Helmet Care

How long is too long with the same helmet?  If it’s my helmet, it was 6 months ago.  The bike helmet is the most important piece of equipment a cyclist has. Caring for you helmet is simple, but very important.  Here are some basics:

  • Wash your helmet if you sweat.  Most newer cyclists don’t realize what a bacteria festival the bicycle helmet is.  A little dish soap, warm soapy water, air dry thoroughly.
  • If you crash, replace your helmet immediately.  It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t crack, you weren’t injured, the helmet looks brand new.  A crash= immediate replacement.

Last summer I took a friend mountain biking.  She’s new to the sport.  She fell and crashed, and her helmet saved her from a serious head injury.  She was traveling less than 2 mph, it was a freak fall, and it cracked her helmet in two and she escaped with a minor concussion and some scrapes and bruises. So, it goes without saying , but I’ll say it anyway.  WEAR YOUR HELMET.

It’s the washing that throws some newer riders off.  I’m pretty good about washing my helmet regularly, but there comes a day when it just  can’t help things.  My helmet should have been replaced a while ago, but money’s been tight and I’ve put it off.  I’ll come clean.  My helmet stinks.  It’s gross, and tonight I finally ordered a new helmet.  I’m sticking with my traditional red/black and sometimes white color scheme.  Old habits die hard.

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 10.17.54 PM

I’m looking forward to when it arrives–I’m tired of the funky smell after a hot ride.  Yes, that gross, even with frequent washing.  Normally I would have just paid the 50 bucks for it sooner–but I was watching my finances and it seemed like a sacrifice that I could live with.  Once it arrives, the old helmet will be retired like so many others before.



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About Karen

Mid-life female amateur athlete focused on cyclocross, mountain biking, and road cycling.

8 responses to “Helmet Care”

  1. Linnea Maxwell says :

    What’s this word “if” before “you sweat” mean? I don’t know anyone who doesn’t sweat! And I sweat in any weather.

    Someone at a bike shop said helmets should be replaced every three years (assuming you ride regularly) even if you don’t crash. Do you agree? Mine’s way older, and I wonder if it needs to be replaced or if she saw me lusting after the $200 helmet.

  2. Karen says :

    I know, I sweat like crazy, even in winter when I ride. I’ve had this particular helmet at least 3 years–it’s time! I used to have 2 helmets (road and mountain) but now I have consolidated to just the road helmet, and it gets a LOT of use. I’d say 3 yrs is a fair statement. Shouldn’t we use that rule for bikes too?

  3. Samantha says :

    I always wonder myself how long is too long? I have 3 years and 7,000+ miles on my helmet. Many of those miles in the 100 degree heat of summer. Sounds like I need to do some shopping maybe. Great post! I’ve thought of writing a ranty post full of pictures of parents in my neighborhood riding bikes without helmets with their children riding with them. Totally irks me.

    • Karen says :

      Write it!! I grew up helmetless–but I’m a convert. Funny–I recently returned to skiing and everyone wears helmets skiing now too. I have to buy one for my son, and I know I should too but feel resistant. Same principle as cycling though–I shouldn’t be so pigheaded.

    • Linnea Maxwell says :

      I just added it up…seven years and 11,000 miles on my helmet. No wonder it’s faded.

      I like the idea of taking pic of parents without them.

  4. Laura Rice says :

    I hadn’t even thought about washing my helmet, everything else get’s cleaned thoroughly, why not that?

    Also, I have the Furio, it’s great and the most comfortable helmet I’ve had to date.

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