Helmet Heads

There’s nothing nicer than a Sunday afternoon by the seaside, especially when the sidewalks and boardwalks are zooming with weekend athletes. A quick fashion check reveals pared-down clothing and elaborate head gear.

Richard Linde, a 64-year-old architect and 30-mile-a-day cyclist, chooses his head gear with safety in mind--a Bell helmet equipped with a rearview mirror by Third Eye. “I’d feel naked without it,” he says.

Thomas Murphy opts for musical accompaniment. The 25-year-old Santa Monica College student wears the abbreviated baseball cap preferred by cyclists and tops it with Sony’s digital FM headphones. “I listen to ‘Breakfast With the Beatles’ on KLSX,” he says.

At Bikecology, a Santa Monica shop, Ken Leibowitz reports that the most popular helmets are made by Giro, Bell and Specialized and priced from $60 to $100. Other hot accessories are Razor Blade sunglasses for $65, Cool Head visors, which attach to helmets with Velcro tabs, for $10 and Desente headbands for $8.


Surfers and skateboarders would never dress cyclist style; they have their own standards. At Becker Surf and Sport in Malibu, skateboarders favor $40 Pro Tec helmets. Some thrill-seekers spend an additional $300 customizing the helmet with lights and rechargeable battery packs. They wear it for night surfing, despite the physical dangers.

Shop spokesman John Jacobs says that, although there are nylon hats made specifically for the sport, surfers are more likely to wear T-shirts and bandannas tied around their heads when out of the water. “My brother was into that,” Jacobs said of the T as head wrap style. “He’d wear them till they got dirty, then he’d turn them inside-out and wear them on his head.”