When I attended IMBA’s Great Lakes Summit back in June, Aaron Rogers, president of the Copper Harbor Trails Club and Trails Specialist with IMBA Trail Solution showed a video about the IMBA Bronze-level Ride Center that had just opened in Copper Harbor, Michigan.
Bike magazine included the video in a June 22 article titled Andrew Shandro at Bronze-Level IMBA Ride Center Opening In Copper Harbor, MI. Aaron Rogers was quoted in the article:
We’ll be building medium- and small-sized jump trails–Flying Squirrel trail is considered a large-sized jump trail–as well as a true flow track to increase our scoring.
Some of those guys going down the Flying Squirrel jump trail in that video (as well as another one here) are wearing full-face helmets. And so when I started experimenting with the jumps at the Lexington Ave. Pump and Jump Park, it occurred to me: I’m going to like doing this. I want to ride that trail at Copper Harbor. But I don’t want to end up in a hospital bed, paralyzed, thinking ‘Dang! I should have purchased a full-face helmet.’
When I started poking around the intertubes, I discovered that there are new helmets equipped with the Multi-directional Impact Protection System technology, or MIPS.
This June article in Mountain Bike Review titled POC and MIPS Collaborate on New Styles sums it up nicely:
The Multi-Directional Impact Protection System, MIPS, was developed by a Swedish neuroscientist to improve protection from oblique impacts to the head. Concussions and brain injuries are often caused by angled head impacts that create rotational violence to the brain, causing strain on the brain tissue.
MIPS utilizes either a low friction layer on the inside of the helmet liner for inmold helmets or a low-friction layer between the outer shell and liner for hard shell/two piece helmets to absorb much of the energy created by both unilateral or oblique blows to the head.
By mimicking the brain’s own protective mechanisms, MIPS can significantly minimize brain injuries in connection with angled impacts and rotational violence. The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) of Sweden has conducted tests concluding MIPS helmets can significantly minimize brain injuries.
One of my local bike dealers, Mike Bikes here in Northfield, gave me a great deal (considerably better than anything I could find online) on the Cortex DH Helmet from POC (full list price $500). QBP had it in stock and shipped it to Mike’s within two days.
I know, pricey. And more helmet than I really need for my current skill level. (There are other MIPS helmets on the market that aren’t full-face, so shop around.) But when it comes to protecting my geezerly body, I’d rather err on the side of too much.
If I can get the hang of doing the beginner table-top jumps at Lex and Leb, I’ll start wearing the helmet. I’m hoping to get to Copper Harbor this fall.
Other article links:
- March Gizmag: Helmets inspired by brain fluid to offer better impact protection
- Feb. GearJunkie: New Type of Sports Helmet Mimics ‘Brain Fluid’ to Protect