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Helmets and Heat

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Old 06-22-11, 07:58 PM
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TomD77
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Helmets and Heat

Out on the ride later than usual two days in a row, not very late but a hour and some. It makes a big difference since I get back close to noon rather than my usual 10 to 10:30. The temps here have dropped from the 100's to mid 90's over the past week but the humidity has come waaaay up, it feels worse.

Today I felt like I was at my temperature limit and sweat was pouring from under my helmet. I took it off and immediately felt like the temp had dropped 10 degrees. I wear a sweat wicking Halo skullcap under the helmet but there's not enough airflow to begin to evaporate. Looking at my helmet, $25 from Pacific Cycle, it looks like it has maybe 30% air openings, way less that the helmet shown on a banner ad from theCLYMB on the right as I type this.

At 17 months now as a almost always solo cyclist, I'm still a newcomer to the sport and there's a lot I don't know. Do helmets exist where maximum air openings are a primary design factor?
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Old 06-22-11, 08:04 PM
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I pour Ice water on my head and neck when the temps pass 94*.
Helmets come with more vents, but that lets more sun shine on your head.
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Old 06-22-11, 08:23 PM
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I wear a thin bandanna under my helmet that flows out over the back of my neck, which helps to keep the sun off my neck. I also pour water over my helmet and bandanna.
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Old 06-22-11, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
I pour Ice water on my head and neck when the temps pass 94*.
Helmets come with more vents, but that lets more sun shine on your head.
Not really except(maybe) for when the sun is directly overhead. Otherwise, the narrow and deep vents block the sun and insulate from the heat. I feel the sun more without a helmet.
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Old 06-22-11, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
Helmets come with more vents, but that lets more sun shine on your head.
Not with a white skullcap.
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Old 06-22-11, 08:58 PM
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Yes, some helmets have much greater air flow than others. They tend to cost more.
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Old 06-22-11, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by TomD77 View Post
At 17 months now as a almost always solo cyclist, I'm still a newcomer to the sport and there's a lot I don't know. Do helmets exist where maximum air openings are a primary design factor?
Try this: http://www.louisgarneau.com/in-en/pr.../QUARTZ_HELMET

Living as I do in south Louisiana where high temperatures and high humidity combine, I consider helmets with lots of big, functional vents essential. Heat stroke can be life-threatening and IS a real possibility here in the Deep South during the Summer months.
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Old 06-22-11, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
Yes, some helmets have much greater air flow than others. They tend to cost more.
But they're worth it!
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Old 06-23-11, 03:34 AM
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Originally Posted by ciocc_cat View Post
But they're worth it!
I think so.
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Old 06-23-11, 04:51 AM
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I have two helmets in use. One for my commute to work and the other for recreational riding (Why, you might ask. Because of where I work my appearance stepping right off the bike is important. The first helmet keep my hair neater). There is a very noticeable difference in how well they keep me cool. They have similar designs, but one channels air through it much more effectively. And, you guessed correctly that the one that keep my hair neater is the warmer one that doesn't channel air quite as well.

You might want to check this site for consumer reviews of helmets. http://www.roadbikereview.com/cat/cl...s_1636crx.aspx
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Old 06-23-11, 05:51 AM
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Cheaper helmets have vents that are wide on the outside, but narrower inside, so less air gets through.

And look for a helmet with inside channels from front to back. Cross ribs are raised up from the head, so the air flow isn't blocked.

For example, a Bell Ghisallo. The only parts touching the head are the red padded ribs, and the back adjustable strap.




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Old 06-23-11, 08:05 AM
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I use this helmet http://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/41304?feat=8207-GN2 I had a gift card to spend, and needed a new helmet. Any way, the vents are big, and the air flow is very good, you can feel the air moving across your head. In the winter it is too good, my head will get cold if I don't have a liner. The rententioni system is very good also, it adjusts with a small dial, it fits well. For the price, this is a terrific helmet.
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Old 06-23-11, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by bluesdawg View Post
yes, some helmets have much greater air flow than others. They tend to cost a lot more.
fify
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Old 06-23-11, 08:38 AM
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http://www.giro.com/us_en/atmos.html will cure hot head. It is expensive.
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Old 06-23-11, 08:48 AM
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I think my helmet (A Bell Volt) keeps my head cooler than no helmet. Big vents, and keeps a lot of sun off my head. As a bonus, it doesn't weigh much either.
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Old 06-23-11, 08:59 AM
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I've been buying helmets that were rated by users as having good ventilation. I ride in the mid 90's sometimes with high humidity (gulf coast) and the helmets do very well.

The key is to build up ones heat tolerance. As one becomes acclimated, the blood volume increases, more areas of the skin perspire and perspiration volume increases. The better one's condition/adaptation the more water (and salt, I use a quarter teaspoon/liter for those conditions) you need to drink. One's thirst does not increase with perspiration volume and actually diminishes with age, so you have to force yourself. If you get thirsty, it's already too late.

