Smart cyclist = Strong cyclist

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Too often do I see cyclists without helmets, wearing headphones, or riding without lights in the evening.  These seem like no-brainers to me but maybe that is because I am a very cautious cyclist.  Or I thought I was.  I wear hi-vis and indicate at every junction.  I refuse to ride down the middle of traffic and would rather walk my bike through a deathly junction that ride it.  It turns out I was missing a critical point about cyclist safety.

Red arrow is pointing to the damage from Oldland treating my helmet as a chew toy.
My helmet needed replacing.

When we first adopted Oldland, we had a bit of a teething period where he would chew stuff or eat the garbage while we were out. My helmet was one of those things.  I didn't think much of it as only a bit of the foam was missing and I continued to wear it.

After a 40 mile cycle ride this weekend, James and I stopped at a local market in Redbridge.  They had 2 stalls dedicated to bikes (one to sell used bikes, the other for repairs).  My gears don't shift very well but the queue was too long to have it sorted for free.  I decided to stop at BikeTrax in Wanstead to see if they could help me and also to purchase a bell (mine fell off at the first London Duathlon).

The staff at Bike Trax were really nice and explained my gear shifting problems to me.  They also had bells, so I picked one up.  As I was paying for the bell, Noah (who is also a wheelsmith) noticed my helmet and said he couldn't let me leave the shop in good conscience as my helmet was not safe.  Here is a video of him explaining why: 

video

After we shot the video, Noah had a go at my helmet.  Not bad for a skinny cyclist!



The other points to consider when purchasing a helmet:
-The fit: make sure it fits your head properly, sitting on your forehead, not back
-It meets safety standards, such as 16 CFR 1203 in the USABSEN1078 in the UK.  Noah explained the helmet I purchased met Australian standards, which is better than UK.
-Helmets need to be replaced every 2-3 years nowadays.  It used to be every 5 (which is how long I had my helmet).  I imagine this is due to the different materials being used to make them lighter nowadays.
-Don't leave in high temperatures, such as storing in your car or near a heat source.  If you see any damage to the plastic shell (which is also affected by UV light), you need to replace your helmet.

Big thanks to BikeTrax for great service and having the things I needed in stock.  There were several color options for my helmet but I went with red and black to match my bike.  I am sure I will be back to BikeTrax again soon as I like supporting local businesses and the staff were very friendly and helpful.  Thanks to Noah for being a good sport and letting me film him too!


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