Noob Mistake: Helmet on Backwards

It’s spring. In most parts of the country anyway. And that means organized rides are springing up all over. Lots of noobs turn out for their first organized rides ever, and they make their share of mistakes. Here’s one that I noticed a few years ago.

I was walking across a parking lot toward the ride start, when I passed a couple also headed in that direction. They were obvious first-timers. As I looked at the woman, something struck me as odd. She had the weirdest looking helmet I’ve ever seen.

Except on closer inspection, it wasn’t the helmet at all — that turned out to be a fairly common variety. It was the way she wore it. The black scalloped rear was facing forward.

“Your helmet is on backward,” I said quietly, as I walked past them.

She stopped, pulled off her helmet, and stared at it.

“It is? On backward? How can you tell?” she asked.

“The smooth part goes in the front,” I replied. “It’s more aerodynamic that way.”

She looked at her husband. He looked back and shrugged. She turned the helmet around and put it back on, the right way.

She’s not the first I’ve seen making that mistake. Lots of people figure that since the helmet slopes down in the rear, and had lots of openings that must suck in air, that’s the front.

This is not the front.
This is not the front.
This is the front.
This is the front.

But as we all know from basic physics, the airfoil shape of an aircraft wing is rounded in front, and tapers toward the rear.

I can understand why a noob might be confused.
I can understand why a noob might be confused.

If you see a newbie looking extra dorky on a ride this spring, come to their rescue. Show them the proper way to wear a helmet.

Comments

  1. says

    A lady who works in my office rode a new bike for months with the forks facing the wrong way, mudguards and all. It was packed in the box like that to save space. All she did was straighten the handlebars and off she went. It must have been an unusual balance thing going on there.

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