Introducing Inari Fernandez from Lapsiperheenmatkat in Helsinki
If you meet Inari, you meet a beautiful lady full of energy and happiness. Life with Inari is never boring, there is always something happening and it can be of any field. Inari and I met back in Augsburg during university and I had the most fun party experiences with her. When she left the city and returned to Helsinki we stayed in touch. I visited her a couple of times in her home town and had the most memorable experiences with her. Not only did she make me and my husband feel welcome to her home, but she showed us the most magical place in Lake Unoka during Mid-Summer. Whatever Inari does, she does it with passion. She is one of the most inspiring friends I have and I am grateful that she participates in our interview series as a dear friend and a loving mother.
Inari and her sister also run a travel blog where they provide tips about travelling with kids. If you are interested, you can visist her blog here or see her Instagram profile. Unfortunately, at this stage the site is targeted at a Finish audience, but if you speak the language, it certainly might be a good source.
Inari, 34 years old, Spanish-Finnish; kids 1 and 5 years old; living in Helsinki Finland – in a block house with a really big garden.
When I was I child …
- I lived … in a city named Helsinki
- I played … with my neighbours and family friends
- I enjoyed … playing ith my dollies and barbies for hours
- I rode my bike … almost every day
- and it rained, I used to … play in the rain, especially at summer times when the rain was smooth and warm
My children …
- live … in a big city but in a neighbourhood with a lot of nature
- play … mostly in our yard
- enjoy … the trampoline, biking, playing with their toys and friends
- ride their bike … every day but not in winter time – we ride to child care and back
- (on a rainy day) … play inside or with good clothes outside as well, they love to jump in every puddle when they wear gum boots
- The foundations for a healthy life-style are set …. fresh air, good healthy food, enough sleep, safe environment to grow up and enough social life
- Children live a healthy life-style if … they do the things I mentioned before
- Children’s exercise … under 3 years no special exercise, the normal life with its challenges is enough – over 3 years old one or two hobbies (in our case: dancing, swimming/horse riding) in a week and we do biking and jump on the trampoline every day
- A healthy diet for children … NO DIETS
- Lollies, chocolates, ice creams etc. for children … sometimes, but not every day
- A healthy snack on the go … carrot, or dark bread with a piece of cheese – also some yogurt
- Outdoor play … trampoline, jumping, biking, scooting
- Indoor play … Barbies, and a lot of role games: home, kitchen, princesses etc.
- A child is physically able …: it depends completely on the child – Our first one could do somersaults and climbing, horse riding without help etc at the age of 1-2 years, the second one doesn’t have that interest at all – she likes balls and running I think personally that kids don’t restrict our life at all – we try to do the things we like, and liked also before the kids, with them and with their terms of course. Until now it never came to a situation that wouldn’t have worked
- Children riding a bike … our 1st daughter learned to ride a bike without training wheels at the age of 3 – we gave her a balance bike when she was 2 and she learned to keep the balance with that, so she never needed stabilisers
- S’COOL bikes … look really cool and I would like to try them for my kids
Finally, could you please give a short statement about the cycling culture in your area / family?
We love cycling in our family: We, both parents, cycle to work and back and if we do something during the weekend around the City of Helsinki, we like to take the bikes and put the kids into the bike trailer.
In Helsinki the bike routes aren’t too good, so we have to drive many times between the cars, which is not nice. In Finland it’s obligatory to use a helmet, and it’s a really good thing I think. I hope there will be more investments for the biking culture so people would really cycle to work and back. In some of the working places, cyclists get a little bonus from the company every year.
Our kids like biking too, and the 5 years old can cycle around 2-3 kilometres without a problem. The younger one got her first kick bike one month ago but hasn’t worked it out yet
Introducing Guy Streeter – Mountain bike enthusiast
Guy and I met the first time at the Sydney Rides Festival in Pirrama Park, Pyrmont in October 2014. At that time we hosted the first balance bike track at the Sydney Rides festival and Guy and his wife, Sherryn, kindly helped us with the event. During the event we had also time to get to know each other. Guy spent a season in Whistler mountain biking and he has been embracing the mtb life ever since. I am sure his passion for mountain biking will eventually also infect his little boys, who are lucky to have such an involved and active Dad with cycling. Guy documents his cycling life on Instagram, if you are interested in seeing his adventures on two wheels.
- I cycle because … it’s the best fun you can have without a motor.
