A $15 helmet isn’t cool, but it’s worth the money
September 23, 2005
What to do when one finds oneself in rural eastern Virginia with a brand-spanking-new used bicycle without a helmet? Here’s a five-step answer:
Step one: Go online and look for a bicycle shop. If you’re on the Northern Neck of Virginia, birthplace of George Washington, then your one-and-only choice is a shop called Noah’s Ark/Fletcher’s Fix-It, owned by a guy named Fletcher.Step two: Drive or ride into Kilmarnock, the center of commerce in that area and visit Fletcher’s shop. He sells vacuum cleaners, lawn mowers, air-conditioning systems along with a variety of other small home appliances. He also sells bicycles and accessories and can fix about anything you throw at him.Step three: Shop. Fletcher has a variety of helmets that range in price from $15 to $60.
Step four: Do the math. “OK, Allen,” I said to myself, “you’ve got two helmets at home bought at valley prices at a total cost of roughly $150. So why not swallow your fashion pride and go with the $15 model?”Fletcher replied: “Yeah, that’s what I’d do if I were you.”
Step five: Purchase the bottom-line model from ProRider and hit the road. Never mind that the helmet looks like a Styrofoam cooler encased in plastic. There’s a label inside that says it meets U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission standards use by anyone age 5 and up. “I’m 41,” I thought. “Works for me.”The ProRider’s economy model isn’t much to look at. It’s not going to do much for you if you wipe out and land on your face at 35 mph, but what helmet really is? It’s light, and it’s bright (red). And most important, it probably would absorb enough energy in a bad spill to keep you from cracking your skull open – which is really what it’s all about.Conclusion: It’s not cool, but it’s probably worth the money.