In general, design for bicycling helmets has gone the way of automotive design: uninspired, expressionless, sexless and, in some cases, downright dull. With cars, I’m guessing we’ve fallen prey to design by committee and data. Once upon a time, you could survey a parking lot and identify makes and models (and even years) from a distance. Not anymore. 

With bicycle helmets (like cars), it’s as if companies decided that safety comes with the sacrifice of aesthetics. In some cases, helmet design has transcended uninspired and dull and just fast tracked to strange-looking or straight-up ugly as fuck. Someone somewhere along the line decided that something sexy or merely attractive was forbidden. Other than foisting unattractive options onto consumers and flooding the market with bad design, I can’t figure out what helmet companies are thinking.

One company seems to have figured something out, though. After I unpacked my new Brompton, I took it for a ride downtown to Brompton Junction on Bleecker Street to see if it needed any post-shipping adjustments. As the service guy looked over my bike, I noticed the handsome helmets on the wall of the shop. They had a distinctly retro/moto design with an almost equestrian look. They came from a company called Thousand.

As I looked into them, I was pleased to see Thousand’s Heritage Bike & Skate Helmet in even more color options. There are matte finishes in black, navy, light blue, mint, red and others, as well as gloss finishes in silver, titanium, rose gold and gold, even with a little disco glitter. Fabulous.

Beyond the looks, they are safety certified, meeting U.S. CPSC and ASTM standards for bicycling, rollerskating and skateboarding. The ventilated helmets fasten with vegan leather straps and a pinch-free, German-engineered magnetic buckle. The fit can be custom adjusted. Nice nice. 

It’s rare when safety meets sexy. Thousand seems to have found the crossroads of the two ideas with a safety product that does the job with good style. In the spirit of rigorous honesty, I’ve never been able to say it until now: Those bike helmets are cool.

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