A few year ago we were looking for sun protection options while cycle touring. All that we could find in Australia were some Cancer Council helmet covers…
While we heartily encourage people in whatever unique clothing styles they may present, we could not bring ourselves to wear the Treadley Helmet Hat. To be fair, we were fairly hardcore lycra wearers, very conscious of wearing appropriate ‘cycling’ gear (my, how that has changed!) and so we went down the path of tiny cycling caps under our helmets and lots of zinc.
Neither of these worked all that well, (the cycling cap did protect Mick’s balding head, but wasn’t much good for anything else) as we cycled for hours a day during the hot and sweaty summer months on our eight week cycle tour.
Moving to tropical Townsville in North Queensland prompted us to look into cycling sun protection again, particularly once we became a car-free family and were riding around even more at all times of the day and struggling not to get sunburnt. There is only so much zinc cream you can apply in a single day!
These brims are not cheap. They retail for $65 for the full brim and $56 for the visor, but at least they work!
We have worn our Da Brims in all sorts of conditions, in serious headwinds, down Hervey Range hill doing 70 kilometres an hour and during rainstorms. The brim will stay on your helmet no matter what (unless it is mounted incorrectly, in which case it blows off the helmet – I know because it happened to me twice in the early days…in public…). We still wear sunblock because, just like any hat, if the sun is lower in the sky it can still shine on your face, and the glare reflecting off the road is enough to cause sunburn (again, proven by experience)
Our first trip down Hervey Range hill wearing the Classic version of the Da Brim was certainly an experience! The Classic is the largest version and provides amazing sun protection. Around town it works brilliantly. If it is windy the brim moves around a bit more, like a big hat, but as long as your helmet is well-fitting, this is not a problem. Flying down a big hill, however, is a different matter!
We set off down the hill on our tandem bicycle, and, as we usually do, rapidly reached high speeds…until we realised the Classic Da Brim was flapping like a wild thing up and down IN FRONT OF OUR EYES!
It’s fairly important that the front rider on a tandem can see where s/he is going, so this flapping was not a good thing! We braked a lot then, and made it to the bottom of the hill in one piece, with me having heart palpitations on the back of the bike.
Recommendation: do NOT wear the Classic Da Brim when going at high speeds!
Da Brim says the Classic version is rated to a combined wind speed of 25mph (about 40km/h), so we had severely tested it’s limits that day. The next time we rode down Hervey Range, I wore the Sporty Da Brim (smaller version and rated to 35mph (about 56km/h), but Mick persisted with his Classic Da Brim. This time we stuck to a more moderate speed of 60km/h and neither brim had any issues. It wasn’t particularly windy that day, so who knows if 60km/h downhill would have been as successful into a headwind.
I still love the Sporty Da Brim because I know it just sits there no matter what the wind speed. Mick still loves his Classic Da Brim because he gets the ultimate in sun protection and he is happy with how it operates up to about 60km/h (about all we get to when we’re cycle touring, and that’s downhill!).
There are other options for helmet brims, we know someone who made his own brim out of a garbage bin lid, and every now and again we come across someone who has formed some sort of brim out of an ice-cream container or an old straw hat. For our money though, the Da Brim is the best looking, best fitting, and most practical way of shielding our ears and face from the sun.
NB: we did not receive any Da Brim freebies for doing this post, and although we do sell Da Brim helmet brims so obviously want to promote them, we do it because we truly believe they are a useful and worthwhile piece of kit.