- I use my bike most … on the mountain bike track. It makes me feel like I’m a kid again. Jumping gutters and being gnarly.
- My first memorable moment on a bike … is my first bike without training wheels. It was this bike my dad picked up from the side of the road and gave it a fresh paint job… Problem was it was a 20year old bike… Terrible bike. But the memory was Being pushed down a slight hill and getting the death wobbles. My dad thought he knew the best way to teach me to ride without training wheels.
- As a child, I rode my bike … Daily – neighbourhood races around witches’ hats. Dominated the Korana close nationals 4 years running.
- Mountain bike or road bike … Road bikes aren’t that fun.
- Fat bikes … look like a heaps of fun.
- Balance bikes …: I wish balance bikes were popular when I was a kid.
- My favourite ride … Seven Summits – Rossland BC.
- Registering a bike … won’t change a thing.
- My favourite S’COOL bike … is the mini Fat bike.
Photo © Guy Streeter
Introducing Kate Midda from Little Big House Tales in London.
Instagram can be a very inspiring platform for many different reasons. As a distributor for children’s bikes, my interests are obviously focused on cyclists’ profiles, but also on profiles in relation to children. As a mother, I am naturally interested in other mothers’ profiles to find inspiration and ideas of how to spend time with my children. I have an imagination of how children should be raised to become prepared for life. Personally, I believe children need exposure to as many fields as possible, being sports, books, good food, the outdoor life in nature, hand-crafts, etc, in order to develop in a healthy and creative way and to have good and solid foundations set for life. There are so many great mothers out there and one of them is Kate Midda from Soloskates and Little Big House Tales. What I personally admire about Kate is that neither living in one of the world’s biggest cities, London, nor health issues get in her way. Her beautiful children have ample of opportunities to spend outdoors, to explore and they get plenty of creative exposure indoors through Kate’s creative arts and craft works.
When I was I child …
- I lived … in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by farm tracks, rape fields and woodland. Only now as an adult do I appreciate how beautiful my surroundings were.
- I played … outside most of the time, often exploring or inventing games with things I found lying around. I have fond memories of my dad building me huge castles from haystacks.
- I enjoyed … the space and freedom to venture off on my own and create my own fun. It’s something I’m constantly in search of for my own children growing up in a city.
- I rode my bike … every day after school with friends and on long weekend walks down quiet country lanes. I can remember the exact day my parents removed my stabilisers, I felt so grown up!
- If it rained I used to … build dens or paint.
My children …
- live … in a quiet, hidden enclave next to Hampstead Heath, North London. When we first saw our new house they said “it’s in the Countryside!” and we knew we had to buy it.
- play … happily together (most of the time). They share the same hilarious sense of humour and love of imaginative play. I love nothing more than hearing their wacky role-plays and giggles echoing throughout the house. They play best when grown ups are not around to interfere or referee.
- enjoy … dancing, chasing, making, building, inventing, and climbing. Especially if it involves being outside. We love exploring the woodland near our home, finding fallen trees to climb, rolling down hills and making bows and arrows from sticks or playing football with giant Fir Cones.
- ride their bikes … most days, even if they just race each other around the garden. Their favourite places to ride are the long flat trails around Regents Park. We hunt out the quieter routes away from the crowds and let them go for it. They relish the chance to speed off ahead. Especially my young son who loves to assert his independence on his balance bike, his speed and confidence always impress me. Having grown up in a rural setting I love to see them enjoying their freedom and space without the limitations of busy crowds and traffic. I think it’s important to carve out time for these moments when you live in a fast paced city like London.
- On a rainy day … we put on our rain coats and wellies and get on with it. Its something you just have to do living in England.
- The foundations for a healthy life-style are set … by the behaviours of the parents. We try to lead by example, especially when it comes to eating healthily.
- Children live a healthy life-style if … they are active and happy.
- Children’s exercise … should be fun and challenging. My kids love to push themselves, we rock-climb together as a family and walk a lot. Although we never call it walking, we call it exploring.
- A healthy diet for children … should be varied and full of fresh ingredients.
- Lollies, chocolates, ice creams etc. for children … are fine as an occasional treat. Our philosophy is “everything in moderation”. It’s pretty much how we try to live every aspect of our lives.
- A healthy snack on the go … Bananas, Bananas, Bananas. They even come with their own wrapper, pure convenience!
