Tag Archives: kids’ bike helmets

Beyond Laws and rules, we should work to employ some common courtesy toward each other while riding our bikes on the road and trail.

Tips and tricks for riding on roads more efficiently and more comfortably

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

Riding on Roads

Let’s get this out of the way first – Be Safe! With spring biking season soon here you will be riding on roads with pedestrians, other riders and cars. With more road traffic each year it is possible to have an accident even if you do everything correctly. So protect yourself in the easiest and most comfortable way possible, wear a helmet and review the following tips, wear a helmet that fits.

riding on road

Helmets are safe and fun

Comfort when riding on roads

Some riders experience upper body pain while riding on roads. some of the most frequent pain is associated with the upper body, and due to position and fatigue. The position most responsible for this pain is the shrugging of shoulders while riding. That shrug compresses all the muscles in your neck, shoulders and back and fatigues them needlessly. Fatigue comes into play starting at the hands. A firm grip on your bars is a great way to keep control of your bike, but if you hold on too tightly you can prematurely fatigue your hands, arms and shoulders.

riding on roads

Shrugged shoulders fatigues all the muscles in your neck, and shoulders

Rather than shrugging your shoulders and squeezing the bars into dust, try to relax your back (see picture) and shoulders and hold the bars firmly. By relaxing your upper body, you will preserve strength throughout your ride, making for mile after mile of pain free riding.

Vision and Route

Riding on roads

Cars, pedestrians, other riders, potholes, grates, as well as traffic lights and signs need your attention while riding on roads. The best way to keep yourself safe and in control is to direct your attention outside of your immediate area. Try to focus thirty or forty feet down the road rather than right in front of you. If you need to change direction or stop quickly, thirty feet is about the minimum distance you need to react. As you ride more, you will get comfortable with what your reaction time is. Additionally, knowing your route in advance leaves your mind free to concentrate on the things going on in front of you.

Control

Front brake

Your front brake is your most powerful tool in stopping. As a new rider we get taught that the best way to stop is to use both brakes evenly and that if we use too much front brake we are prone to crash “over the bars”. While going “over the bars” is a real concern it can be combated with a little practice. Not only can going “over the bars” be combated, but you will learn to stop your bike more effectively in the case of emergency. As you begin to stop, your weight shifts forward and adds more pressure to the front wheel. This pressure can do two things. If you brace properly with your arms, that pressure to the front wheel increases traction and stops the bike. If you do not support yourself moving forward, the increased pressure to the front wheel turns into a fulcrum. Practice stopping by finding a piece of unoccupied road you are comfortable with. Get up to speed and begin applying only the front brake (see picture below). Be cognizant about bracing yourself with your arms while stopping. Do this a little at a time, each successive stop should be a bit more power. Stop once you are applying enough power to stop, while the rear wheel is slightly lifting.

riding on roads stopping

As you brake harder, more pressure is applied to the front wheel

Rear Brake

The rear brake is far more susceptible to skidding than the front. While skidding a tire, you are not in complete control or reducing speed effectively. The bright side, is that a rear wheel skid is far more controllable than a front wheel skid. In wet, loose, or slippery conditions, a rear brake can be safer to use. The rear brake is also great to control your speed by small amounts.

Both Brakes

The ideal time to use both brakes is during turning. As you turn and brake you are sharing traction between turning and stopping the bike. It is very important to try and control your speed before turning rather than in the turn.

Cadence

Your chances of lifting 1000 pounds once is pretty slim, but you might be able to lift 100 pounds ten times and can more than likely lift 20 pounds 50 times. Riding a bike is the same way. If you try to shove the bike up a hill in your hardest gear the chances of making it are slim. Shifting your bicycle into an easier gear and pedaling faster (higher cadence) will propel you up almost any hill. Higher cadence riding is just one way to be more efficient on your bicycle.

Draft

Riding on roads drafting

Riders above are both working too hard. The riders below, are drafting well.