They do allow the road racers to pitch their helmets for the last climb if the finish is at the top.

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Old 06-23-11, 02:42 PM
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I have a couple of well ventilated helmets and I still sweat a lot. I keep the sweat from running down the face with a cotton cycling cap. Does several things-Absorbs sweat that is then rapidly evaporated as it is made of cotton-- stops sunburn and when riding with the peak at the back keeps the sun off the back of the neck. Then in winter I still use it as the well ventilated helmets freeze the head, Cap on and I keep warm enough.
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Old 06-23-11, 04:31 PM
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I agree completely with those who say that a good helmet is actually cooler than no helmet. Just back from riding a week in Hawaii. Deep tan and sunburn on arms and legs, but my head didn't feel a thing! I use Bell Volts, normally about $180, but I got last year's models for under $100 each. I think the only difference is the color. So I didn't get this year's colors. Big deal. (I like having a couple of helmets so you never have to put on a sweaty helmet!)

Maybe cheap helmets are hotter, false economy. Plus your head is probably worth putting into a top-of-the-line helmet. I'd say don't be afraid to splurge on a really good helmet!

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Old 06-23-11, 06:00 PM
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Just bought a Bell that has all sorts of reviews noting the great ventilation. Thanks for the help everyone.

In response to alcanoe about the necessity of building heat tolerance, I agree. I have been riding almost every day for 17 months, for around 2 hours a day on average. Good thing too, take someone not used to it and put them out here in mid-90's and up in very high humidity and work them to 75%-90% heart rate for two hours and it would be life threatening.
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Old 06-23-11, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
I pour Ice water on my head and neck when the temps pass 94*.
Helmets come with more vents, but that lets more sun shine on your head.
Used Ice Water today in two bottles for the last 20 miles..Sunny with Temp to 98*



Even yard decorations required help..

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Old 06-23-11, 06:44 PM
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I like a white, or mostly white helmet. Reason: It's visible at night, and it does seem to reflect some of the sun's energy away during the warm months.
The original poster is in Florida, where the humidity is always a concern.

Taking the helmet off and dosing your head with cold water when it is nasty hot and humid sound like a plan to me.
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Old 06-23-11, 07:44 PM
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I also live and ride in Florida and I can understand the OP's reason for not wanting to wear a helmet. Although he already bought a different one with more vents, I think I will post just to give my opinion. I have a Specialized helmet that is all silver in color and I wear it on all my rides. Silver and white reflect heat better than other colors. Black absorbs heat better than any color along with other dark colored helmets so I stay away from those. Another thing I use is a thick sweatband that I picked up at Walmart for two bucks. Where I normally ride, they have water stations every 2 miles that are always filled with cold water. When I really get heated, I soak the sweatband in the cold water and put it back on. It cools me down for quite a while and I repeat if necessary. When not in the park, I stop at a fast food place drive-thru and ask them if they will put some cold water in a container so I can soak the sweatband. I haven't been turned down yet.
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Old 06-23-11, 08:04 PM
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Tom, I wonder about the skull cap.

Do you wear your hair short or have no hair to wear?

I'd lose that layer of insulation unless it's for the sun.

In high heat I ride with plain ice water and a big, old, soft cotton bandanna. As the heat and humidity increases the bandana gets more and more important.

In the last few days ( I'm near Savannah, GA where it's very hot, humid and under a smoke haze from wildfires right now) I start my ride with a prewetted bandana around my neck. As I ride I not only drink the ice water in my Polar bottles but squirt little ice water blasts on my neck. The bandana spreads the cool for a while and then I'll use the cool damp bandana to wipe my face.

Was riding my singlespeed yesterday and threw the chain.

After I put the chain back on the bandana served as a handwipe.

But a good middle of the road helmet and especially a higher end one probably will keep your head cooler as you ride, wick more sweat away and offer a certain amount of insurance that a bare head will. Spend as much on your helmet as you will on a nice pair of shoes.

Another thing about the ice water. Since there's no sugars you can just dose your head through the helmet for instant cool. No messy clean up.
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Old 06-23-11, 08:10 PM
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I have a black helmet. The styrofoam is about an inch thick, and is a very good insulator. I don't think the heat gets through the foam at all. Lots of light colored helmets have dark gray or black foam in the vents, anyway.

I've noticed the heat tolerance adaptation, too. If I'm working in the yard, sweat pours off me. But the airflow evaporates the sweat when I'm riding. I can't stand around out in the sun, but can bike in it with no problems.

My headsweats shorty in white keeps the sun off my scalp, and soaks up and evaporates sweat very well. I still drip on hot climbs, though.


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Old 06-23-11, 08:25 PM
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I use an ear band(from skiing)that keeps the sweat outta my eyes,but letsthe air circulate and dry the rest of the head,,,Bud

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