- Outdoor play … is like medicine. It’s my go to cure for grumpy, hyper or bored children.
- Indoor play … generally involves crafts, fancy dress, tents and a lot of tidying up afterwards! As a sufferer of Crohn’s disease I don’t always have the energy to get out and about with them but I do try to encourage them to use their imagination in whatever they do.
- A child is physically able … to do whatever they put their mind to and feel comfortable doing, with the right support from a parent.
- Children riding bikes … is such an important part of growing up. It is a great way to incorporate exercise into a child’s play time and most importantly it is fun. You never see a child riding a bike looking unhappy.
- S’COOL bikes … are for anyone, anywhere.
Finally, could you please give a short statement about the cycling culture in your area?
The busy roads in London are quite prohibitive to cycling with young children but there are plenty of parks and green spaces to explore on bikes.
Introducing Thomas Treloar from the Rolling Fix
I cannot remember when and how I came across The Rolling Fix, but what I clearly know is that first impressions last and those were rather positive. The Rolling Fix is a mobile bike mechanic business run by Thomas and Cameron in Sydney; they recently have started servicing Melbourne as well. A mobile bike mechanic does not run a shop where you take your bike for servicing, repair or assembly, but they come to wherever you are. With busy life-styles nowadays, but growing interest in cycling, it is a great option to have your bike fixed, at your work, home or a convenient spot you choose. I met Thomas a few months back, when he came to our house to service our mountain bikes and to see our bike range from S’COOL. We have since added The Rolling Fix as our preferred bike service to our website and are now proud to interview Thomas for this series of cyclist interviews:
- I cycle because … it’s fun. Every ride no matter how short puts a smile on my face.
- I use my bike most…ly every day.
- My first memorable moment on a bike … was the first time I rode with no training wheels. It was on a red Peugeot in Paris; I was 5 years old.
- As a child, I rode my bike … as much as I could. I would ride every day after school.
- Mountain bike or road bike …: Both equally.
- Fat bikes … are good fun but not very practical living in Sydney.
- Balance bikes …: I wished I had one when I learnt to ride.
- My favourite ride … is Mont Ventoux in the Provence region of France.
- Registering a bike …: I will pay rego if it means it puts an end to anger towards cyclists who obey the road rules.
- My favourite S’COOL bike …: I think the pedeX pirate is great. The ability to pop the wheels off with one click is a great feature.
Finally, could you please give a short statement about the cycling culture in your area?
I consider my area to be Sydney. I am continually amazed by the increasing number of people riding. If you stand on Bourke Street in the mornings you will see more cyclists than cars, however the best part is the variety of cyclists. This diversity creates such a welcoming culture. Won’t be long till cycling will become as normal as driving a car.
Introducing Natalie Walton from The Indigo Crew.
I came across The Indigo Crew at the beginning of this year through the Instagram feed of Goop. The Indigo Crew was featured with their advent calendar which I already knew from the Babyccino Kids blog. What caught my eye was the way the calendar was styled. I browsed through their Instagram profile and instantly liked the whole portfolio. From that day I have been following The Indigo Crew blog as well. What I personally adore about Natalie and her work is the time and effort she invests into the upbringing of her children. Despite of living in the buzz of a city, the children spend ample of time outside in parks and the great outdoors, are exposed to creative indoor activities and plenty of books. Natalie sets a great example of how nowadays children can be inspired to an active and creative life despite of a very busy lifestyle.
Please, briefly summarise your thoughts on how to keep children active, healthy and what you value in raising children the most.
This is a big question. Generally, I think most of the time if children are given an opportunity to be active then they will take it. I don’t make a conscious decision for them to be active, but then we don’t sit around a lot either – that’s not our lifestyle. Most days the children walk or ride bikes and/or scooters to school. On the weekends we often try to get out and about in nature. It’s generally more to broaden our horizons but it usually involves some sort of physical activity. What the children eat is something that I am more conscious of. I have always been mindful of the food I eat and after reading The Ethics of What We Eat by Peter Singer quite a few years ago I have been more conscious of food production and ingredients. As much as possible we eat wholefoods. In general, the children don’t eat prepackaged snack food. I feel quite strongly about the amount of additives, including sugar, in food.
When I was I child …
- I lived … in England, until I was 13 years old, when my family emigrated to Australia.
- I played … on Daisy Hill in the farm that was next-door-but-one to my house.
