Talking about Bike Helmets
Every Friday afternoon on Mastodon, we have an online #BikeNite discussion about any topic that the Mastodon community chooses to talk about. As a bike instructor, I see a lot of different people and helmets, and some combinations don't work well together. My kid often can't wear their hair in a ponytail because of the shape of their helmet. Another person I know has trouble fitting his helmet over his hair, and I've often seen similar situations come up with students, both adults and children, in our bike classes.
I wanted to summarize some findings for future use and recommendation:
So what did we learn about bike helmets?
A lot of people have had helmet/hair struggles, so it was a good discussion. There are two main things that you can do if you have a hard time fitting a bike helmet over your hair. You can either alter your hair somehow (temporarily or semi-permanently) or you can find a type of helmet that works for your hair.
Tips for rearranging your hair to fit in a bike helmet
Ponytails or braids
For long hair: pulling a ponytail lower or wearing low pigtails or double french braids. One can also loosen the helmet a bit to still fit with a little more hair volume. But if your ponytail is too low it can become an unfortunate "neck tail".
Wear something underneath your helmet
Some people wear a bandana, gaiter, or cap over their hair to prevent hair from getting too messed up.
Pick a hairstyle based on riding with a helmet
Rita told us that her requirement for their hair stylist is that their hair must work under a helmet!
Or find other bike helmets that might work
There are a few helmets with ponytail cutouts:
This "Hub Cap" bike helmet has a hole cut out for ponytails.
Nutcase helmets (and some other brands) may have a ponytail hole, where you can feed your ponytail through the back of the helmet. This works even better for a single braid.
Helmets for other styles of hair:
There's also discussion about whether a helmet is even necessary when riding a bike
Some people argue that helmets are only required because people on bikes usually have to share the road with car drivers. They correctly note that in other countries, such as the Netherlands or Denmark, where cycling is a normal, safe, and more protected way to travel, few people wear helmets. Unless they're riding for sport. I personally choose to wear a helmet because it's an "insurance policy" in case I fall or hit my head on something. In many locations in the USA, children are required to wear helmets.