As I get older, I know for a fact that my ears don’t work as well as they used to. Even sitting across a room from someone and getting every word clearly isn’t as easy as it used to be (darn Sonic Youth concert!!). When I’m on my bike and there’s wind noise, it’s even worse – that’s why I was eager to try Wind-Blox.
Part of my reason for mountain biking more lately are a couple of close calls with trucks buzzing me on the road. While they may not have been technically close, the “suddenness” of them being there shocked me. Being on the trail just felt safer.
This year, however, some friends have talked me into doing a charity ride later in the year. You can’t (completely) train for a century by riding off-road, so I’ll be needing to hit the road more often. I needed something to improve my hearing on the road (and I’m not quite ready for hearing aids).
You’ve probably seen Wind-Blox advertised in the back of your cycling magazine of choice.
Basically, Wind-Blox are soft fabric baffles that wrap around the front straps of a cycling helmet. The baffles are semi-rigid (though they are not the least irritating and you’ll never notice they’re there) and attach easily with velcro. Their purpose is to act like “spoilers” and direct the wind out and around your ears, lessening wind noise and allowing you to hear cars and your riding partners. The claim is that they block 80% of wind noise. I don’t know about that, but it was easier for me to hear what was going on around me.
I used mine on a Limar Ultralight helmet (my road lid of choice), but Wind-Blox should work on any helmet.
If you’re fashion conscious, don’t worry. They come in colors to match your helmet and they’re small enough that they look like they’re part of the straps. I tested the longer Wind-Blox Pro version ($18), but the (shorter) classic original version goes for $15.
Both can be ordered directly from the Wind-Blox website.