- I enjoyed … horse riding, reading and living in my own little world. Some things haven’t changed!
- I rode my bike … regularly until I fell off and fractured my arm the day before I was a flower girl at my cousin’s wedding. I had to wear a cast at the ceremony and my mum was not impressed!
- and it rained I used to … play inside mostly. Although you always had to be prepared to get caught in the rain in England.
My children …
- live … in the inner-city. It’s something we think about a lot. We enjoy the access to museums and galleries, and that we are close to many of Sydney’s natural attractions but the pull is getting stronger to move to greener pastures.
- play … with each other increasingly. It’s a joy to hear them interacting and making up games from their imagination.
- enjoy … making things – whether it’s craft, experiments or something in the kitchen.
- ride their bike … to and from school, and at the Carriageworks, which has a large empty space where we don’t have to worry about traffic.
- On a rainy day … we sometimes head to a museum or gallery. Other times we work on some craft-based project indoors.
- The foundations for a healthy life-style are set … early, and with leading by example. We always eat meals together as a family. It’s important to me that we all sit down together, eat well and converse. As parents, we try to show them that we value exercise too by going to yoga or the pool to swim. Unfortunately, time is still a bit of an issue on this one.
- Children live a healthy life-style if … they are given knowledge. We always talk to our children about what is in food, and explain the role of sugar and other additives in our bodies.
- Children’s exercise … should be a natural part of the day.
- A healthy diet for children … is something that we value.
- Lollies, chocolates, ice creams etc. for children … are to be eaten in moderation. I would rather them have homemade biscuits and cakes than lollies or chocolates.
- A healthy snack on the go … Fruit, always.
- Outdoor play … is great when it’s combined with learning new skills – such as climbing trees.
- Indoor play … can have an important role too – making “houses” out of pillows from the sofa and creating something from nothing.
- A child is physically able … to do what they can. We try to place value on trying rather than achieving.
- Children riding a bike … are following a rite of passage.
- S’COOL bikes … is going to be my first port of call when the girls get a little bigger. That Chix Classic!
Finally, could you please give a short statement about the cycling culture in your area / family?
Sometimes we feel like we live on a bike highway. Our street is long and flat, and popular with people commuting from the inner-west to the city. It’s good to see. My husband regularly rides his bike on the school drop off or pick up and for chores around our neighbourhood. I have yet to get a bike. It has been on my to-do list for too long! Sometimes my husband and son go for long bike rides to Centennial Park and back or around other local areas. It’s their quality time together.
Introducing Axel Boese, the CEO of Coolmobility GmbH and the German brand S’COOL.
I met Axel in person for the first time last year at Eurobike in Friedrichshafen and instantly enjoyed his company. He is dynamic, full of great ideas and most importantly makes carefully considered bikes for children, rather than parents. Axel knows what the children of today want and incorporates their wishes into the design and build of his bikes. For instance, all S’COOL girls’ bikes are built with a colour coded carrier to match the frame design and all S’COOL boys’ bikes have no carrier. When I asked Axel for the reason, his response put a smile on my face. Girls like taking their handbags and accessories when riding, but prefer them to be on the carrier. Boys prefer backpacks and carriers are as a result redundant or simply uncool.
Cool is Axel’s motto and he follows it through in detail with each bike he creates.
- I cycle because … my bike is my constant companion. I use it as means of everyday transportation in the city and to do my daily exercise in the evening.
- I use my bike most … to stay fit. My LOOK carbon race bike is my passion. Riding my race bike helps me relax from everyday hassles.
- My first memorable moment on a bike … was when I was 10 years old. I was given my first race bike, which was over 35 years ago. It was brand new, bright orange and had 10 gears. I was extremely proud!
- As a child, I rode my bike … every day to school, which was 2km. I also rode it in the afternoon when riding with friends and riding to the football (soccer) field. Riding a bike means freedom for every child …
- Mountain bike or road bike … of course the road bike. I love cardio training. I only ride an e-mountain bike because I hate steep climbs.
- Fat bikes … are super cool. They are especially great for children from the age of 5. They ride perfectly on sand, mud and snow. It’s a pity there were no fat bikes during my youth.
- Balance bikes … are the best invention for toddlers and small children to learn to ride a bike. Children learn both balance and certain motor skills in a playful way. I am convinced that our pedeX race tracks will contribute to a growing generation of competitive cyclists.
