Helmet Hunting!

Last week an essential component of my bike helmet snapped in the cold, so on Sunday morning I set out in search of a new one. Armed with great advice from friends in Twittersphere, I consulted the list of local bike shops on the Capital VéloFest links page and chose as many I felt confident I could get to within a 1-1/2 hour ride, stops included. Many shops were closed Sunday morning which eliminated a few along the way. Here’s how it panned out.

First stop, Tommy & Lefebvre on Bank Street. No helmets. Still in ski mode.

Next stop, Kunstadt Sports on Bank. Slim pickings, none of which fit. The helpful fellow serving me promised more would be arriving within the next two weeks. He also suggested some folks use ski helmets in the winter because of the built in ear warmers. Interesting concept. I’ve become accustomed to the versatility of using a balaklava when required.

On my way west towards Wellington I was happy to discover this nicely packed footpath through Commissioners Park beside Dow’s Lake. Perfectly fine for biking as long as you are prepared to hop off and walk your bike on the side of the trail when encountering pedestrians coming the other way. Following this packed path allowed me to avoid biking down a good length of dangerous Carling Avenue.

Path through Commisioners Park
Path through Commisioners Park

Sherwood Avenue, which cuts diagonally through the Civic Hospital neighbourhood, is lined with impressive big old houses. In contrast, this more recent interesting design at Sherwood and Fairmount caught my eye. Love how it conforms to its angled property. The choice of exterior materials is also interesting, particularly the glazed plywood panels. I’m guessing the panels are designed to be easily removed should they require replacing, as glazed ply doesn’t always age nicely in our climate.

Modern house
Modern house

Next shop stop – Fresh Air Experience on Wellington. Again, limited selection as they too are still in ski mode. The fellow serving me did manage to retrieve a couple of Bell helmets from the basement which fit, however the slim pickings were making me contemplate putting off my helmet hunt until the spring. Then I got to … BUSHTUKAH!

Selection of helmets at Bushtakah (lots on the floor too)
Selection of helmets at Bushtukah (lots on the floor too)

Great selection of helmets, from some on sale to newly arrived models in the pricier range. I liked the fit and price of this Giro model, and this Bell model.

Giro vs Bell
Giro vs Bell

One more stop on my itinerary – Mountain Equipment Co-op. I was pleased to discover they have a fine selection as well. Not as extensive as down the street, but still lots to choose from. They definitely have the best selection of funky helmets, such as these shown below. I tried a black one on but it didn’t quite fit. Many others were equally as comfortable as those I tried on at Bushtakah, but none matched in price.

Fun MEC helmets
Fun MEC helmets

Kudo’s to MEC for keeping their bike racks cleared of snow.

MEC bike racks
MEC bike racks

I headed back to Bushtukah…..

Bushtakah bike racks
Bushtakah bike racks

In the end I chose the Bell helmet – equally comfortable to the Giro, and slightly more comfortably priced at $32. Wore it on my ride back along Scott Street and arrived home pleased as punch with my purchase.

Author: ottawavelo


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