A few years ago before the days of children and family I went and lived with some friends for a while. Not long before I moved in they had welcomed a new addition to their family, a beautiful chocolate Labrador puppy called Milo. Now Milo wasn’t so sure about having someone else share the attention of his devoted parents and he frequently showed that. One day I went outside and Milo had managed to get hold of my helmet and had completely chewed through and destroyed it. I learnt a few things that day about not leaving my helmet lying around and the power of a dogs mind and jaw. I hope this helps you take better care for your bike helmet.
A goRide SERIES on getting to know Bike Gear – 3 Top Tips for Helmet Care
It is good to inspect your helmet regularly, making sure it is working one hundred percent, don’t wait till it is too late.
Tip 1. Inspect your helmet
Shell – Look for cracks or abrasions. Are there any cracked edges. Check for fading, UV exposure can make the shell brittle. Any compromise to the integrity of the shell will mean it may not hold together in an impact.
Liner – The foam. Press carefully over the shell of the helmet to see if there is any movement. Some helmets there will be no movement others a little movement, you are looking for any area that there is a variation in movement compared to the rest of the helmet. An area of greater movement indicates damage to the foam under the shell. Turn over the helmet and check the liner for cracks or compressed foam. If you suspect any area of compression check and measure the thickness of the foam at the same spot on the other side of the helmet.
Straps/buckles/clips and fasteners – check for wear and tear. Any loose stitching or fraying. Check buckles/clips and fasteners do they work and hold – buckle or fasten and then give them good forceful tugs and twists to check they don’t come apart. Think about the force they would be under during an impact or multiple impacts eg car and road. You want to mimic that force, you need to know that they will work to keep that helmet securely on your head in an impact.
Check to make sure your helmet has a compliance safety standard sticker see The Essential Guide to Helmets – Components and how they work, for more information
Key points: All foams immediately or eventually deteriorate under impact. This is why it is suggested you never buy a secondhand helmet and you replace your helmet following impact. An accidental drop of your helmet is unlikely to cause damage however it is a good idea to avoid dropping your helmet due to the potential damage. Hard to get the kids working with you on that one but giving them some information and understanding of why it is important, helps.
Tip 2. Storage of your helmet
Avoid hanging your helmet up by the straps. This will help avoid the position of the straps moving. This is particularly relevant in helmets that have a continuous single strap that feeds both the left and the right side (often the case in kids helmets). Store it in a secure place where it is not likely to fall if it is knocked; a shelf or a helmet bag. Over the handle bars is fraught with danger and damage.
Tip 3. Cleaning your helmet
Not an item that needs cleaning as regularly as your bike itself however helmets can start to store dirt and grit that may effect their performance especially the buckles and fasteners. So its a good idea to check now and then and add to your cleaning routine when required.
Thanks for reading. Used together our stories and resources support you to achieve and develop as a rider.
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