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Bike accessories

  • Is it time for a new bike helmet?

    A bike helmet doesn't last forever. That means if you want to protect your head as well as you can (and you should -- head injuries can be life-ending), you need to replace your helmet every few years.

    Bike helmet labelFirst and foremost, if you've ever been in a crash and the bike helmet has been involved in an impact, replace it -- even if you can't see any visible damage. Its structural integrity has probably been compromised.

    Most manufacturers will tell you to replace your helmet every 3 to 5 years. The label inside the helmet will tell give you the date when it was manufactured. Some even give you a "best by" date. Sunlight, temperature changes and moisture will take a toll on the helmet's materials, so it's smart to update every few seasons, even if it hasn't been involved in a crash.

    The label or a separate sticker will tell you if it's certified to meet CPSC, ASTM or Snell standards. Those are the most current safety regulations, so if it's not meeting one of those, it's time to for a change.

    If all else fails, use this test: Can you remember when you bought your current helmet? If not, you probably need to switch!


    To help your helmet last a little longer, read our easy Helmet cleaning tutorial!

    First and foremost, if you've ever been in a crash and the bike helmet has been involved in an impact, replace it -- even if you can">
  • Shedding some light on bike lights

    This time of the year, at least here in the northern hemisphere, the days are getting longer (hurrah!). So you may be asking why we would be writing about bike lights. You see, this time change (who's idea was this, anyway?) happens right when people in the snowy parts of the country are finally starting to thing about commuting to work by bike again. But suddenly, it's dark again at 7:30 a.m.! And that's one more reason to drive or take the bus.

    Well don't let the dark mornings be an excuse! All you'll need is a light or two or three, and you'll be sitting pretty.

    Since the sun is making it's way up, you probably don't need a ton of light on the path in front of you. Rather, the most important light you need is a safety light. Or even better, two or three safety lights. These affordable little bike lights make you visible to motorists and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

    Taillights

    Bike headlight-taillight combo

    Probably the most important safety light you can get is a big, bright bike taillight. These usually mount to the seatpost and feature multiple modes (steady, flashing, alternating, etc.). There are tons of great options out there, and a decent light can be purchased for around $20.

    Headlights

    On the front of the bike, a nice little handlebar-mount bike headlight is perfect for early mornings. When it's still mostly dark, it can work as a headlight, lighting the path in front of you. Then, as it gets lighter, you can put it on flashing mode to make drivers notice. These are very affordable and go for months on one set of batteries.

    If you want to save yourself some time, just get a headlight-taillight combo.

    To top it off, throw one or two flashing safety lights -- picture a Knog light -- around the frame. When it comes to riding in limited light, you can never be too careful!


    Check out our bike lights guide over at Bikewagon Community College for more information on choosing the best lights for your situation!

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