- My favourite ride … is the legendary Vätternrundan in Sweden. It’s a 300km long adventorous non-stop ride around Lake Vättern. I have participated 3 times already. It is unforgettable.
- Registering a bike … is very recommendable. There are many platforms. It is important to be connected to the local police.
- My favourite S’COOL bike … is without doubt the Eurobike Award Winner, our XXfat. I was involved in its development and design. It is a “must have” for every cool kid.
Finally, could you please give a short statement about the cycling culture in your area?
Cycling in Germany is developing rapidly. To date 13% of all commutes in the city are by bike. Local councils are working on extending cycling paths.
This is my idea of every big city in the world:
The pace of a city when pedestrians and cyclists dominate rather than cars, is worth living in. That is the original idea of a city. This aberration needs to be corrected everywhere.
Finally: Congratulations Axel for finishing the Vätternrundan for the fourth time last weekend. We are very proud of you!
The latest trending development in the bike industry is the rapid emergence of fat bikes. Throughout our journey of marketing and showing our kids’ bike range, many people have not been sure what a bike with 4 inch fat tyres would be good for. Surprisingly, even hard-core riders in the mountain bike community have been questioning both its purpose and existence.
Surely, the same scepticism was present in the late 70s and early 80s when the first mountain bikes appeared in the cycling community. The scepticism did not last long though, as riders soon realised that riding a mountain bike with wider tyres, lighter frames and technical components opened doors to great new riding experiences away from the traditional paved road. This emergence allowed for more and more areas to be explored, such as gravelled and rocky roads, tracks in forest and fields. But mountain bikes also have their limits. As soon as the bikes approach softer surfaces and untouched terrain, carrying or walking with them is inevitable.
Two different parties in Alaska and New Mexico were facing this problem as well when they attempted to ride through softer terrain during the late 80s.
The first Iditabike Event in Alaska in 1987 put riders to their limits when they had to cross a 200km snow covered area. While riding on harder surfaces during colder times of the day was possible, it became challenging as soon as the sun thawed the snow into a slushy mass. Many riders ended up walking long distances with their bikes to reach the finish line. In the following years, the riders adjusted their bikes to the difficult conditions to reduce walking/carrying to a minimum. Some built custom forks and frames adding two or three tyres next to each other at the front and the rear of the bike in order to give them more grip.At around the same time Ray Molina faced similar challenges in New Mexico and Mexico when exploring new sandy terrain in the area. In order to enable riding in the sand without sinking in or getting stuck, he build a 3.5” tyre and rim and adjusted the frame to fit the tyre which eased the ride over the sand dunes significantly.
As a result of his successes in navigating sandy terrain by bike, Ray Molina exhibited his Remolino rim at the Interbike show in 1999. Impressed with the idea, Mark Groneweld from Alaska took these with him to build a bike that made riding through tough snowy conditions possible. The result was the first fat bike which enabled riders a smoother ride at the Iditabike event with less walking.
As with many new products, access to these fat bikes were initially very difficult. Most of the bikes were custom made and very expensive. Consequently, only hard-core riders embraced them.
In 2005, Surly Pugsley made the change by building a more affordable model and distributing them in high-end bike shops all over the US. Through the easier access to these bikes and its success many other big bike companies joined in over the years and extended their bike range with fat bikes.
Today, nearly every major bike brand stocks fat bikes in their range, enabling the everyday rider to have access to some cheaper models as well. Since 2014, many brands have also added fat bikes to their kids’ bike range after On-One (UK) and S’COOL (Germany) took the lead in building the first 24” and 20” kids’ fat bikes, respectively. The cycling community was so impressed with this development that S’COOL received a Eurobike Award in the Mountain Bike Category for the first production 20” fat bike in the world.
Children now also have the opportunity to ride on more challenging and softer terrain as well.
As many mountain bikers might be aware, last weekend was the Mont 24 Hour Race near Canberra. Scoolbikes unfortunately could not participate in the race, but we had the chance to exhibit our bikes at the event and show the enduro mountain bike scene our kids’ MTB and fatbike line-up.
The event was situated about 10km from Bungendore, just off Kings Highway towards Queanbeyan and Canberra. The race started on Saturday at noon and finished 24 hours later (as the name suggests). The idea behind the race is to have a team of ideally 6 people, who one after the other do an approximate 18km lap in the East Kowen Forst area on their mountain bikes. Once a rider has finished a lap, the next rider follows and this goes on for 24 hours. The team with the most laps wins the event.