Another way to be more efficient is to use the work of others to your advantage. At lower speeds most of your effort goes to moving your own mass, but as your speed increases, more and more of your effort goes to moving the air around you. In fact, air resistance grows exponentially at a rate of about 7 mph. That said, the amount of effort required to move your bike at 14 mph is twice as much as at 7 mph. Also as you approach 21 mph that effort is four times more than going 7 mph. A way to save energy is to ride behind another rider who has already moved the air (see above). By drafting, you are riding in the slipstream of another rider. To draft, try to ride at the same speed ahead of you, and keep your front wheel within two feet of their rear wheel.

Be Prepared

Be sure to ride with the materials needed to get home. Train yourself to fix a flat and carry enough food and water to keep your energy up throughout the ride. Consider carrying packable rain gear with you as well. If you liked this info, take a look at our Mountain biking hacks also.

When you were a kid, wearing a bicycle helmet was probably something you tried not to do. They were heavy, hot, and never fit well.

The bicycle helmet: what it does and how to find the right one for you

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking,com

When you were a kid, wearing a bicycle helmet was probably something you tried not to do. They were heavy, hot, and never fit well. Now you’re older, wearing a helmet isn’t just a logical safety choice, but it is also very comfortable. Read on to learn how helmets protect you better, have become lighter, fit better, and are more comfortable than ever before.

Ensuring a Bicycle Helmet’s Impact Protection

bicycle helmet impact testing

Any bicycle helmet sold in the US must pass the same 4 CPSC tests to be sold legally (3 impact 1 roll off). Each of the 4 tests are completed in cold, warm, hot and wet conditions. The varying conditions ensure that the helmet will still do its job regardless of the environment.

New Focus on Rotational Forces

bicycle helmet Mips impact testing

Some manufacturers are also incorporating testing that exceeds what is legally required. These helmets use what is called MIPS (Multi-directional impact protection system), which helps the helmet protect against both impact and rotational forces. The theory goes that while experiencing a sudden bicycle dismount, you could be experiencing rotational forces. Any sudden stop to these rotational forces (impact with the ground) could stop your body but allow momentum to continue rotating your brain and cause damage. MIPS helmets isolate the outer shell of a helmet from the inner portion. This isolation allows the outer shell to absorb rotational forces during impact. Most helmet brands now offer products with MIPS and without.

The Right Fit

Happy tron helmet

Comfort

The biggest concern with purchasing a new bicycle helmet is comfort. You’re more likely to wear one if it’s comfortable, so be sure and test out different brands to find the right one. It should feel snug around your head without any lateral movement, and should not have any individual points of pressure.

Retention

Different helmets will have different ways of being retained on your head. Some low-cost models will use a one size fits all retention device (it works a lot like the dial sizing of a hard hat). The more expensive models usually have multiple sizes and retention devices that can be adjusted for diameter and height. The size specific helmets are usually more comfortable. In all cases, the helmets pads and retention device do a great job absorbing and managing perspiration, keeping you more comfortable.

Ventilation

Ventilation of helmets vary greatly. A more complicated production method is required to get larger vents and better ventilation (cooler) while maintaining impact protection. The more ventilated a bicycle helmet is, the more expensive it becomes. With each passing year, helmet manufacturers are bringing the cost of high ventilation down, so If you are replacing a 4 year old helmet, chances are the new one will allow more airflow.

A helmet’s weight is also important for overall comfort. The most comfortable models will often time be the lightest. What you give up with that light weight is durability. It is not uncommon for commuters and casual riders to pick heavier helmets with hard plastic covers over lightweight mostly foam versions. The added weight of a hard plastic shell helps protect the helmet from impact. It’s important to understand that that shell doesn’t make the helmet any safer, but it will be more durable when knocking around the trunk of your car, or hanging off your backpack while in transit.

Adjusting Your Helmet

Once you have picked the best fitting model take a few minutes to dial in the fit.

Retention

Helmet retention device

Retention in action!

Start by placing the helmet on your head so it is level. Adjust the retention mechanism (in the back) so the helmet is snug on your head (you should be able to lightly shake your head without the helmet falling off or shifting). If the retention mechanism sits too low for your head (or hair) to be comfortable, look inside the helmet to adjust the retention up if possible.

