Bicyclists – Shade Your Face, Eyes, and Neck From the Hot Sun With a Wide-Brimmed Helmet

The hot summer sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays can harm certain bicyclist's face, neck, and eyes with dehydration, sunburn, skin allergies and diseases, visual impairments, and other potential damages if not protected. Such damages are costly for that minority of bicyclists who like to ride, but who burn easily or are mildly susceptible to the hot sun. For them, the head / neck wraps, helmet capes or covers, narrow helmet visors, sunscreen lotions, and sun glasses alone do not give enough face and head protection. Since a bicycle helmet prevents head injury during crashes, why not use it to prevent the injuries mentioned above, particularly for those who need it? A wide-brimmed helmet will completely shade a bicyclist's face, eyes, and neck from the sun during daytime riding.

This brimmed helmet is fairly easy to make. One can simply attach the relatively stiff brim from a well-made two-or-more-ply summer hat to his or her helmet, or to a slightly bigger one in size as needed. Summer hats can be found at several Internet websites or in local stores. The helmet size itself depends on how much headroom is left after the brim is attached to it with Velcro strips to obtain the desired comfort and safety standards. Many chinstraps are attached to the upper inner part of the helmet; thus, they do not interfere with the addition of the brim. However, one should check with the helmet's manufacturer to see if attaching a 360-degree fairly stiff but pliable brim to it will void its warranty, or will interfere with its function in any way. In any case, the brimmed helmet can be returned to its original condition by unfastening the brim, and by removing the Velcro strips from the helmet's inner band.

My helmet has a four-inch-wide fairly stiff brim attached to it. The wider and stiffer the brim is, the more all-around shade it provides. But it must bend flexibly if you crash or hit your head. The brim also has a slight downward slope to it, which protects the lower face and neck much like a safari or jungle helmet will. Because the rider is generally leaning forward with his / her head raised slightly, the brim not only protects the front and sides of the face and neck, it also protects the back of the neck while allowing all of these areas to ventilate at the same time .

How to make the helmet

1. Cut off the top part of the summer hat selected with a sharp scissors, leaving the sweatband (about one-inch) in place above the brim.

2. Remove any soft-foam strips from the inner band of the helmet.

3. Attach several compatible self-stick Velcro strips horizontally to the inner band of the helmet and to the outer band of the hat brim.

4. Fasten the brim snugly into the helmet by matching the Velcro strips atop each other.

5. Reattach any soft foam strips to the inner band of the helmet after the brim is in place.

Additional options

1. To stiffen the front of the brim slightly, find a thin piece of fairly rigid plastic that has a 90-degree bend at one of its edges, eg, a cutout from one side of a small plastic case. Cut a four-inch-square section of it, keeping a one-inch-deep, two-inches-wide 90-degree bend at one end. Attach this piece to the lower front part of the brim, allowing the 90-degree bend to fit into the helmet and over the contour of the inner band. This plastic piece will firm up the front crease between the hat's brim and band (more about that later). Place a thin foam strip over the 90-degree portion atop the helmet's front inner band.

2. If desired, install a breathable cloth liner into the inner upper part of the helmet to prevent the scalp from sunburning through the helmet's vent holes. First, remove the soft foam strips from the inner upper part of the helmet. Then use double-stick tape or glue to attach the measured precut lining there. Replace the foam strips where they were.

The Velcro strips holding the brim in place give slight cushion to the inner band of the helmet, but they can reduce the helmet's size slightly, causing it to fit tighter. If it fits too tight in this manner, use shorter strips of Velcro. Or, attach the brim to a slightly larger helmet (an alternate one for hot sunny days). If necessary, to prevent the front of the brim from bending down and obscuring your vision while riding at high speed or against a strong wind, attach a thin piece of fairly rigid sheet-plastic to the front of it with glue, staples, or by whatever means is available (see optional step 1 above). Additionally, if a rider is bald or has thinning hair, the inner upper part of the helmet can be lined with a breathable material to shade the scalp. Otherwise, the brimmed helmet is now completed.

For the best all-around sun protection, use the brimmed helmet jointly with sunglasses and sunscreens. Also, to further shade-protect the rest of one's body skin, wear breathable long-sleeved, long-fingered, long-legged bicycling clothing. These combined safety measures drastically reduce the harmful effects of the hot sun's UV-rays, which could include a lifetime of fighting malignant melanoma and several other aggressive / chronic carcinomas, rashes, hives, and dermatitis's, or the spending of $ 20,000 per surgery to have benign skin lesions carefully removed. These effects make a small investment in a brimmed bicycle helmet worthwhile.