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Concentrated cyclist with an event number sticker on helmet on road out of city

The Quick and Foolproof Way To Remove the Event Sticker Glued to Your Helmet

Serious cyclists love their big ride days. Many of them look forward to the event for weeks. Whether for the thrill of gathering with so many other riders or the joy of supporting a charitable cause, event days are often high points on the cycling calendar.

As longtime coach Darryl MacKenzie puts it, big events are “the athletic version of the neighborhood bar.” You get there early to check in with old friends and take in all the sights — from colorful jerseys to a mix of bike types and rider experience levels — and gear up for the ride.

Despite the many positives, however, these events come with one minor nuisance: stickers. The numbers that go on your helmet often leave behind a gluey residue that taints the look of your helmet and attracts dirt, and it can be difficult to get off. Lucky for you, Coach Darryl has yet another trick up his sleeve to help you take care of this problem easily. 

Why You May End Up With Sticker Glue on Your Helmet

Before we tackle our quick tip, let’s address the obvious question: Do you really need a sticker on your helmet in the first place?

In many cases, yes. When you participate in a major cycling event, you’ll usually get three separate event numbers — one for your jersey, one for your bike, and one for your helmet. They’re meant to help ride organizers keep track of participants and make it clear that everyone riding has paid. That way, you can use the facilities, partake in food, and utilize emergency services along the route.

You have three of these so your sticker is visible everywhere, and the one on your bike can even make it easier to identify your bike when you stop for a break with a big group of fellow riders.

However, while two of these stickers can easily be pinned on with safety pins, the third must actually be stuck to the front of your helmet. This allows the photographer to take your picture on the ride and sell it to you afterwards. And when you attempt to remove this sticker later, you’ll likely leave behind the gluey layer underneath. 

A Quick Way to Get the Glue off Your Helmet

If left on your helmet, the glue will gradually collect dirt and make your helmet look terrible. Instead, it’s best to ensure you get the sticker off correctly on the first try. 

Over the years, Darryl has seen a few different suggestions for how to do this. Some riders advocate using a small metal chisel, while others suggest solvents. While both might work to get the sticker off, there’s no telling the damage you could do to your helmet in the process. 

Rather than risk it, Coach Darryl recommends a simple, three-step process he discovered. All it takes is a damp paper towel and a little time. Here’s what to do:

  1. Soak a paper towel or cloth with water.
  2. Cover the sticker with the moist cloth and let it sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove the cloth and peel the sticker right off with no trouble.

Yes, it really is that easy to get an event sticker off your helmet. Next time they hand you your numbers at a ride, don’t worry about slapping that sticker right onto your noggin. You’ll get it off without any fuss, and your helmet will be no worse for wear. 

Even more important than your helmet’s appearance is how well it protects your head. Check out these tips to make sure your helmet is always safe and secure.


You can find more of Coach Darryl’s thoughts over at his website.

Photo by RUN 4 FFWPU at Pexels