Straps

Having the toggles below the ears, buckle tight, and still being able to speak comfortably means that your helmet is adjusted properly

In tandem with the retention device, the straps hold your helmet in place. Start by adjusting the side toggles on the straps so they sit just below your earlobes. Once the toggles are in place, tighten the buckle enough so it can’t be pulled past your chin when closed. Be sure to not make the straps so tight that they choke you when you open your mouth.

Lifespan

All bicycle helmets will have a production date on the inside. Pay attention to that date, because most manufacturers recommend you replace the helmet every 3 to 5 years after production. With time, the padding and foam inside a helmet can degrade, leaving it unable to absorb impacts adequately.

Follow the above tips and you’ll find the kind of head protection you need. You’ll be on your way to a safer, more enjoyable ride.

Keeping you safe along life's road this Safety Safari can be a great family experience at the Como Zoo

Have Fun on a Minnesota Bicycle Safety Safari for Kids at Como Zoo

Stay safe along life’s road with the Safety Safari! This event can be a great family experience with fun games, hands-on learning and a bike helmet giveaway. Plan to come with the kid’s on Tuesday, June 13. Safety Safari goes from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Como Zoo in St. Paul, MN. The event is sponsored by the AAA Auto Club of Minnesota in addition to their Auto Club Traffic Safety Foundation, Safe Kids Minnesota, and the Minnesota Safety Council.

Keeping you safe along life's road this Safety Safari will teach you how to properly fit your bike helmet.

This Safety Safari event will teach you how to properly fit your bike helmet.

For more than a century, AAA has developed and provided traffic safety education programs. These programs protect and save the lives of drivers, passengers, bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages.

Some of the stops on the Kids Safety Safari:

Test Your Street Smarts – Do you know all the steps to get across the street safely?

Splish Splash! Don’t be wishy washy about water safety!

Home Safety Challenge – Can you find what’s safe — and what’s not?

The Seat Belt Challenge – Find out if you’re ready for seat belts only!

Keep Your Signals Straight – Especially when you’re on your bike!

Plus, children who visit all the Summer Safety Safari stations can receive a new bike helmet from AAA (while supplies last).

Safe Kids Minnesota is led by Minnesota Safety Council, which provides dedicated and caring staff, operation support and other resources to assist in achieving our common goal: keeping your kids safe. Sponsored by AAA Auto Club this event is based on the needs of the community. This coalition implements evidence-based programs, such as car-seat checkups, safety workshops and sports clinics, that help parents and caregivers prevent childhood injuries.

Bicycle helmets provide excellent protection even with different standards

 by Lisa Brooke

You sit up in a state of confusion looking around for your bicycle and wonder what happened and how it occurred so quickly. You’re asking the questions: Am I alright? Is my bike OK? Can I still ride? What about the upcoming race? Will I be OK to work? That is if your crash didn’t knock you beyond a state of being able to worry about these things.

This photo shows wearing a bike helmet plays an important role in preventing minor to severe head injuries and should be worn when on a bicycle. photo courtesy of: https://www.healthunit.com

This photo shows wearing a Bicycle helmet plays an important roll in preventing minor to severe head injuries and should be worn when on a bicycle. photo courtesy of: https://www.healthunit.com/uploads/img/helmet_safety.jpgcom

We’ve nearly all had this experience, whether at five years old or 55. Wearing a bicycle helmet plays an important role in preventing minor to severe head injuries and should be worn with certainty. A comforting thought in the scenario above, you know that you had on the correct helmet and that it was made to protect you from the fall that you just took. There are many different safety standards and types of helmets as you will see below. Choosing the correct helmet, for the riding of your choice, will not only help you in the event of a fall, but also in the comfort and functionality when it’s waiting to do its’ job while on your head.

Bicycle Safety Standards

There are many safety standards around the world which vary in their rigorousness as well as where they apply. Many helmet companies obtain the standards for which their intended market resides so if you are looking for a specific helmet made elsewhere, it may not meet the safety standards of your country. That aside, your head doesn’t care which safety standards your helmet meets, just that it does its’ job when you do have a fall. The beginning of finding the right helmet can be the safety standards a helmet meets, but more importantly and also easier to identify is what type of helmet you should wear.

