I’m a big fan of protecting my brains. I never, ever, EVER, ride without a helmet. It’s just not worth the risk.
That being said, I don’t always replace my helmet as often as I ought to (ie, after every fall when the helmet makes contact with something or every five years on principle). Currently, I’m riding in a nasty old Tipperary that I’ve had for about two years. And *dun dun DUUUUN-gasp!* I’m the second owner. Cue sheepish shrug. Not to mention, I’ve accidentally dropped it on the ground twice in the past week. Plus the smell and sunscreen stains are enough to turn anyone’s stomach.
So I finally sat down and ordered a new helmet. I generally prefer the “fitted” helmets that are snug and secure the second you put them on. My first two or three helmets were the dial fit schoolers, but the dials usually broke after a few years and they just didn’t feel as secure on my head. The Troxel Intrepid caught my eye. I like the fact that it’s fitted to your head with an elastic adjustment method. The sleek, professional appearance and well-placed vents are great, but the real clincher was the self-buckling harness. There is a magnet in the buckle, so you can easily buckle your helmet in the saddle with one hand and you won’t have to struggle with bulky gloves.
I also got the Horseware Air Stretch Chap. I think they will be really good for riding this summer, when my calves are always sweating through the leather grips. The fitting charts were a little squirrelly, but they actually fit really well. I love how light and well ventilated they are. They aren’t your usual suede schooling chap, but they seem to be fairly sturdy.