James Durand

Spring is here, and the kids are riding again

By James Durand

It doesn’t feel like our typical spring weather, but with the odd sunny day and a few degrees warmer, I’m seeing more and more kids out riding their bikes.

My kids too. They are way more motivated to get out and hit the trails, blow off an afternoon in the bike park, or just do laps around the ‘hood.

Spending time in the bike park last weekend was awesome. So many people riding the pump track, the skate park, and even the easy line in the jump park. All different levels, ages, and styles of riders and bikes.

As we were bombing around the skate park, Regan asked why one skater was not wearing helmet. Typical kid right? We beat the rules into them and then they throw them back at the adults.

I tried to explain that not everyone chooses to wear a helmet and that skater is a grown up so it’s his choice, but we prefer to be safe when we ride so helmets are a must.

He bought it and we moved on to have more fun.

Then I started looking around a bit more and noticed three different kids with brand new department store bikes and helmets.

No, this is not a rant against department store bikes. I truly believe if your kid has a bike and is having fun, I don’t care where you got it, or what bike brand you chose. They’re pedalling, exploring, and being a kid, it’s awesome.

Helmets, on the other hand, are pretty important, and even a good helmet, if not fit right, is not safe.

These kids all had helmets and wore them, but the fit was so far off that the helmets were rendered useless, but rather than get on my soap box and rant about retailers selling helmets that don’t fit kids, I’ll just throw out a few quick tips to help you fit your kid’s helmet so it is safe.

It’s not complicated.

The helmet should fit snug enough with the fit system tightened so that is doesn’t slop side to side or front to back. You should not be able to fit two fingers between the helmet shell and your head.

The helmet should sit about a 1/2” above the rider’s eyebrows. Any further back on the head and when you crash you smash your face and forehead instead of your helmet. Set the helmet in that position and test that it can’t swivel back easily. If it does, you can adjust the side straps to prevent this.

The chin strap needs to be tight enough to hold the helmet in place during a crash.

Set it up so you can squeeze two fingers between the strap and the underside of the rider’s chin. No loser, no tighter.

If there are any cracks, dents, or other damage, the helmet has done its job and needs to be replaced. These are one-hit wonders and after one good crash, they are no longer protecting your head.

So, buy your kid’s helmet wherever you want, but if there is no staff to help you with the fit, make sure you go through these steps to keep all the little rippers safe.

I’m James Durand and I’m Going’ Ridin’…