The most important accessory by far is a helmet. According to the IIHS about 2% of traffic fatalities are cyclists. Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of serious head injury by 50%. Helmets range from about $40-$300. Any helmet sold in a reputable bike shop will offer a good amount of protection, even the $40 versions. (add a helmet product here) Higher end helmets use more expensive higher density foam and lighter materials. They also come sized like clothing so they tend to be more ergonomic and comfortable. (link high end helmet product here) If you live in a warmer climate, splurging on a helmet can make your ride more enjoyable as lighter helmets tend to be well ventilated. (link light weight helmet here)
1. What is the climate like where you live?
The cute round or fashionable helmets might provide little to no ventilation. If you live in the deep south or other temperate climates, consider the ventilation properties of the helmet.
2. How does the padding and strapping mechanism feel?
If it is uncomfortable in the store, it will not be comfortable when you get it home! Try on several sizes and styles of helmets to find something that feels best.
3. Last but not least: Style
If you are riding with a club or other group, does the helmet go with your club or team’s colors?
Pro-Tip: Look like a PRO Cyclist-- If you are buying a road bike, consider a helmet without a visor. Most helmets with visors are considered a mountain bike helmet. Even though it is silly, showing up to your first road bike ride on an expensive road bike and a mountain bike helmet gives you away as a novice.