I love the fact that there is so much more discussion now about the importance of wearing an approved helmet every time you ride. Recently I came across a campaign called www.riders4helmets.com that has testimonials from top riders advocating the use of helmets.
One of the videos that they’ve posted on their blog is a helmet fitting video narrated by John Nunn, the owner of the tack store and online site Bit of Britain. This video should be a “must watch” for anyone going out to buy a helmet. He gives a good overview of the helmets available and he talks about how a helmet should fit. I also think his advice about putting long hair up under a helmet (don’t!) is right on. Putting your hair up under your helmet changes the way it fits. Yes, I did it for years. No, I don’t any more.
What I’ve found is that over time, helmets fit differently. The padding starts to compress or you get a different hair cut and one day you find that your helmet just isn’t as snug as it should be. That happened to me last year. The Tipperary schooling helmet that fit snugly in the store started to get too loose. That’s the time to add extra shims or to invest in a smaller size.
Of course don’t go to the other extreme either: a helmet that’s too tight (or the wrong shape for your head) can leave you with a powerful headache and a line around your forehead.
At least now helmet manufacturers make helmets in more than just one shape. If your head wasn’t the right shape for it, tough. Now you can try on a variety of models. Of course, if you’re like me, the only one that is truly comfortable happens to be one of the most expensive (my hunt helmet is a Charles Owen Wellington). But you don’t need to buy an expensive helmet to school in. As along as it’s ASTM approved, it has passed the appropriate safety tests and will protect your head. Some schooling helmets are less than $40. If you’re lucky, you can also pick up helmets in the clearance section of your tack store. That’s where my most recent ones were bought!