“You should see his new move!” I was on the phone with my family on the other side of the country, and this was the update of my 6-year-old cousin's latest and greatest bicycle moves. “He goes ripping down the driveway, jams on the brake, and lays down these sweet skids!”
As the designated bicycle lifer in our gene pool (29 of my 32 years have been shaped by two-wheeled fun and work), I get every bicycle update from every branch of the family tree. And to hear that one of our youngsters is headed down a potential lifetime of bicycle shenanigans, well, that filled my heart with joy. And amid such joy, I will always feel compelled to pass the torch to anyone willing to stick out their hand.
That’s when the idea hit me: If the little man started throwing down skids, maybe it’s time for a new protective lid. “Do you think he’d like a new helmet for the holidays?” I inquired. “Ohhhhh would he ever!” Came the reply.
And so began the tale of how and why I bought my 6-year-old cousin a MIPS-equipped Lazer Helmet. At the mention of his foray into dare-devilness, my mind zoomed to protection. Lazer offers MIPS options on all of its adult helmets, but even cooler is the fact that the Gekko and Lil’ Gekko kid’s models come with MIPS options as well. (MIPS is an added layer of protection that helps reduce the rotational forces during a crash, and that reduction has been shown to better protect against the risk of concussions. More on that here.)
Since the little man spends most of his time riding around in the woods, an MTB style would also have more protection and those all-important style points. Let's face it: the spandex look and aero obsession doesn't set in for at least a few more years.
So, it would be MIPS, no doubt, but we had to figure out which size. Kids' helmets are built for the smaller heads of children, but that doesn't mean every six-year-old head is created equal. In fact, the little skid master had a noggin far beyond his years, 22 inches according to the tape measure. So, rather than squeeze him into the upper limit of the kids’ line, the adult small would actually have a perfect fit that would also grow with his head.
With sizing, style, and protection picked out, we then narrowed it down to a Chiru MIPS, a full coverage MTB trail helmet that benefits from trickle-down features from the top-of-the-line technology. I started sending photos of the available colors to his parents:
Basic black or white? Too plain for that youngster’s brain. How about red like his favorite fire-breathing Pokémon? Getting warmer but still not quite...
How about the electric blue? Ohhhh, now that’s cool. That will definitely do.
And so, blue it would be. Good enough for him and for me. An adult helmet offered in graphics with enough flair to excite a young mind, with MTB style that he wouldn't grow out of.
With the perfect size, style, and color picked out, off the helmet went in the mail, ready to be opened during the holiday season. A lid fit for every skid that this kid could throw at it. A helmet to keep him safe, as he explores every new adventure that a two wheeled life has to offer.