Bike helmets unlock some deep-seated middle school discomfort around what is “cool.” For me, it’s enough to ruin the freeing experience of riding a bicycle in the first place. Suffice it to say: I hate helmets.
Like many, I signed up for a Citibike membership as a way to get around during the pandemic. You should, of course, always wear a helmet. But I reasoned that since there weren’t any cars on the road, I could get away without one. That reasoning kind of worked during the weeks of no traffic, but as the city started opening up so did my chance of a head injury. So, much like wearing a face mask, I was compelled to do the responsible thing and find one that I could deal with. I went to Google and typed in a few key search terms: “chic bike helmets” “bike helmet fashion” and “cool helmets.”
Many hours later, what I found is that no helmet is actually cool, chic, or fashionable. However, some are aesthetically better than others. I didn’t want an overly designed helmet, so that knocked out anything with an unusual shape, too much color, or a pattern. I found myself drawn towards darker solid colors (black, navy) and sleeker designs. They felt less offensive and more in line with my (all black) wardrobe.
What I also learned in my research rabbit hole is that if you are going to get a helmet, which, again, you should, it should have MIPS technology (a.k.a. Multi-directional Impact Protection System). MIPS helmets look the same on the outside, but are internally built on a “slip plane” and are designed to better protect your brain from impact. If you’re clunking around in a helmet it should be an effective one.
I eventually settled on a collapsible helmet from Overade that served my ultimate goal: it is there when I want it, the size of a grapefruit when I don’t, and inoffensive looking in-between. Below, 9 options for pleasing and safe helmets.
Overade Plixi fit foldable helmet