If you're like a lot of Minnesotans, it's time to dust off the bike, put air in the tires, and get ready to hit the trails.
Before you do all that, you want to make sure you have the right helmet.
Comfort, style, price, and safety are a few of the things to consider when shopping for a bike helmet.
Almost all helmets today have a foam shell that's designed to compress on impact and protect bikers from blunt force trauma and brain injury, so you don't have to break the bank for the sake of safety.
"Price does not equal protection," says Ben Hoffman, who's the assistant store manager at Erik's Bike Shop in St. Louis Park. "All helmets are going to meet the same standards set by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission."
So, how do you look good while protecting your melon? We took a look at two popular styles: performance and casual helmets.
"A performance helmet optimizes a few different things. Generally, they are pursuing light weight, high degree of fit adjustability, and a good amount of ventilation," says Hoffman.
On the other hand, a casual helmet won't have all those features. Hoffman says they hit a better price point, appeal to a broader audience, and are typically a little heavier.
When it comes to comfort, he says the performance helmets will feel better because of the weight and fit.
The safety though, "is pretty much identical," Hoffman says.
When purchasing a helmet, remember that it's not a lifetime investment.
Hoffman says that over time the helmet foam will lose it's density, so most helmets will be good for 5 to 7 years.