The great part about the race is that the riders bring along their partners and children and a lovely community meets in one spot and enjoys a weekend of pure outdoor life with camping and plenty of opportunities for mountain biking. The event also includes a kid’s race, so the smallest riders had a chance to be part of the show. East Kowen Mountain is full of challenging and fun tracks and everybody could find a way of riding and experiencing the essence of mountain biking (even the ones who did not participate in the main event).
Facilities were provided by the organiser Self Propelled Enterprises and there were plenty of food stalls to grab a bite to eat. They even organised a café stall and a bar, so really nothing was missing the event.
The two days went very quick. We had a chance to show our bikes and it was very encouraging to hear such positive feedback. I would think those opinions are valuable reviews, given they were from serious riders with plenty of knowledge on bikes. We showcased our fat bikes of course, which were the eye catchers of our stand. The enthusiasm got even bigger when the riders examined its build and quality. They were highly impressed with the bikes as a whole.
The troX elite range got the thumbs up from pretty much everybody who looked at it. They are not just beautiful looking mountain bikes for children from six years, but are also sturdy and built from high-end components to ensure safety and fun.
All in all, the event was a great experience from both a business and personal perspective. It was lovely to finally get on my mountain bike again and to go for a good ride. The nature in the East Kowen Forest area is simply breathtaking. Never in my life did I expect to cross paths with a wild kangaroo and be surrounded by hundreds of rosellas while mountain biking. We certainly will return for a weekend ride in the near future and definitely next year for the next Mont 24 Hour Race, hopefully then with a big enough team to participate in the race.
My three year old son is obsessed with bike bells. Ever since he moved on from his balance bike (without a bell) to a push bike with a bell, he makes sure to use it as frequently as possible. It does not matter if a pedestrian is seeing him or not, the bell is rung energetically. Nobody has a chance to miss that sound.
Given his love for his bike bell, I have been looking for a more characteristic one for him, with colours and interesting patterns. There are not too many around, and the ones I saw were not the best quality.
During the last four days we exhibited our bikes at Sydney’s Kids InStyle and while having a look at the other stands I met lovely Jana and Steve and their beautiful bike bells by Beep Bicycle Bells. Jana and Steve take extra care which bells they source. Their choice is based on the highest quality to ensure their products are durable and long lasting. When ringing them, I was reminded of my childhood. The sound is deeper than the standard bell and it is louder as well. The best part of the bells is the hand painted patterns. Jana and Steve found a great artist in Newcastle with a steady hand who creates the most beautiful art. Each bell is then baked to ensure the paint does not crumble off. Jana and Steve then test each bell for sound and art before they release them for sale.
Jana and Steve’s pickiness is worth it. Beep Bicycle Bells won the Westpac – Manufacturing Westpac Newcastle Small Business Grant Program in 2013.
So far I have not been able to decide which one is best for my son, but I am positive once he has his new bell attached to his bike everybody will know when he is about
As most of you would be aware, wearing a helmet while cycling is compulsory in Australia. People get fined for not wearing a helmet. As a result, the majority of people abide by the rules and wear one.
Wandering in the streets and looking out for cyclists made me realise that the majority of adult riders wear their helmet incorrectly, and more importantly, a child wearing a helmet correctly is a very rare sight.
In August 2014 I spend a lot of time with bike helmet manufacturers at the Eurobike exhibition in Friedrichshafen, Germany. For those who don’t know, the Eurobike Expo is the biggest bike and bike accessory exhibition in Europe and one of the biggest in the world. Bike and bike accessory manufacturers gather there over four days and show their new products for the next season. The capacity is huge, I needed two full days just to explore who was exhibiting. One area that I focused on was bike helmets. While talking to the biggest (and in my opinion best) bike helmet manufacturers, such as UVEX and ABUS I also learnt how to fit and wear a helmet correctly.
Based on what I saw, I believe it is good to share the knowledge I gathered to raise awareness on how to wear a helmet correctly. I hope the below information is helpful.
What helmet should I buy?
Each country has their body of standards that require products to meet certain safety norms. Standards in the EU, are different to the ones in the US or in Australia. The important thing to note is that helmets in Australia and in the US are enforced by law and as a result the helmets have to meet the standards of the country. When purchasing a helmet, ensure yours meets the following standards:
EU / NZ*: EN 1078 and CE label
US: 16 CFR Part 1203
AUS / NZ*: AS/NZS 2063
*At the time of writing my understanding is that New Zealand has adopted the EU standards and also accepts Australian standards.
