Thursday, April 10, 2014

Ride in the shade all day: Da Brim

Cyclists must fend off an ever-increasing flood of "essential accessories" all of which demand space on our handlebars, frame or in our pockets. Here's one you shouldn't ride without.

If your helmet provides imperfect crash protection, it offers virtually nothing at all in the way of sun protection. I live in coastal California where I can ride on just about on any day of the year. I draw the line at heavy rain; a few determined riders simply dress for it. But even when it does rain, balmy summery weather is rarely more than a week away. And then I really need sun protection well beyond the ribbon of shade that's provided by a clip-on helmet visor.

When it comes to skin protection, Physicians repeat a familiar mantra which cyclists should take seriously: sun exposure damage is cumulative and every little bit counts against you. Before you leave on a bike ride cover all exposed skin--including the scalp and especially the tops of the ears--with an SPF 30 or higher sun screen. Reapply every two hours.

The clip on visors that some helmets include are little more than cosmetic enhancements. A two inch ribbon of shade may cut a bit of glare if the sun angle is right, but don't count on a visor for skin protection, shade or significant glare reduction. For all that you need Da Brim.




This photo was taken on my Northwest tour last summer. As you can see the sun was directly overhead and there was no shade to be had anywhere except on my face, exactly where I wanted it. Thanks to Da Brim my whole face, ears and neck stayed out of the sun. This is the larger "Classic" model with a wide brim that provides 360 degree shade. The optional front stabilizer fastener is particularly useful for recumbent riders since it helps keep the larger unit in place on fast descents. I particularly appreciated the significant glare reduction that lasted all day long.


The smaller clip on version does a nice job shading your face. Steve Sipma (above) toured Washington and Oregon on his ultra light Bachetta wearing a Rezzo Helmet Visor


Noreeen Sipma managed to shade her whole face at midday with a Rezzo. Note the rider behind her had to put up with full sun on the face. And it was HOT!

Now I never ride without Da Brim. If it did nothing more than reduce glare, it would be worth your consideration. But it also provides useful protection from the sun--and looks cool too.