13 February 2014


Now normally, there is good, and bad, to most things we talk about on this little un-paved road, just off the information superhighway...
Today, however, it is only good.
There can really be no argument that helmets save lives.  I could link myriad articles next, espousing the virtues of wearing a helmet.  Sorry, not happening.
We all know they work.  We all know they lessen the severity of head injuries.  We all know they've saved our craniums, and very well-being, at some point in our cycling lives.
Is it your choice to wear a helmet?  Sure.  It's also your choice to have a head injury.

Why a serious post on a not-always-serious cycling page?  Well, times and tech are changing.  Cagers are growing increasing ambivalent to cyclists.  Rides are getting bigger and faster.  Skill levels on some of these rides are not commensurate.
There's no real need to begin wearing hockey equipment, but anything one can do to increase one's chances of continuing to draw breath is a good thing. 

Personally, a helmet is ALWAYS on my head when ass meets bicycle seat.  Same for my kids.  Sure, we all survived reckless childhoods without bike helmets, but that's little more than proof of the old adage that God protects fools and children.

In April of 2009, I augured into the ground head first.  Knocked out.  Grade 2+/3 concussion.  Serious cognitive issues for a solid week.  Confusion and a foggy head followed for about 6 weeks.  To this day, I still have bouts of confusion that did not occur before the head knock.  I'm also right at double digits for concussions, and the prospect of CTE, frankly, scares the shit out of me.
The Giro Atmos above gave it's life so I could have mine.  It took the hit.  So much energy was dissipated that there were two cracks in the very front of the helmet, above my eyes.  I did not hit the front of my head.

Stories such as mine abound.  Anything can happen.  Race crashes.  Crashes on group rides.  Dogs running under wheels in the neighborhood. 

Sure, a helmet is little more than a glorified beer cooler on your head.  I understand that.  And it used to be that the real differences between helmets amounted to little more than design, weight, and venting.
Well, times...they are a-changin'...
While the standard bicycle helmet still does an admirable job of protecting one's head/brain, there's a new Sheriff in town.  His name?  MIPS.
MIPS = Multi-directional Impact Protection System. 
Boiled down, MIPS protects in a better, more efficient manner, due to the ability of the helmet to react to oblique impacts.  Ostensibly, the MIPS system absorbs much of the rotation caused by an oblique impact.  This rotation of the brain inside the skull is what causes damage. 
There are a few manufacturers on board at this point.  While several are "bicycle-related" helmets, only a very few are suitable for road cycling.  Scott and POC are leading the way with MIPS cycling helmets, and Lazer has integrated MIPS into a kid's helmet. 
Hopefully, other manufacturers will include MIPS in their helmet line-ups. 
You listening Giro?  Not everyone wants an Air Attack. 
And I quite like the looks of the Scott Lin...

Much to POC's credit, their top of the line road helmet, the Octal, while it does NOT incorporate MIPS, it has been designed to protect the head better.  It provides more, and added, coverage to the parts of the head that studies have shown are the most vulnerable in crashes.  Namely, the temples/above the ear, and the back of the head.
Some say it looks a bit odd...
...but then again, what cycling helmet doesn't?
It's also more expensive than a "standard" helmet, but even @ $270US, it's cheaper than a hospital deductible, or extended-term care. 

Pssst...if anyone from Scott or POC is reading this, I'll be glad to test a helmet for you...

What it boils down to though, is use.  Wear your helmet.  Ride defensively in all situations on the road.  Ride like cars don't see you, because, well...they're not looking! 

Be safe out there people.  Head injuries are no joke.  You want to get home to your loved ones.
Please, read up on the MIPS design.  It's well worth the time!


Now, I'm gonna eat lunch, then go ride my CX bike in the snow...

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