A Bicycle helmet will most likely meet one of the following four standards. These vary in applicability and testing procedures, but they are the four most known and widely used standards.

CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission Standard) – This is the newer form of the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standard in the United States which is one of the most widely used given its vast market. It’s a fairly rigorous test that all bicycling helmets in the US must pass.

– Australian Standard (which is combined with New Zealand, AS/NZS) – One of the most rigorous standards. More so than that of the CPSC Standard

-CEN European Standard – This covers all European member states and is a bit less rigorous with the allotment of less foam and lighter helmets of which often do not pass the CPSC tests.

-Snell Foundation – The Snell Standard is the most rigorous having its roots in motorcycle helmets.

These are not all of the standards by any means and just because your helmet doesn’t meet one of these doesn’t mean it’s a poor helmet. Other standards can be just as vigorous but do not have the volume of sales to be well known. One particular example is the Canadian Standard which can be just as good if not better in some regards to the CPSC Standard.

Bicycle Helmet Types

Helmet standards can be tricky and not always equal. The best way to ensure that your helmet is going to protect you is not only making sure it has one of the standards, but also that it is intended for what you are using it for. Bike riding these days comes in all shapes and sizes from commuting to work, to road racing, to mountain biking, summer and winter. All of these disciplines have different dangers so require different body armor, bike wear, and helmets. A bicycle helmet plays an important role, regardless of discipline, and there are a number of steps to help protect yourself.

Road Cycling

Road cycle helmets are designed for impacts at higher speeds while also still being lightweight and breathable. Many of these, particularly in the past few years, have a trend toward aerodynamics. These helmets still do the job of protecting your head, but do so with less wind resistance. If you were to wear protective bike helmets like POC offered, you would be able to customize the fit you wanted and get the best combination of speed and protection.

Mountain Biking

Mountain bike helmets have some of the same needs of breath ability and lightweight but also have the need for extra protection, particularly around the back of the head.   Mountain bike helmets typically are built to achieve a higher protection standard due to the potential for direct head impacts, such as with trees. If you are mountain biking, you should have a helmet that is specific to it.

Downhill Mountain Biking

A form of mountain biking is downhill, only this is where riders are transported to the top of a trail and they only ride downhill, often at high speeds and risk. This type of riding requires a helmet that offers protection like that of mountain biking, but to a higher degree, as well as protection to the face. These helmets are more similar to that of motorcycle helmets. However, they are lighter weight and offer more breath ability.

Enduro Mountain Biking

“Enduro” is where you ride uphill to the tops of trails where you then ride a timed segment of downhill. This type of riding requires the protection of a downhill helmet as well as the lightness and breath ability of a regular mountain bike helmet. These helmets do a good job of not only protecting your head to a very high degree, but also give you the comfort you need to enjoy all aspects of the ride.

BMX – BMX helmets are similar to that of downhill and motorcycle helmets in that they offer full face protection. These also are built to withstand impacts to a greater degree due to the speeds and types of crashes.

City/Urban – Not all riding falls under the categories mentioned above. A vast majority of the riding done is by everyday commuters. Having a helmet that protects you in the event of a fall or an impact with a vehicle is crucial. These helmets have more protection over a greater area of the head, most notably the back. These often have less breath ability and are a bit heavier but have a harder outer-shell due to the potential of higher impacts.

Bicycle helmets come in many different varieties and styles along with having different safety standards that they abide to. Having a helmet that protects your head in the event of a fall in your particular style of riding is the most crucial. Checking the safety standards your new helmet will meet is the first step, but it’s not the most important. As long as it meets one of the viable standards, having a helmet specific to your type of riding is critical. Those helmets are designed for the specific impacts associated with that style of riding. In the future when you are sitting up from a fall, wondering what happened, you’ll be less worried knowing you had on the proper body armor for your style of riding. Is there a specific type of cycle helmet that you prefer? Tell us about it!

About the Author

Lisa Brooke is a sports person and wants to explore each and every hidden hamlet in the world. She is an alumni of the University of London and has done her graduation in English literature. Her hobbies include indulging outdoor activities, participating in boot camps and creative writing. You can follow her on G+.