New RBR Series: Dare to Be Dorky!
By Greg Conderacci
RBR readers are, by definition, cool. Alas, coolness has its price. Therefore, as a public service, so our super-cool readers don’t miss out on the previously-hidden secrets of dorkiness, I am launching this new series on dorky tips and tricks for ultra-cool riders. That would be you.
Being cool, you are probably not in touch with dorkiness, so let me describe, by way of definition, a dorky tip:
- Pro riders do not do it (nor does just about anybody else)
- It’s cheap or maybe even free
- It usually adds weight
- It will NEVER be featured in fancy bike catalogs, because, well, there’s no money in it.
I’m kicking off this series with one of my favorite examples of dorkiness: taping plastic window screen material over your helmet with duct tape. (See photo. Note that duct tape is critical to dorkiness.) The more expensive the helmet you are covering, the more dorky it is.
I got this idea years ago, riding in a gnat-infested section of Italy where (at least then) they actually made helmets with screening in the front. This dorkiness secret eliminates the “bee in the bonnet” syndrome that many riders have experienced. If you haven’t had the thrill of trying to rip off your helmet to free a buzzing bug while descending a hill at 40 miles an hour … you haven’t been riding enough.
Do you have a dorky tip to share? Don’t be shy. We’ll withhold your name upon request!
Greg Conderacci is a marketing consultant and a former Wall Street Journal reporter, non-profit entrepreneur, and investment bank chief marketing officer. In Getting UP!, he brings you the same skills he teaches at a top graduate school and Fortune 500 companies. Lots of people promise better performance … Greg proves it. Using his energy techniques, in 2015 he rode a bicycle across America in just 18 days — averaging 150 miles a day.
Give me a break! Why not just wear a full clean-room outfit? Face shield, too? A bug down your throat or dust in the eye is part of the experience.
Richard Freeman says
We don’t have enough bugs here to warrant insect screening. We occasionally get sunny days though, and those of us with insufficient hair covering risk sunburn in the shape of helmet holes. I use hats and beanies under my helmets, but wish I didn’t have to on hot days. Has anyone modified their helmets to block the sun but let air through? Since sunshine is vertical and airflow is horizontal, it seems like a simple thing to do. I also can’t imagine why helmet manufacturers don’t design for it. I’m not the only bald guy riding bikes, am I?
Try a cooling towel inside your helmet.
Craig W says
I have two helmets with air vent slots that are offset compared to the other helmet. I simply alternate helmets from ride to ride. It doesn’t eliminate sun exposure, but it does cut it in half. A big plus is that I don’t have dark streaks on the top of my head!
STEPHEN TURK says
Richard, I have a Kask Protone helmet. Air intakes at the front, exits at the back. The top doesn’t have any vents, at least not in the critical area where the top of my head is bald! And the airflow within the helmet, over the bald patch, does a great job of keeping me cool. Makes you wonder why a helmet would have vents on top.
Dan Boice says
Major Dorkosity: I really love my EVT Safe Zone mirror, which attaches to my helmet with zip ties. I guess it makes me look like a huge bug with one antenna, but it works fine and helps keep me alive.
Another sign of being a Dork?
Riding with one! Guilt by association.
The Cool Kids would NEVER come within 20’ of such a dork and def not allow any photos to be taken!
After getting stung by a bee that got in my helmet, I put a section of window screen inside the front of my helmet. No regrets.
This isn’t dorkey but it is cool.
Where I ride, there are deer crossing signs and we always have to slow down and dodge all the deer in the road. This is often dangerous so, to solve the problem, we just moved the deer crossing signs to roads where we do not ride.
Greg Conderacci says
Great idea! We did the same thing with a railroad crossing, but the dorks keep trying to jump the tracks!
I get the occasional bug in the helmet vent, but it usually finds its way out.
I have used a full face bug net when I ride through a forest area during black fly season. It makes a huge difference. I use to avoid these areas before because going slowly uphill the black flies were unbearable.
Take a look at the helmets with wave cell foam, an impact liner, which blocks some sun.
Several models of Rudy helmets have bug screening inside the front of the helmet!
For a different reason, I use clear tape over the front of my helmet (vents) for winter riding. It keeps the cold air off the front of my head and sweat can evaporate through the back. Started doing this at least 20 years ago.
And if it’s a rainy winter day, I have a helmet with a rain cover that serves both purposes blocks both rain and cold air.
Chris Harvey says
What a great concept for a new column! I’ll likely love some and dismiss others- but will read it faithfully and be grateful for your initiative.
(This is one idea that I won’t need to follow simply because my helmet addresses it).
Timothy Rueger says
I once had a wasp get caught behind my cycling goggles and one eye. Needless to day, I went off the road, but landed pretty softly in brush up against a fence (and didn’t fall over). Maybe I need a beekeeper’s headgear!
Dustan Martin says
I would hate to be a spoil-sport but does the screen make the helmet more aerodynamic? Kind of like “threading” a frame or the dimples on a golf ball? Just a thought.
Greg Conderacci says
Interesting. Since we dorky riders don’t know a wind tunnel from the Holland Tunnel, I’d have to say you’re absolutely probably maybe right/have a good point there. Once upon a time, people used to say the same thing about NOT shaving your legs.