21 June, 2018

New York Times online shop, The Strategist, recently reached out to me to ask a few questions around helmets. With the multi types of bike commuters in mind I was able to make some recommendations of my top favorite commuter helmets for preventing helmet head. Feel free to read on The Strategist for the 9 Best Bike Helmets For Commuters, According to Cycling Experts. Read on for answers to The Strategists' questions about what helmets I'm currently lusting after this summer.

While The Strategist has shared some great recommendations around commuter helmets with some help of yours truly and other cyclists, I thought I would share with you my top recommendations for commuter helmets while hot summer weather is on all of our minds. While we all want to be safe on our rides, we also don't want to arrive to work or our social events looking like we just cycled the Tour de France.

Commuters don't need super aerodynamic helmets that make them extra speedy, but rather something lightweight and airy enough so they don't get to work with a sweaty head. Any favorites for that?
If you’re someone with thick hair who heats up quickly, it is very hard to find a stylish commuter helmet. I am a strong believer in safety before style and rather not have my head overheat. In hotter temperatures, I will usually opt for for a lightweight ventilated road cycling helmet such as Specialized Airnet Helmet because of the ventilation technology. While it is aerodynamic, it is a bit more stylish than an average road cycling helmet. Your health even on the bike should be something to consider too.While a commuter may not need an aerodynamic helmet to keep dry and fresh, opting for a stylish lightweight and ventilated helmet can help keep your head cool. Helmets such as Thousand Heritage helmet and Bern’s Brighton helmet are equipped to keep you fresh. Both are designed with ThinShell technology and ventilation vents to keep you sweat free and cool while you keep up with traffic.
Are there any helmets you think are best for preventing "helmet head"/messy hair?
Helmet hair and heating can be a major issue for female commuters. Some helmets brands I highly recommend to battle helmet head are, Sawako helmets and Bobbin’s helmets. Amongst the many commuter helmets, these brands keep the stylish commuters in mind - designed with breathability, lightweight tech, and fitted without compromising safety.

While helmet hair may be inevitable on hotter days, I always recommend trying a new “do” under your helmet. You can tie back hair or secure it further in a braid. I would also recommend carrying a comb or brush with you to revive your style when you reach your destination.

I've seen some folding helmets on the market recently, which would be great for commuters to just throw in their bag post-ride. Do you have any thoughts on those or recommendations for specific ones?
Folding helmets are convenient if you are also commuting by public transit, if you are worried about it being stolen, and just for the sake of being hands free of it. First generations of folding helmets were not attractive but Closca Design has come out with a new design, Fuga, that is stylish, safe, and collapsible. It’s smaller than most folding helmets, making it convenient to store in a bag. It also passed safety certification in the US, Europe, and Canada, so it’s about as safe as any other helmet on the market.

Do all helmets have to meet specific safety requirements? I just want to make sure that all the "stylish" helmets are still tested for safety. 
Most helmets on the market must be tested and certified for consumer use, even stylish helmets. There are standards by the mandatory Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) for product approval for safety that will allow a brand to sell their product on the market. And there are higher safety standards that will earn a CE, Snell B-90, and EN1078 safety certification with a glowing recommendation by the CPSC. 

You can be sure that any helmet in a shop will at least claim to meet standards but some helmets will meet higher safety standards. You can usually look for the CE, EN 1078, or Snell B-90 sticker seal inside the helmet to ensure that it meets higher safety standards, however, if you are still skeptical, approved helmets usually have a thicker shell and do not use snaps because they are prone to becoming loose on popping open upon impact. 

Also, I'd definitely be interested in any brands/models you generally recommend to commuters or casual riders.
There are many brands that are reaching the commuter demographic and that are definitely stylish. Currently I’ve been obsessing over Thousand Bike Helmets for their retro look, functionality, and also sustainability practices. I have tested this helmet and it’s by far my favorite. I’ve also been lusting after Sawako’s Glitter Helmet’s, really stylish and ventilating. It’s definitely and eye catcher!

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