In today's world of cycling pushing boundaries is the name of the game; it seems like we, as riders, are always looking for the next frontier to explore. We easily get caught up focusing on cutting edge designs that make bikes lighter, faster, and stronger. While all to quickly forgetting the importance of safety. With bikes becoming much more capable and the demands of our sport changing constantly, a helmet simply isn't enough anymore.
We like to think of our protective gear as an insurance policy, something we hope to never actually use, but we're grateful to have it when we need it.
Here are a few examples of other protective equipment that you may find beneficial, and some you may use, but haven't considered as protective equipment:
Helmets designed for your ride: Helmets have come a long way in the last few years, especially with the NFL waiving the flag for concussion and Traumatic Brain Injury awareness. Many Companies such as GIRO and BELL have introduced a Multi-directional Impact Protection System, AKA MIPS, as well as helmets suited for All Mountain Riding VS Road Riding, Both have key features making them more suitable for that style of riding.
Gloves: Ever wonder why your Local Bike Shop has so many gloves to choose from? We'll let you in on another secret, It's not just the cool colors, and different finger lengths. Each glove we stock is picked for a particular reason. From offering a comfortable pad and quick moisture wicking, to a full finger mountain bike glove with protective knuckles for the occasional misplaced tree limb. The reoccurring theme for gloves is the leather palm, the leather palm simply prevents a skinned palm, (for those days when keeping the bike rubber side down proves difficult).
Eye wear: Ever wonder why those spandex clad cyclists seem to love wide frame, big lens sunglasses? Hint: It's not only a fashion statement, but they make for an excellent windshield! Think about it, you wouldn't drive your car without a windshield, so why ride a bike without one? Road bikes can easily reach speeds in excess of 50 MPH on the proper hill, that kind of speed will bring tears to anyone's eyes (hopefully tears of joy!). There's also nothing worse catching that glob of mud your front tire sent flying with your eye. Goggles also offer an excellent form of eye protection mountain bikers, keeping the grit out of your eyes, and those low hanging branches off your face!
Knee/Elbow pads: Though there are fewer riders that need this type of riding protection, they can make the difference between a fun and eventful ride, and an unfortunate afternoon spent somewhere other than the trails. With rocks and roots hidden under every pile of leaves on the trails, even the most experienced riders can take a spill when they least expect it. Knee and elbow pads are a great way to make sure your big ride doesn't end in catastrophe! Most are designed with pliable foam that conforms to you, making them comfortable for a day spent pedaling. However they will become rigid upon impact dissipating force over a larger surface area, (similiar to corn starch mixed with water, check this sweet video out)
What equipment do you rely on for a safe ride?