles that hold them in place. These are adjusted to hold the helmet square on your head and low over the forehead for protection. There are stiffer and softer straps and different types of adjustments and buckles that you might prefer so it's worth looking at these details.
You might also appreciate having a visor on your helmet to shade your face and deflect things if you ride off road. Some visors are removable and/or adjustable to position them just right.
If you wear cycling eyewear or plan to purchase some, it's a good idea to try it on with your helmet to see and feel how it fits. Usually there's no problem, but sometimes the temples or helmet straps might need to be adjusted for clearance.
Helmets are designed for different types of cycling as well, from road riding to mountain biking, to commuting, to even dirt jumping and downhilling. In general this means that they offer features that make sense for that type of riding. So, a commuting model might include a visor or reflective details, a racing model might have a more aero shape, bolder graphics and be ultra light, and a jumper's helmet would have more head coverage. There's no reason you can't use whatever helmet you like for any type of riding you do, though. So don't feel locked into any one type.
- Hair and fit. Most manufacturers make their women's helmets a little smaller in diameter for women's slightly smaller heads. However, don't forget to take into accout the amount of hair you have. Women with long, thick hair need larger helmets. And if you go from long to very short hair, you may find that the helmet is now too roomy.
- Hair styles. If you wear a low ponytail, it should sit comfortably below the helmet's retention system. Some women with short to medium hair find pigtails more comfortable. Many women with hair too short for a ponytail find that wearing a do-rag, bandanna or sweatband is a good way to keep their hair back beneath a helmet.
- Very smalls may need a youth helmet. Despite the typical smaller diameters of women's helmets, some women with very small heads will best fit a youth helmet. Fortunately, the quality, safety and styling on youth helmets is just as effective as on adult models.
- Lots of styles. Women's helmets today have moved beyond pink to more dynamic and fun colors and graphics that match bikes, jerseys and more. Keep in mind that sometimes the finish is the only thing that differentiates a woman's helmet from the men's version.