This article in CyclingTips answers those burning questions about whether it’s OK to ride with a non-Australian standards helmet. Short answer is that in some situations it might be, but in others it isn’t. To be on the safe side you’d be wise to think seriously about only using Australian standards certified models. The only way to get more clarity on this would be to get a detailed legal analysis, but this is the best assessment of the facts that I’m aware of. A friend recently told me that he’d heard stories of people wearing non-Australian certified helmets being pulled from races by the scrutineers. Another story I heard suggested that you might not be covered by insurance if you were injured while wearing a non-Australian standards helmet, something that is reiterated in the CyclingTips article.
Interestingly, I’ve always thought that the straps on my UK-certified Aeon loosened way too easily - they need to be tightened up before each ride, and slip quite a bit during the ride just due to the gentle movement of the helmet. Presumably the decision by Giro to use really lightweight straps was to shave a few grams. I’ve always doubted whether this would pass the Australian standards. Indeed, my new Aeon has thicker straps, like those on other Aust-standards helmets I’ve seen, which do not slip when you tug at them. Seems like a smart improvement for the sake of a few grams.
A great lights review by Bicycle Network (Australia) published in Ride On magazine & May 2013.
And a summary of the results, including a few surprises. For instance I have the Moon Comet rear and reckon its’ the best rear light I’ve used or seen on other bikes (ie in real life conditions), hands down. Super bright, compact, light, and well designed.
Very helpful article for the uninitiated
Having gone to the trouble of buying a 29 er MTB bike so that I could go riding with my mates, and having heard so much about the great trails at the You Yangs, I decided the time was finally right to make the trip out there (meaning, in a few weeks the kids hockey season would start and the degree of difficult would massively increase). My last MTB ride had left me a bit battered in the confidence department following my spectacular cartwheeling tumble down the steep Yarra River embankment, so it was with some trepidation that I rolled out of the Stock Yards car park. Along for the ride were just a few beginners like myself (err, not) including expert MTB racers and general hard nuts Captain Cam Wells, Bruce Dickie, Steve Munyard (training for the Nationals at Bright in a few weeks), Nick Huntington (2nd in his age group at the Duael recently) and Rusty Russ Sargent.
Russ and Cam looking the part.
The Youies are a fantastic place to ride your MTB, with trails catering from beginners to the advanced, and then on into stupid territory (ie not recommended for anything but a downhill bike). I was quickly reminded that I have quite a long way to go to master the basic skills, like keeping up in the sandy berms and rapid changes of direction as we wound our way through the gum trees. Worse was to come, of course, with some fairly technical descents down the ‘single’ black diamond runs over weathered boulders and slabs of rock. To my relief Cam did admit that some of the rocky sections are “reasonably gnarly”, so the fact that I didn’t fall off and smash bike or bones made it seem like quite an achievement. Added to this, I could notice a discernable improvement in my skills as the morning progressed, with numerous rocky sections I had earlier in the day dismounted and walked over being ridden over, if not at a great pace. It certainly helped to follow close behind the others and see the lines they took, although part of the problem here was simply keeping up. Loads of fun, and lots more to learn…
Nick ready to roll.
Portland got a few inches of snow. Most of the city freaked out and stockpiled their necessities, but some of us are from places where this is normal. Where snow is just something you embrace as part of life in winter. We got stoked and rode bikes.