We like to work with other local companies wherever possible, and one of our favourites has to be Dashel. Temple's own Pam Cottrell explains why you should know about Dashel's unique range of cycling helmets.
It's not often that we ask as much of an item of clothing as we do of a cycle helmet - we want them to protect us, make us look stylish and be portable enough to not disrupt our daily commute. In a world of throwaway cycle helmets made of plastic and foam, Dashel have spent years analysing everything we ask of a multi-purpose item like a cycle helmet and systematically ticking every one of these boxes.
With a name like Dashel, you could be forgiven for thinking this is a swanky European brand. However, their name actually means thistle in Cornish. According to Dashel, the name was chosen to represent the protective qualities of the thistle. Dashel is a family owned business, designing and handcrafting cycle helmets in their factory on the Cornish coastline. Dashel began its life designing helmets for military and marine forces, and applying the rigorous requirements of a military industry to something a bit more civilian has resulted in a lightweight helmet with function and practicality at its core.
The polished surface is combined with an eye catching colour scheme centred around monotones, with pale grey, black, white, and for the more colourful character there is cobalt blue and orange. For a brand with a purely practical background, Dashel has not shied away from a fashion conscious attitude. Their helmets have appeared in Paris Fashion Week, London's Design Junction, Vanity Fair magazine and the Design Museum’s recent Cycle Revolution exhibition. Not too shabby! But it's not hard to see the appeal considering the fashion industry's long love affair with retro military style combined with the bespoke quality of the helmets themselves.
Most cycle helmets need to be replaced every 2-5 years due to the lining degrading and the bumps and knocks which make up everyday wear and tear. We build our bikes to last a lifetime, and following this same ethos Dashel's multi impact liner can withstand life's wear and tear, making this should be the only helmet you ever have to buy. Over time the cost of replacing cheap helmets, which pile up in landfill, brings the initial investment in a bespoke helmet such as a Dashel into perspective. Even after you have gotten your lifetime’s use out of your Dashel helmet, a closer look at the materials leaves your conscience feeling squeaky clean. The helmets are 100% recyclable and no volatile organic compounds were used in their making.
If I had to name my biggest helmet pet peeve, it has to be poor visibility, especially considering we wear helmets in the name of safety. A heavy helmet which is poorly fitted is inevitably going to end up obstructing your eye line and make you feel vulnerable at junctions and roundabouts. Dashel's helmets are lightweight at 320g, whereas the average urban helmet is 450-500g. Combine this with their snug fitted interior and you have a helmet which not only turns heads but allows you to do the same!
It's not hard to see why most everyday cyclists feel disenchanted with cycle helmets and may even choose not to wear one. The majority of brands pay little attention to style, meaning safety is our only motivation to wear or buy one of these things. They feel even more awkward to wear than they look and are a pain to carry around. For an avid cyclist who is likely to be using a cycle helmet everyday a Dashel helmet definitely constitutes a worthwhile investment and will last a lifetime. It doesn't hurt to know you are supporting a British family-owned brand which is committed to sustainability.
Here's a video of their production line: