From Ride Basics – Autumn 2013
Whilst it’s not compulsory to wear helmets and pads when riding, it’s strongly advised, especially when you’re just getting started. The easiest tricks can often be the most dangerous, taking you out when you least expect it. Here’s a rundown on the most common safety gear and the protection they offer.
The benefits of wearing a helmet are plainly obvious: no fall onto your head is good, never mind if it’s from height. The open- faced helmet shown here provides as much protection as possible without affecting your peripheral vision. Holes provide ventilation to help your head maintain a good temperature. A hard plastic shell houses polystyrene and then softer foam to absorb the impact of any crash whilst staying comfortable to wear.
You’ll find out after a short while BMXing that your knees start to take a lot of abuse when falling off. For the most part, kneepads will protect against cuts and grazes, that whilst being painful, are generally only superficial. The main benefit of kneepads is protecting the bones and ligaments in the knee from bigger crashes. Injuries around here take a notoriously long time to heal and can give you problems throughout your time riding. New types of kneepads, like shown here, are much slimmer and can be worn under jeans.
Shin & ankle pads
‘Slipping a pedal’ is one of the most common injuries you can get whilst riding. It happens when one foot slips from the pedal, spinning the cranks around and whacking the pedal against your shin. Whilst it can happen a lot, it’s a pain you never get used to. Cuts can be quite deep from this so shinpads provide an obvious protection from this. Modern examples like the ones we have here also supply protection to the inner anklebone, which is often prone to knocks from cranks.
Gloves offer both protection and grip whilst riding, with the emphasis being on the latter in most cases. For most riders, gloves provide an extra bit of control when grips can become sweaty. In a way, this is a form of protection but more literally, grips will prevent cuts and grazes on places like your palms. Injuries here are particularly frustrating as it can make it hard to grip the bars and continue riding.