Brain Buckets: A Field Guide

Brain Buckets: A Field Guide
You don't have to be this guy. In fact, please don't be this guy. Can we admire the LEASE A BIKE logo though? Bike rentals FTW!

So you're interested in biking more, huh? First things first, you'll probably get yourself a bike. If you're like most people, the second thing you'll be looking for is a helmet. And, like most people, the helmet you unearth from your closet will inevitably be a styrofoam piece of shit from the 90's or 00's. Not worth trusting your precious marbles with that junk, nope no no. But that's why you're here! To learn three important factors in any good helmet:

  • MIPS
  • Fit
  • Price
  1. MIPS

MIPS is a technology available in many brands of helmets. It's essentially a sliding plastic membrane inside the helmet that mitigates the effect of rotational jerk during a crash.

When your head hits the road during a crash, the impact usually doesn't come straight at your skull. It's just like in any alien movie when a meteoroid streaks across the sky and impacts the earth at an angle (thus becoming an asteroid). For the engineers in the audience: the impact is rarely along a normal axis; there's usually a tangential component. You feel me?

That tangential component induces rotation, jerking your head around. That causes more injury to your brain. MIPS helps mitigate some of that jerk.

I recommend only wearing MIPS helmets. (If you buy any helmet from this page, The Bike Library gets a commission. Just FYI)

  1. Fit/Position

One of the Espresso Express regulars recently had a bad crash on her e-bike. Her helmet took the brunt of the frontal blow and she escaped with a couple black eyes and a swollen nose. Could have been much worse. Like – much worse.

So do us all a favor: make sure it fits, and buckle that thing. It also looks less silly that way. Helmets can be cool! Get a fun looking one and use it.

Q: If the bottom edge of the helmet's brim is above your hairline, will it protect your head in a frontal collision?

A: Absolutely not.

Q: If the helmet isn't strapped on, will it stay on your head (thus protecting all of your wonderful memories) as you are transiting one-way from atop your bike down to the asphalt?

A: Again, no.

A recap in meme format:

  1. Price

The only point of this final section is to give you permission to spend $100 on a helmet. I know it seems like a lot, but it's absolutely worth it when you think about it as putting a price on walking, seeing, and performing basic cognitive tasks in your day to day. Having taken some gnarly crashes and replaced a few helmets, can confirm: it's worth it.

Happy Tuesday! Ride safe.

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