My first helmet experience, after 10+ years riding without wearing one

When I started riding, I used cardboard in my socks and pants to protect my shins after reading on the
French forum that when we learn unicycling, we often hurt our shins with the pedals.

I quickly bought shinguards.

I used them while learning and didn’t use them anymore when I was comfortable (I went from a 20" to an offroad 29" in two months).

Then, I didn’t use any protective gears for years.

After falling on my wrists, but having no major injuries (it just hurt a bit for a couple of days), I bought wristguards I use for every ride after this fall.

I rode for years wearing only these wristguards.

These last few days, I thought about a helmet. I was riding more than usual on the road in town instead of the sidewalk.
I know two people that fell with helmets on, but their jaw hit the ground/sidewalk. One of them lost two teeth.

So I decided that I would go for a full face helmet. I also intend to put a camera to have a recordig just in case, but that’s not a priority.

@Maxence told me he has a Bell Super 3R Mips. Full face helmet, with an easily removable chin guard. He explained to me that it’s convenient because it can be removed or put back in seconds.

I didn’t thought much and ordered one even though it was expensive (170€).

For years, I was upset seeing parents with their kids with no helmet on, when I didn’t wear one myself.

As a unicyclist, kids often notice me, with or without their parents. It’s cool, but I always felt guilty not wearing a helmet in front of them.

I had fake excuses (in my head) for not wearing one for years: “it’s uncomfortable”, “it doesn’t look cool”, “it takes a room in your backpack/hands/whatever”, etc.

I used it for a town ride today and it felt great. It’s not heavy and not too hot, with very good lateral field of view.
The helmet is fairly comfortable. I still need to get used to removing and putting back the chin guard, but I have no doubt I’ll do it very quickly after a few weeks because the system is very convenient.

A detail: when you close the chin guards attachments, the sound is loud and just next to your ears. It made my ears go “iiiiiiiiiiii” a few times. It can be annoying if you have hearing issues. I have permanent bilateral tinnitus and hyperacusis. I try to close the attachments with my finger between the attachment and the helmet so I can close them more softly.

I feel more safe on the road and overall, but I think the greatest achievements are having overcome my fake excuses not to protect my head from injuries and finally being a good example to kids (and parents!).


Great write up here! And a nice way to introduce the topic of wearing a helmet.

I really did nearly laugh when I saw this come up on the forum - as I have just purchased the exact same helmet.

For those that know my tendency towards nervous riding at times, this will come as no surprise. But I decided it would be psychological helpful to wear a helmet with a chin bar like this when riding a geared unicycle.

I am not actually riding that fast but I have found when I do fall forwards I often last-minute over accelerate, and this at least has the feeling of making the sudden ‘flat on your wrists’ thud to the path in front feel more alarming and dramatic. So after a few too many shaken nerves from falls like that, I am so glad to be now riding with this kind of helmet.

Initially, I was worried I’d feel it was overkill for the timid riding I do on my schlumpfs - but I’ve realised it is actually essential. Being (sometimes) timid can in fact mean you’re likely to make more errors (from being too nervous) and this is when a fall can be bad. Once skill and confidence develop I find that you’re actually safer and unlikely to then fall due to a psychological block or tripwire - but then you’re likely to want to go faster, so at that stage the helmet comes into its own — in terms of protecting your face, which even at moderate speeds on a unicycle could come into contact with the tarmac or path!

So yes. This helmet may seem overkill, but in reality it isn’t and will probably help develop the wearer to be a better rider too.

And when not engaging in the ‘edge of your skill’ zone style riding, taking the chin bar off and strapping it to your bag is magical.


I know it’s better to be safe than sorry, but I find that helmet a bit overkill for daily riding, it looks like a motorcycle helmet. If your riding technical muni or single track mountain bike I say yes that would be the helmet. I personally ride in a much tamer environment than many members on this site. I wear a basic Schwinn helmet, probably not the best on the market but it is light and comfortable. I always wear wrist guards and have been forcing myself to wear my G Form knee pads of which I have the matching elbow pads that are seldom worn… The schwinn helmet I wear is probably ten years old and I consistently wear it while biking as well as unicycling and fortunately I have never had it need to prove it’s worth.


