Category: Gear

Are Helmets Important In Cycling?

It’s common knowledge that wearing helmet is important when cycling. Helmets protect cyclists from head and brain injuries that they may sustain if they met cycling accidents. According to Helmets.org, the use of helmet may lower the risk of getting head injuries by around 85%. Additionally, a study which was published in the CMAJ or Canadian Medical Association Journal discovered that cyclists who do not wear a helmet have a three times greater risk of dying from head injuries than those who wear a helmet.

But why, despite the statistics presented, do some cyclists insist on not wearing helmets?

Dr. Henry Marsh, a neurosurgeon from St. George’s Hospital in London, admitted that he, himself, does not wear helmets while cycling, stating that helmets are ‘too flimsy’ and advising that there are no decrease in the number of bike injuries in countries where there are helmet laws. The neurosurgeon also brought up a research from the University of Bath which revealed that car drivers feel that cyclists are already safe when they wear helmets; hence, there’s this tendency for drivers to drive three inches closer to cyclists which may lead to road accidents.

Dr. Marsh isn’t alone in his belief that helmets are not essential to cyclists’ safety. For Michael Cavenett of the London Cycling Campaign, the reason for cycling accidents is road designs and junctions, rather than not wearing helmets.

For Mikael Colville-Andersen, cycling ambassador for Copenhagen, another non-believer in wearing helmets, the drivers are to blame for accidents and not the cyclists. He also believed that cycling without a helmet is a sign of a livable city.

Being helmet-free might increase feeling of freedom brought by cycling, but you should ask yourself if it’s really worth the risk.

This debate can go on and on, and in the end, whether or not you’d wear a helmet while cycling is always up to you.



Choosing the Right Bike

There are many types of bikes to choose from. If you’re just new at cycling, knowing your purpose in buying a bike (whether to use it for commuting to work, for biking on terrains, for racing, etc.) is imperative in selecting a bike that suits you and your needs.

Bikes differ in wheel size (diameter), tire type, saddle/seat type, handle, frame size, and weight—depending on the rider’s body type and activity the bike will be used for.

Familiarity with at least the most common bike types will be a great deal of help in knowing what you want. If you have no idea what you are looking for it might be worth to go into your local bike shop to get some advice and also try some bikes. I have always found it cheaper to purchase online especially when you can use a discount code.

One of the most common types of bike is the Mountain Bike. Mountain bikes are great for cycling on dirt or on natural terrains. Mountain bikes are built to protect your body from the impact shocks from riding on bumpy surfaces. They are not as fast as road bikes, but are also good for cycling on pavements since it has shock absorbing qualities that can withstand humps and potholes on roads. It also has excellent brakes to ensure safety. There are generally two kinds of mountain bikes, hardtail bikes and full-suspension bikes. A hardtail bike is more affordable and lighter than a full-suspension bike. However, hardtail bikes don’t have shock absorber on the rear part. Full-suspension mountain bikes offer more protection from impact with its front and rear shock absorbers. Although it is more expensive than hardtail bikes, its frame is well-built and can handle more challenging, rocky terrains than hardtail bikes; it also has a better braking system.

Road bikes are for you if you’re looking for bikes to use for commuting, exercising, or joining races and tours. They are suitable for seasoned cyclists as well as beginners. Road bikes are designed for cycling on roadways, asphalt roads, or pavements. They are lighter and faster than mountain bikes. It is vital to finding the bike that fits you. Using bikes that don’t fit is uncomfortable and may lead to unnecessary muscle pains. There are two road bike variations: flat bar handlebars and drop bar handlebars. Flat bar handlebars are designed for a relaxed posture while cycling. It is also ideal if your aim is to use it for commuting or casual exercise as it makes the rider more visible to other motorists since the seat is designed to hold upright-sitting position. This seating position also makes the cyclist more aware of the road ahead since they can have a wider field of vision. Drop bar handlebars are faster than flat bar handlebars and better for activities that require more speed. Drop bar handlebars are also lightweight and allow the rider to change their upper body position while cycling.

If you’re looking for bikes that can travel great distances on the road while carrying load or luggage, then touring bikes might be for you. A touring bike offers smoother rides and can handle heavy weight. Its seat is also built for comfort so it can be used for commuting while carrying heavy stuff.

Hybrid bikes offer some qualities of road bikes and mountain bikes combined. They are perfect for cycling on the road as they usually come with suspension forks for smoother rides. They have a good braking system which is essential for riding on traffic. Hybrid bikes also allow the cyclist to sit in a comfortable, upright position.

Comfort bikes are, well, designed for comfort. They are good for casual bike rides on pavements. They also have saddles built for upright sitting position. Most comfort bikes have shock absorbers.

City or urban bikes are designed for riding in the city streets. The seat is designed for an upright sitting position so the biker can be visible to other motorists. City bikes are also sturdy and can be used on gravel as well as pavements.

Cyclocross bikes are light but have sturdy frames to be able to handle different kinds of terrains. Cyclocross racing is a type of sport where participants not only get to race but should also make it through other obstacles which require them to carry their bikes instead of riding them.

For commuters who are looking for portable bikes, there are folding bikes. Folding bikes can be folded and are lightweight but has strong frames.

These are just some of the bikes most commonly used by both experienced and new cyclists. Knowing what you need and learning about what type of bike suits you will help in maximizing your cycling performance. Having a bike that’s a perfect fit provides comfort—which is one of the most important factors to consider in choosing the right bike.