The Versatility of the Bike Helmet
Whenever conversations about bike helmets begin, controversy is seldom far behind. Today I’d like to take an opportunity to redirect the conventional helmet discussion and instead explore its versatility.
This bike safety accessory weighs little and is designed to be placed on a person’s head. No special storage space required, a head is all one needs. Fasten the straps under the chin and you and your helmet are good to go.
Occasionally, when I go out on the bike it’s a nonstop trip, but more frequently my rides are interrupted. I drop into the grocery store, pop by the dry cleaners, or stop somewhere for lunch.
My helmet, once removed from my head, becomes a perfectly serviceable helmet purse to store compact items. My wallet, phone, windbreaker, and even a water bottle fit snugly inside the area where my head once was.
This space can also be used for small grocery or bakery goods, such as cookies and other treats, if I don’t want to place personal items in it. It even has a built-in carrying strap. Who needs a bag when you have a helmet purse?
In this visual age, it’s important to be able to prop my bike up in order to take photos of it with my smartphone. These images remind people that I’m cool and that I ride a bike, which is also cool.
Unfortunately, only one of my bikes has a proper kickstand. No matter. My helmet doubles as a kickstand, too.
I simply place the pedal over my helmet and lean the bike gently back onto my helmet kickstand. Moments later, art is made.
A helmet lock can be handy when I want to quickly go in and out of an establishment, and when I can still see my bike from within my destination.
Say I am on a ride, left my lock at home, and suddenly realize that I must have an espresso. It’s an emergency. I hurriedly park my bike, and use my helmet straps to “lock” the front wheel to the frame.
Now this helmet lock is certainly not foolproof for most thieves. I mean, if it is, then that thief has chosen the wrong line of work. But the helmet lock serves as a momentary deterrant, which is generally sufficient if the stop is brief and, as I said, provided you can see your steed.
The cameras on our phones have come a long way in recent years, and most now have a self-timer setting. While sometimes it’s nice to let the bike steal the show in a photo, on other occasions it’s preferable for my bike and me to share the spotlight. I don’t want my bikes to become too vain.
If I set my phone directly on the ground, most of what the camera captures is a bunch of pavement. If I place it up higher, the phone is in danger. Wind or uneven surfaces can prompt the phone to flip forward and CRASH! Disaster for your phone.
Enter the helmet tripod. The helmet raises the phone those critical few inches, yet not so high that the phone is in peril if it takes a spill, and it even tilts the lens slightly so that I can set up a nice portrait of my bike and me.
My current Giro helmet tripod has a flat top where my phone rests smoothly. I set the phone timer and sprint into my photo, looking content with my bike and enthralled by my surroundings while I try to catch my breath.
Who needs someone to take their picture? Not me. Seriously, stop asking to take my picture. I have my helmet tripod. Perfect for the Instagram and other important social media outlets where I curate the notion that I am always riding bikes and enveloped in beauty.
Some also argue that a bike helmet can protect your noggin, but I’m not here to agree or to dispute that assertion. I’ll just say that this lightweight bike safety accessory serves so many practical functions that it’s difficult to imagine traveling without it.