I am a huge fan of the Bell removable chin-bar helmets.

I normally remove my chin bar for riding on pavement, and wear it for Muni. However, I had a UPD on my 36” last weekend at a speed too fast to run out, which made me entertain the thought of the chin bar.

Another benefit of the helmet is that it comes with a Go Pro mount which I used as a light mount, since I do a lot of riding at night.


Wear your helmet and your other personal protection stuff. This video shows how fast a upd can happen


I love helmets and you should too. Who cares about being cool while riding a unicycle? Not I, neither should you.
A helmet of any adequate protection is a good idea IMO. A little money in whatever currency you use is a good investment for protective gear, even if it never gets tested in a real accident. Stay safe out there.


It’s my first helmet and the choice of a chin guard is mainly based on the experiences of my two friends who were injured when their jaw hit the ground.
That said, I had many injuries or other health issues these last years that will affect me for the rest of my life, and I slowly tend to lean on the overkill way. I don’t want to tempt fate, I’ve been unlucky enough (and I continue to be if I look at the medical exams I had 2 days ago)! :slight_smile:

But I completely understand your point. :+1:


My thoughts are with you and your health issues. Keep on riding.

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I have looked at the bell helmet closer. It is quite adaptable and with out the chin guard it looks much like a regular bike helmet. This video shows the helmets versatility.


One more observation. Terry Peterson is always Geared up with protective gear when he rides including protecting himself from the sun. I see he is even wearing rib protection since his accident.
We all respect Terry he sets a good example we all should follow.


Glad to see you have accommodated to this helmet!

I personally don’t use the chin bar on road anymore (not even when riding my clipless G36 :face_with_open_eyes_and_hand_over_mouth:), but I lace it onto my bag when going for Muni. If there is any difficult downhill section, it’s fast to retrieve from behind. Now, I know I wouldn’t buy a full face helmet anymore if the chin bar can’t be removed.

That is what i like about it, you don’t have to wear the chin guard all of the time.


This is how I wear it most of the time. It looks big when I look in a mirror, but people tell me it looks like a “normal” helmet.


I had a bad injury when I fell forward on a 36er at 20+kph. Broke my chin and upper lip, had quite a few stitches on my face. After that I bought a Fox Proframe. I put it on whenever I may ride fast. It’s very uncomfortable in the summer though, after every ride the pads are full of sweat.

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That’s your body producing victory juice. It just means you’re winning. Keep it up.


Maybe I should think about wearing a helmet. I don’t like helmets at all, especially in summer, when I almost collapse under them. So far I have only worn a helmet when going downhill (I very rarely ride downhill and when I do it at a low level and carefully). On my way to the unicycle warehouse (5km) or on excursions I never wear a helmet because I hate it. I’m probably an unreasonable cyclist too, I never wear a helmet there. The role model thing is of course true. Since I’m turning 55 this year and you’re supposed to get wiser with age, it might be an idea to get used to helmets too


After years of never riding with a helmet, I recently gave in to common sense and got myself a regular cycling helmet. I have to say, I dont regret it for a moment.


I was about to write the same, and when I think about it, I can’t find any good reason for which anyone could regret wearing a helmet anyway :smile:

The only regret I have is “I should have done it starting from day one” :stuck_out_tongue:


I have one: when I go for a training during lunch time, my helmet doesn’t dry until the evening. So, when I want to go somewhere else during the afternoon, I have to put my wet helmet on my head. That’s not the best feeling ever :stuck_out_tongue:


Don’t forget to clean and wash the padding in your helmet periodically. Helps maintain a good feeling when wearing it. Nobody likes a nasty smelling helmet…