De-Fredification: Trim Your Helmet Straps

Since the weather has warmed up, I’ve seen more riders than I can count on the local roads.  From cruisers to single speeds, slick road machines to mountain bikes, I’ve noticed one common element among a great many of them: dangling helmet straps.  For some reason, they drive me up a wall: the ends of helmet straps dangling in the breeze, flapping around when descending, blowing up into your mouth…besides all of that, nothing says “fred” like dangling helmet straps.  So take about 5 minutes of your life and fix those straps, eh?  This brand of de-fredification is easy, and I’ll show you how to go about it:

Measure twice

Since you’ll be lopping off a couple of inches of your helmet straps, it behooves you to measure properly before you go slicing and dicing, only to find that you didn’t leave enough to buckle the helmet on.  You’ll want to measure the strap at it’s longest; this means if you wear a winter cap or some other head gear under the helmet, set the strap length for when you wear that thickest headgear.  As far as tightness, you’ll want to be able to open your mouth completely and not have the strap choking you or digging into your jaw, so consider that when setting the length.  Basically, it should be snug enough to only fit your index finger under once properly adjusted.

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Now that you have set the length properly, you’ll want to determine how much to chop off.  This is easy to do: simply pull the loose ends snug and slip them under the little retainer band that most helmets come with.  (If you don’t have one, get a small rubber o-ring and slip it over the buckle, using it to hold the loose ends down.)  I like to leave an inch or two of extra strap for future expansion, usually due to buying  heavier head gear requiring me to loosen the straps a bit.

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Cut once

Using a good sharp pair of kitchen shears makes this job much easier.  You can even use a razor blade if you wish, but kitchen shears make the job much easier.  Either way, slide the little retainer band towards the buckle a half inch, grab the end of the loose strap and snip away the excess.  But now the end of the straps are loose and will fray, right?

Wrong.

torch ’em

That’s right….set them on FIRE!  Or, more correctly, just singe the ends of the loose straps with a lighter (or in this case a butane grill igniter) to melt the nylon cords together and create that nice, smooth cap on the end of the strap.

Now they won’t dangle, and they won’t fray.  Win/win!  Oh, and you’ll look a whole lot better (maybe more classy?) without a couple inches of strap smacking you in the mouth on ever descent.  Extra win!  So be good to yourself, spend five minutes trimming your helmet straps and tidy up a bit.

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De-Fredification: Trim Your Helmet Straps

After graduating from Ithaca College with a degree in Exercise and Sport Science/Pharmacology, I continued my education with a doctorate of Chiropractic from New York Chiropractic College. As I progressed through my education, I was able to apply the concepts I learned in the lab to my own daily workouts and goals. At the time, I was following some of the principles of traditional coaching and getting mediocre results. Frustrated, I realized that if I could apply all my physiology, chemistry, nutrition and training knowledge, I could “build a better mousetrap” not just for my own training, but for other athletes. With this goal in mind, I started Tailwind Coaching, to help cyclists [with busy lives and limited training time] become stronger, faster, fitter and healthier. And while I may not be a ex-ProTour rider, an Olympic Coach or even a prolific race winner, I am something that most coaches are not: a regular guy just like you who has a job, a family and a desire to be a stronger cyclist.

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