Thursday, September 16, 2010

It's Just Like a Styrofoam Cup

The bike pros have been telling me recently that a fella needs a new lid every 3-5 years. Even though I'm on my third helmet, the updates so far have all been serendipitous. I bought the first one sometime in the 80's when it became apparent (at least to me) that these tools weren't just for time-trialing freaks, they could actually prolong your life in certain circumstances (the likes of which I didn't want to experience, thank you very much). That was my Rhode Gear Darth Vader helmet. The second one I bought when it was clear to me that the first one was beginning to look a little odd and antiquated. The third one wasn't even the result of a conscious decision on my part to abandon the second one, but was a gift from my forward-thinking and two-wheel companion daughter.

As I was gearing up for the Defeat of Jesse James Days Bike Tour, I had two different bike professionals alert me that wearing a helmet that wasn't going to crack into multiple pieces upon impact was important and asked me if I knew how old my current helmet was? 3-5 years is the max, that's what they said. They said "when they're done, they're kind of like frozen styrofoam cups: if they're too old, when they hit the ground hard, they're going to shatter, not protect." Whoa, that wasn't what I signed up for.

So what should I do about it? I could go with the fine offerings from Giro and Bell, which is what all the pros do. The Giro Ionos is a fine helmet and when I tried it on I was sold. However, I hesitated. That's when I first learned about the Lazer line of helmets. I found them because of my catalog buddies at World Cycling Productions. They declaimed the Lazer as the "Best-Fitting Helmet Ever." I still didn't budge. Actually, at this point I was kind of paralyzed. I didn't want to make a mistake I might regret five minutes after I made  my choice. During the Jesse James Bike Tour I used the services of Mill Town Cycles to correct a chain slip that was annoying me, and I received confirmation of the assessment from the folks at WCP. Yes, the Lazer is the best helmet, hands down, of anything out there, according to Ben Witt of Mill Town Cycles.

Well, that kind of talk spoke volumes to me. After the ride and a shower, I trotted right down to Faribault and picked me up one o' them Lazer's. I've used it on a couple of rides so far and I have to admit: I've never worn anything on my head as comfortable as this. My latest life lesson was a confirmation of the wisdom of speaking personally to another human being in the process of making a decision.You can't go wrong with that strategy.

I actually wanted a yellow Lazer, but Ben didn't have one in stock and I didn't want to wait. Red was my second choice and I'm very happy with my purchase. It's going to get a real workout in a couple of days. Chequamegon here I come!

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