The standards ensure the helmet has been tested for impact during accident and falls. If the helmet meets the standards the appropriate code has been applied. You can find the standard approval inside your helmet on a sticker with the above mentioned codes. Just ensure that you don’t peel off the sticker to avoid being fined in case you are checked.
As long as the helmet meets the respective standards the price does not change the degree of safety. What changes though is the quality, weight and comfort. Generally speaking, the more you pay, the sturdier, lighter and more comfortable the helmet.
Which helmet is right one for me?
The first answer is, a helmet that fits your head comfortably. When I bought my last helmet the advice I was given was: If you don’t feel you’re wearing a helmet, then it fits perfectly, i.e. it does not wobble, because it is too big or it is not too tight.
I use my helmet mostly for mountain biking, so it was important to me that the air flow is very good. Personally, I think it does not matter what you use your bike for, if you live in a hot country, like Australia, a helmet with good ventilation (i.e. big holes) is a must.
For sunny days, I wanted a visor, but that’s not a necessity.
Weight was another important factor for me. I hate anything on my head, so getting a super light helmet was my preferred option. I simply did not want to feel it.
Ask yourself as well: When do I ride my bike the most? If you ride mostly in the dark, ensure your helmet has reflectors or integrated back lights to enable car drivers to see you well.
Make sure you buy the helmet in a shop with experts. The helmet needs to fit perfectly to provide you maximum protection. Only a person who knows what to look for will be able to sell you the right product.
An adjustable helmet has the advantage of maximum comfort. But it is important the helmet fits perfectly when the adjustment is in its widest range. Hence, I cannot emphasize enough, buy your helmet in a shop with experts. If the helmet does not fit, it provides hardly any or no protection!!!
How do I wear my helmet correctly?
This part seems to be the most difficult. So far it’s been easy to get the right helmet by following the standards and asking some experts for the right choice. Putting the helmet on correctly can be harder as there is no expert on your side on a constant basis. Hopefully, my “user guide” helps.
The most common mistake I can see is that the forehead is not covered / protected by the helmet. So many people push the helmet back. It might be irritating to have a hard shell sitting on your forehead, but keep in mind, the helmet is there to protect you and that requires the forehead to be covered.
Correct wear generally means the helmet sits two fingers wide above your root of the nose. Imagine you fall forwards off your bike. Even if you manage to collect the fall with your hands, the force will make your head hit the ground and your forehead is first. If the helmet sits correctly it’s the helmet and impact on your head is significantly reduced.
Here are a few images I found on the CPSC webpage that portray the correct wear quite well:
Now you know how to place the helmet correctly on your head. But there are other parts to consider as well that are vital for maximum protection.
If you have an adjustment knob tighten or loosen it to the desired fit when you put your helmet on. Ensure that the helmet does not move around when you shake your head. If it wobbles it is too big.
Next, adjust the side straps. These form a V around your ears. Move the adjusters up, just underneath your earlobes. Now test how much the helmet moves. Push it forward and backwards. If the helmet moves more than approximately 1.5cm the V-straps need adjustment. If it moves forward adjust the straps behind your ears. If it moves backwards adjust the straps before your ears.
Also ensure the straps underneath your chin are not too loose or too tight. The best help is to close the straps and to adjust them so that you can still fit a finger between your chin and the straps. This ensures comfort and safety.
If you consider all these steps the chances to put the helmet on correctly are very high. Check each time that all parts fit correctly, otherwise re-adjust.
One more important point. Be careful with your helmet. Don’t throw it and try not to drop it. The impact can damage or crack the mould and destroy the helmet. If you had a fall you must replace your helmet. It no longer will protect your head after impact.
I cannot emphasize enough that only a correctly fitted helmet will achieve the protection everybody is looking for, but so many people appear not to be aware what correctly fitted means. If you read this and agree, please share it with friends and family, there are too many kids and riders out there who don’t seem to be aware of the danger they put themselves into under a false impression of security, just because they are wearing a helmet.
But most importantly, I wish all of you a safe ride and I hope your helmet will never have to serve its purpose!!!
P.S.: Based on the read above, can you determine if the the boy wears the helmet correctly or not? I am interested to see what you think