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A bike helmet is the most important cycling gear you’ll ever own. Like bike gloves, knee pads, and headlights, helmets are for keeping you safe.
We aren’t saying that you’ll fall from your bike. But the terrains out there are simply unpredictable. You may get home safely after a long cycling session. Or you may fall and injure parts of your body, including your head.
While such an incident as hitting your head may be rare, it does happen anyway. And so the only best way to ensure that you stay safe is to make sure you wear a bike helmet before you ride your bike. According to this academic study, cycling helmets can reduce the risk of head injuries by 65% and wounds by 70%.
Seeing how significant this headgear is, how do you choose and wear a pair that fits straight out of the box? We look at that in the following section.
Getting the Right Fit
1. Size of the helmet
Helmets are good. But you won’t get the most out of one if it’s not the right size. A size that fits well straight out of the box has two benefits:
- It provides the comfort you need to have it on your head for an extended period
- It takes head safety to the next level, so you never have to worry about giving in to an accident in case it happens
But getting a helmet that fits right off the bat isn’t as easy. You may have to try a number before you get an option that fits. You don’t need a tight gizmo. And you need to make sure that it isn’t loose either. In other words, if the helmet you try moves or feels tightly snug, it’s not the best pick for you.
2. Trying Out the Helmet
Once you’ve identified the right size of the helmet, ensure you position it level on your head, such that it’s literally sitting on it. Place two fingers above your eyebrow and bring the helmet down your forehead. Make sure it’s on the same level with your first finger. This boosts the positioning of the helmet such that it is not way up your head or almost obstructing your vision.
3. Adjust the Side Straps
The side-straps emanate from the helmet down your ears. Place them in a V-shape by adjusting the slider, while moving the straps towards the chin.
4. Fine-tune the Buckles
How you get this done depends on the type of helmet you have. Some helmets have straps that you pull to a length that fits your head. Others have straps that you can adjust manually.
If it is proving to be quite tedious, you can first take off the helmet, make the modifications then put it on again.
5. Adjust the Chin Strap
Once you’ve fine-tuned the buckles for the side-straps, buckle them under your chin. To ensure the trap isn’t too loose, measure its tightness by passing two fingers between the chin and the strap. This prevents your helmet from falling off your head while you race down a road or maneuver rough terrain.
6. Testing the Fit
The final test before going out for a ride is to measure the “feel” of your helmet on your head. Carry out a simple test by attempting to do a huge yawn. Instead of the helmet moving backward, it should pull down on your head. If it doesn’t, then you would have to tighten the chinstrap a bit more.
Another thing you can try is to check if the helmet stands more than two fingers above your eyebrows. If it does, move the slider a bit downwards. If the helmet impedes your vision by coming way into your eyes’ level, move the slider towards the ear to tighten the strap. Adjust the chinstrap, and then try again.
Fitting and Wearing for Kids
Fitting and wearing the right helmets for kids takes a little bit more effort and attention. You do not want to find yourself getting a teenage-sized helmet for your child. You wish to ensure that your child’s head is fully protected from any injury that they might encounter as they learn to cycle. So it’s important to get their size right.
Measuring the Kid’s Head
First, use a tailoring tape to measure your child’s head. This should not be around the kid’s face, but at the forehead above the eyebrows. The measurement you get can be used to choose the right helmet size based on a measurement table provided by the manufacturer.
If you do not have a measuring tape, or you’re not in a position to do so, you can use the table below to find a helmet that fits.
Does the Helmet Fit Well?
There are helmets that make use of padding to boost comfort and grip on the head of the cyclist. Others, in addition to the padding, feature rear fit dials, which you can use to tighten or loosen the helmet until you get a snug fit.
For use among children, helmets with the fit dial are way better than those that use only padding since they have a tighter grip.
A helmet qualifies as nicely fit if any attempt by the child to shake their head does not affect its position. But how would you know if the helmet is perhaps too big for them? If you are able to see a huge part of the forehead, or if it tilts too much backward, it might need more tightening on the side straps, or it’s probably too large to fit the head.
Seek Your Child’s Opinion
While adults can easily express discomfort with a helmet they’ve chosen, kids may not be smart enough to do so.
In fact, they might not willingly disclose how they feel, perhaps because they are already excited, or are unaware of the safety needs addressed by helmets.
In such a scenario, it is important to ask the child how they feel in order to make an informed decision. Sometimes as a guardian you might be too empathic with the tightness of the helmet, and it can cause lots of discomfort to the child. If this happens, just loosen the straps.