Strap in well for a safe ride

Allison wears her helmet fitted correctlyNext time you turn on the television to check how the Tour de France is going, take a look at the way professional riders wear their helmets. It might not be something you usually notice, but it’s worth the exercise. Then try yours on and see if it sits the same way.

If it’s to do its job properly, your helmet must fit properly. Notice how the pro riders wear their helmets square, with the rim on their forehead just above their eyebrows. If your helmet is tilted towards the back of your head it will not protect you properly. It should be firm enough that you can’t move it easily forwards, backwards or sideways. Some helmets come with extra foam to help make them fit more snugly.

Check the straps. They always sit just under their ears. There is no slack in the straps at the back or under their chins. If yours is a bit sloppy start loosening or tightening the back straps, then work the front straps into the right position. Sometimes it’s easier to put your helmet on and have someone else fiddle with the straps to get them right. When you finish the buckle should sit firmly under your chin.

Many people like to wear caps, sweatbands, bandanas, ear warmers or skull caps under their helmets depending on the season. If you generally wear something under your helmet, wear it while you’re adjusting the fit. Check that it doesn’t cause your helmet to slide readily around on your head.

It’s a good idea to check your helmet adjustment occasionally as the straps tend to slip with general use over time. They’re not a set-and-forget item – nor are they designed to hang your helmet on!

Helmets are designed to take an impact, but not abuse. Your helmet will last a lot longer if you look after it. Store it carefully between rides. Keep it clean – and out of sunlight. Sounds odd for something that does its work outdoors, but it will extend its life. If you do have an accident or your helmet suffers a hard drop, replace it, even if you can’t see any damage. They are only designed for one impact.

When you’re shopping for a new helmet remember that helmets and heads both come in different sizes and shapes. Try on a few different helmets to see which is most comfortable.

Now you’re set to take on your own tour. See you on the road soon, God willing.

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