Can't get your kid to wear a bicycle helmet? Want to stand out in the crowd of 8,000 cyclists at next year's RAGBRAI?
Nogin Sox might solve your problem. The Temecula, CA, outfit makes soft-foam helmet covers in several styles — screamin' frog (right), T-Rex, ladybug, spiked mohawk, exposed brain, or nail head.
It's said that desperation is the mother of invention, and that explains how these helmet covers came to be.
I exchanged some emails with the one of the owners, Kevin Bouchez. He explained that his brother came up with the idea several years ago from the need to get his daughter to wear a helmet. Kevin got involved about five years.
“I personally mold the figures out of clay and then send the completed master mold, completely painted, to my manufacturer. The result is a soft-foam nurf-ball like cover that hopefully encourages kids/adults to wear a helmet.”
The Bouchez brothers have been getting a lot of press on this lately, which is how I stumbled across it. The product's website was tagged under “cycling” on Del.icio.us. After seeing the different styles, my first thought was, “These helmets can't possibly be safe,” and I shot off an email to see if they had Snell or Consumer Product Safety Commission approval.
Kevin is one patient dude. He didn't ask (which I wouldn't have blamed him), “What part of COVER don't you understand?” Instead he wrote that they sell covers that are designed to be attached by soft velcro tabs to any sports helmet. He continued:
“Since they are covers and not helmets, we are not required to conform to any test standards. We've had a few discussions with the engineers from CPSC and they generally like the Nogin Sox product and if it makes kids put a helmet on instead of leaving it in the garage, then it's a good thing.
“We also designed Nogin Sox to come off when hit with resistance to allow the helmet do it's job.”
How much press have they been getting lately? While I was exchanging emails with Kevin, Cyclelicious had published an item about them, crediting Cycledog who found them at BoingBoing, which linked from Wired Magazine.
Kevin said they've been at two major shows so far, the New York Toy Fair and the Interbike expo in Las Vegas. “We had great response at both shows and we're gearing up for what may lie ahead,” he wrote.
I'd suggest “RoadKill” helmet cover, but some guy actually attached road kill to his helmet for talent night at Cycle Across Maryland one year and got booed off the stage.