With age comes wisdom, and so now at double nickels I’m wearing a Bontrager Rally helmet when riding my bicycle. My inner 14-year-old screams “old man” and laughs. That’s fine. I’m at that age where I don’t mind the chuckle. I think back to the near-misses of riding my 10-speed around our town of 10,000 and am glad I made it through with nothing more than scratches and bruises.
The Bontrager Rally WaveCell is designed for mountain biking, which I don’t do. Trails today for me are for trail-running and hiking, watching birds and taking photos. I’ll let the shredders have their due. Looks enjoyable. Just not for me. But the helmet, that’s a definite now for me, even for riding on roads. I’ve read about too many vehicle-cyclist accidents in our city and elsewhere. Perhaps it should not have taken more than 40 years for me to put a lid on my melon, but so be it.
It’s a good idea to wear a helmet. Here’s why.
Bontrager is well known in the cycling world for apparel, components and accessories. It is part of the Trek company, also well known among bikers. I have Bontrager tires on my 26-year-old Gary Fisher hybrid, which is now a putter-around-the-block bike, and also on the older Trek 1200 AF that I am riding. Trek is a good company with a proud history. The Bontrager Rally WaveCel helmet is yet another solid item in its lineup.
Why Choose the Bontrager Rally?
I chose the Rally over road helmets partly because of its looks. I just prefer it over the road versions. Both work great. That was merely a personal deal. The Rally has a three-position adjustable brim to block the sun or rain. For mountain biking this is good to shield your eyes and face from limbs, although you’ll still take a whack. Bontrager calls the color Grey/Roarange; it looks green and orange to me.
The goodies are inside the helmet, where Bontrager’s WaveCel protective system protects front to back. This is a collapsible system — think of an accordion bellows — combined with pads that will help absorb and dissipate impact and shock during a crash. It reminds me of the crushable, collapsible safety walls on NASCAR tracks. It’s smart thinking for a bike helmet.
The Rally also has a cool Boa Fit System. It allows you to tighten or loosen the helmet’s fit with just one hand and a twist of the knob, located in the rear. Easy and secure. You can do this while you’re riding, if need be. The chin straps have locking mechanisms, too. When you get the strap positioned the way you want it under your jaw, lock these and it won’t move. Helmet pads are washable, which is nice, because you’re going to get sweaty and stanky in summer. When I’m riding I wear a Buff neck gaiter to help block the sun’s harmful rays. On long rides, I can douse some ice water from my bottles on the gaiter and it helps keep me cool. Wear a gaiter with your helmet. They’re a good team.
Bicycles and vehicles share the road in many areas. Sometimes everyone gets along. Sometimes, accidents happen. When they do, helmets can help. Cyclists crashing for other reasons — a slick spot in the road, for example, or an animal encounter, or some other reason — also are the cause of numerous accidents. Many of the deaths involving cyclist are preventable, according to the National Safety Council.
According to the NSC: The number of preventable deaths from bicycle transportation incidents increased 6% in 2019 and have increased 37% in the last 10 years, from 793 in 2010 to 1,089 in 2019. At the same time, the number of preventable nonfatal injuries has declined 40%, from 515,861 in 2010 to 308,864 in 2019. However, the number of preventable nonfatal injuries did increase 7% in 2019 from 2018.
More accidents occur between the hours of 6-9 p.m. Presumably that’s because people are home after work, kids are riding in neighborhoods, and safety measures such helmets and lights on bikes are not used or not visible. I’ve seen numerous riders in our neighborhood wearing black shorts and top. Even in daylight, they blend into the surroundings. I have an obnoxous chartreuse shirt I wear, along with lights fore and aft. Now I’ve added a helmet, finally, and if the bike shop had an obnoxious chartreuse Bontrager Rally helmet I might have purchased it. I want to stand out to drivers.
I’m also searching for a new (to me) bike because the Trek 1200 isn’t a perfect fit. My local shop, Bicycle Cove, did a great job getting this one up to snuff with new tires, chain and maintenance. They helped me with sizing, but even with my bike’s seat raised a few inches it’s still not uber-comfy. Due to coronavirus supply chain disruptions, new bikes and deliveries are taking eight or more months. So I’ll make do with the one I have, keep searching, and maybe something will pop up that isn’t outrageously priced.
Whatever the case, I’ll have my Rally on my head. I know it will hold up no matter what I’m riding.