Checkout Lane: Use your head when buying a bike helmet
If you're digging your bicycle out of the garage and taking it for the season's first spin, don't forget your helmet. Joe Fucile, owner of Bicycle Clinic in South Weymouth, recommends wearing a helmet whenever you're on a bicycle. But the type of bicycle you're riding and the amount of time you spend on it will determine which helmet to buy.
"If you're riding once or twice a week or more, chances are greater that you're going to fall and that you're going to be riding faster than the typical person," Fucile said. "You're going to need better equipment."
An avid bicyclist could spend at least $100 on a helmet, he said. More-expensive helmets are lighter and better ventilated for increased comfort.
Infrequent bicyclists can use a less-expensive helmet, Fucile said. They typically range in price from $30 to $50.
John Wilkie, owner of Cohasset Cycle Sports, said that after deciding on the kind of helmet, the next consideration is fit. Wilkie said bicyclists should never spend less than $30 on a helmet, and the higher the cost, the more comfortable the fit.
"It's like a pair of shoes," he said. "You put on a $20 pair of shoes, then you put on an $80 pair of shoes. You can feel the difference."
A helmet should stay put while you move your head around, Wilkie said.
When you're looking forward, the helmet should be level, covering both the front and back of the head but leaving the ears exposed.
"If it's hanging off your head, it's not going to do any good when it's
necessary," he said.
Wilkie recommends shopping for a helmet at a bicycle or specialty shop so an experienced salesperson can recommend the right fit.
Wilkie said to look for a sticker on the inside of the helmet that indicates it has been certified by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Fucile, who has sold bicycles and accessories for almost 30 years, said the Bell and Giro brand helmets that he stocks are certified by the CPSC. For racing-bike riders, Fucile recommends the Giro Pneumo helmet, which costs about $110. Mountain bike riders should try the Bell Aquila or Giro Transit, he said. Prices for both start at about $30.
"Some people look for the cheapest thing they can find, which drives me crazy," he said. "I tell them to buy a $10 helmet if they have a $10 head."
Alysa Landry may be reached at email@example.com.