Friday, September 2, 2016

Helmets and Mirrors

Bontrager Specter is my light and airy helmet.
After reading my last post about the dangers of cycling on the road and in the park, crash safety may have entered your mind.  How do I or any rider for that matter, keep safe beyond being cautious of all the obstacles and possible scenarios that could arise while pedaling along for the morning or evening ride.  I wonder about safety too.  A helmet and a mirror are nice additions that may make a ride safer.

The first thing a cyclist must do when riding on the street is to wear a helmet.  All helmets are good and will protect your head to some degree.  The differences are not in safety per se, but in comfort.  For instance some helmets are light and airy while others my be heavy and hot (do not allow for max airflow).  Wearing a helmet is a must when riding on roads although not a law for adults or children above twelve years old.  The speed of going down hills require a helmet as far as I'm concerned.  A small stone, twig, or pot hole could throw you off the bike.  Wearing an helmet may prevent a serious head injury, but you will still be hurt. Road rash is not prize. While I ride in the park, I do not always wear a helmet since I ride at slower speeds and feel comfortable with the odds of staying on the saddle rather than sliding across the gravel.  Moreover, if I am passing through the park as a brief respite from the road on a long ride, I will remove my helmet to cool off from the breeze as I ride from one side of the park to the other.  Not wearing an helmet in the words of Kramer, "Is quite refreshing."
Similar version on my Cannondale CAAD 8

The other item that enhances the safety of cycling is a mirror.  I recently purchased a bar end mirror so I could see cars and trucks approaching my bicycle from behind.  I used one for the first time today.  It was simple to install and gave me a broad view of the road behind me for quite some distance.  I still peaked over my shoulder or under my arm occasionally when I moved to the right, but now I had an increased certainty that the way was clear before I moved or turned.  The bar end mirror integrates cleanly with the drop bars on my bicycle and does not interfere with the bare tape.

So, buy a good helmet that provides high airflow to keep your head cool and is light.  Lighter is always more comfy.  Pick up a small mirror that integrates into your style of bike.  Safety first.  Be cool later.  The mirror provided surety that nothing crazy is approaching or that something crazy is approaching you and gives you time to consider a safe move to ride another day.

Til then, I will see you on the road.
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