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Essential kit: Cycling, er, masks

Check out some off-beat fixie accessories from Berlin

Wow! These are… interesting. They’re “fixed gear helmet masks” from Smirk Masks of Berlin – each one a unique creation.

Smirk Masks is the brainchild of Mirco Erbe, known to the world as Smirk. He started out as a graphic artist and became art director at a big German TV station before jacking it in and starting to make masks. He began the business a year and a half ago, taking early inspiration from hockey masks.

“We do masks for every performer, or whatever else you need it for,” says Smirk. “We also do custom masks. You can use all our masks to ride your fixie if you like, although that was just an idea we had to give the people the chance to look as cool as their bikes.”

The Smirk Masks creations aren’t safety helmets. Smirk has looked into that and the cost would be prohibitively expensive – and the masks aren’t cheap to start with. The “Run Bunn’ Run” rabbit head mask, for instance, costs £633.

The masks are mostly glass-fibre, sometimes with the addition of leather and other materials, and Smirk says they’re aimed at, “Everyone who wants to hide himself. Everyone who needs to be another character. Everyone who wants to attract attention. Everyone who wants to be a hero. Everyone who wants to be a monster.”

As well as fixie riders, that might include bands, DJs and artists, for example. Each mask is one of a kind, created from scratch; Smirk guarantees that he’ll never reproduce any design for anyone else in the future.

”The reaction has been positive,” says Smirk. “Everybody likes the masks/helmets, more or less. It's funny, each individual has their own favourite mask, but not everyone can afford one because it’s all handmade and we try to achieve the best quality. That means our masks are quite expensive… but worth every penny.”

For more information go to the Smirk Masks website or visit the Facebook page.

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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