It all started when I was in a serious bike accident down in the Lower Eastside of NYC in early 2016. I was riding home from work on my daily route and was suddenly hit by a taxi, flipped over my handlebars, and landed on my back. The taxi came out of nowhere and I had no idea what had just happened. Luckily I didn’t have any permanent injuries but was laid up on my couch for the next couple of weeks recovering. The worst part was that I wasn’t wearing a helmet at the time. During my recovery, I felt so much remorse, stupidity, embarrassment, and I felt super vulnerable. The same questions kept lingering in my head: Why wasn't I wearing a helmet? Was it my fault? Could this have been prevented?
I spent most of my childhood on bikes. I learned how to ride my first bike at age four, competed in races as a teenager, and graduated to century rides as an adult. My bike became an extension of my limbs. I always felt so comfortable on a bike and had never been in such a serious accident before.
After I started to feel better and was ready to hop back on my bike, I realized I needed a helmet. I started to look for a helmet, but couldn’t find one that I wanted to actually wear. I finally settled on a basic helmet but hated wearing it. At the same time, I started noticing the majority of riders in NYC were not wearing helmets and wondered why. I asked friends, family, and strangers what their reasoning was - the consensus was that helmets suck. They were too bulky, too hot, and too annoying to carry around.
I was lucky enough that I was able to walk away from this accident without any permanent injuries, but I knew this was not the case for many. Being an industrial designer and mechanical engineer, my brain is wired to constantly want to solve problems. Given that my brain was almost seriously damaged, I spent the next many months developing a concept, interviewing tons of riders, and understanding what people wanted in a helmet. After heavy R&D, in-depth safety testing, and hundreds of iterations, the FEND One Helmet was created. We launched with a goal to protect as many riders as we can. Riding is my passion and my life and I want as many people to experience the freedom that it allows.
Stay safe out there.
Christian Von Heifner