Cycling is a great way to stay active and enjoy the outdoors, but it's important to take safety seriously. Wearing a helmet is a crucial step in reducing the risk of head injuries in case of an accident. However, it's not enough to just put on any old helmet – it needs to fit properly to offer the best protection. Don't worry, fitting a helmet isn't complicated but it can take a few minutes. Let’s go through the steps so you can make sure you get it right.
First things first, make yourself comfortable and take a deep breath. Now, let's get started! And, by the way, your helmet, when properly fitted, should be comfortable enough that you barely notice it's there. Comfort is our destination here.
Grab a soft tape measure and wrap it around the widest part of your head, just above your eyebrows and ears. This will give you your head circumference measurement, which you can use to find the correct helmet size. Check the helmet manufacturer's size chart to determine the size you need.
Now it's time to adjust the straps. Open the buckle and put the helmet on your head. Adjust the chin strap so that it's snug but not too tight – you should be able to fit one or two fingers between the strap and your chin. You want the straps to be secure enough to hold your helmet in place but still have enough room to not impact your breathing at all. If you have skinnier or small fingers (like me with a ring finger of just size 5.5), use two fingers. Otherwise, for many adults, room for one finger will be a good starting point. Next, adjust the side straps so that they form a "Y" shape and meet just below your ears. Remember, and this bears repeating, you want the straps to be snug but not too tight.
Some helmets have a fit system at the back of the helmet that allows you to adjust the fit even further. Look for a dial or mechanism at the back of the helmet and adjust it until the helmet is snug but not too tight. You should be able to move your head around without the helmet moving. For a more comprehensive fit, some helmets also have an adjustment for the inside “harness”. Lazer brand helmets are a good example of this: you can slide the fit system at the back of the helmet up and down to sit comfortably on the back of your head.
Now, the moment of truth! Check that the helmet sits level on your head and covers your forehead. The front of the helmet should be about two finger widths above your eyebrows. You should be able to see the edge of the helmet when you look up. If it's too high or too low, adjust the straps and fit system until it's in the right position.
We love to see a family out enjoying a bike ride together, especially when all of them are properly equipped in a well-fitting helmet. However, while we give this family 100% for effort, we can't give them 100% for execution. Mom's helmet is tilted too far back, exposing too much of her forehead. Correct strap adjustments can fix this,though. And it could be argued that the daughter's helmet might be too small fo her as it sits too high on her head even though it appears to be sitting at the correct angle. The boy's helmet might be a bit too big for him but, with growing kids, we do see this a lot. Some slightly too-large fits can be fixed by adjusting the straps so we hope that has been done in this case.
Give your head a good shake from side to side and up and down. The helmet shouldn't move around or slide down your forehead. If it does, adjust the straps and fit system until it's secure. Also, the helmet should be able to stay on your head without the chin straps undone as you tilt your head forward to about a 20- to 40-degree angle. Make sure you do have the chin straps securely fastened when you ride, though!
And that's it! By following these steps, you'll have a comfortable and well-fitted helmet that will keep you safe on your rides. Remember, safety first, but don't forget to have fun!
Before we go, here is a quick reminder of the key fit rules including the “Two finger rule”:
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