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Protective Gear

Old 08-21-17, 09:57 AM
  #1  
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Protective Gear

Breaking bones sucks. I can live with pain etc. What stinks is not being able to do the things I want to do. Even then I am managing to do more than I probably should.

Anyone here us BMX/Mountain protective gear when riding road or MUPS/hybrid? For better or worse I ordered a shirt, shorts and wrist pads.

I plan to be back on the bike by November.
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Old 08-21-17, 02:17 PM
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I wear a helmet. I very likely will regret not wearing gloves the first time I go over the handlebars with my hands outstretched and my palms loose most of their skin to the pavement. Other than that, I don't know what else I might wear to protect me on a paved trail or road.

Oh yeah, glasses. Never ride without them. I had a dragon fly hit me square between the eyes. It hurt, even with the safety glasses that I wear.
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Old 08-21-17, 04:00 PM
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Helmet, eyewear, usually gloves. I need to replace my old clear safety glasses. The frame is too thick at the top and hinders my view from the drops on the road bike. I rode Sunday evening without eyewear and had to pick gnats out of my eyes a few times. Fortunately there was no traffic at all the entire 18 mile ride. But that distraction could have been bad in other conditions.

There are long sleeve jerseys and shorts with a bit more padding on the most likely contact areas -- shoulders, elbows, hips. Knee pads/braces that shouldn't hinder pedaling too much. Check the catalogs for mountain biking apparel.

Judging from injuries my friends and I have experienced the past year or so, the most common serious injuries from falling off the bike are broken clavicles (two friend this year alone, both younger than I), wrists/forearms (one friend broke both wrists/forearms in a fall), and bruised/cracked ribs (one friend, and myself). The fellow whose wrists/forearms were broken may also have had a head impact and concussion because his memory of the incident wasn't clear.

The most serious injury was a fellow whose femur was broken. But it was a somewhat unusual situation, a slippery patch of wet silt on a concrete low water crossing. I'm not sure but he may have struck the corner of the narrow concrete spillway. Those things are treacherous because the puddles and damp patches of soil are usually silt, slippery as ice when wet. I'm extremely cautious riding my hybrid through any of that stuff, and completely avoid them when I'm on my road bike with slicks.

I've seen surprisingly few knee injuries from falls. That may be an advantage to foot retention systems, whether toe clips or clipless. Retaining the feet during impact lessens the risk of knees striking where the most damage might occur.

It may also be that falls happen more quickly than we can react, so the rider doesn't have time to extend a leg or knee in an instinctive effort to prevent falling or reducing impact. While I see some advice claiming that we should be able to roll with a fall or move our bodies in a way that minimizes injury, I see no evidence that most humans are capable of reacting that quickly. If you watch slow motion videos of professional cyclists falling, usually things happen so quickly they cannot react in time to prevent anything. If they can't do it, what are the chances of us ordinary humans "rolling" to minimize impact at speed? Pretty much nil. I remember consciously rolling with the fall back in February to avoid impacting my shoulder, but that fall was at only 10 mph or so. On a street or in a race at 20 mph? Nope.

As we age our brains shrink a bit and bounce around more. We're at risk of concussions even without a direct head impact. My mom began experiencing the effects of concussions in her late 60s after falling without hitting her head. After the first incident, falling on her tailbone and cracking some vertebrae, she showed the symptoms of a concussion. After that her balance became dramatically worse and she began falling more often, each time showing more symptoms of concussion even though she hadn't stuck her head. Her doctor ordered her to use a cane for balance everywhere in the home and a rolling walker outside. MRIs, CT scans and other tests showed no evidence of major strokes, Alzheimer's, Lewy Body dementia, etc., and only some evidence of mini-strokes. Yet she's developed serious memory loss and cognitive impairment, somewhat similar to CTE symptoms experienced by boxers and impact sports athletes.

Any practical bicycle helmets won't prevent concussions, although the helmet may help a bit as the dense foam compresses before breaking, decelerating impact. Helmets are mostly to reduce the risk of open head and serious brain injuries. I regard them pretty much as the bicycling equivalent to boxing head gear. The head gear doesn't prevent knockouts or concussions. It helps reduce the risk of abrasions and cuts (actually splits from the skin being compressed against bone, mostly around the eye socket and forehead). Practical bike helmets that anyone would actually wear will offer similar risk reduction.

Last edited by canklecat; 08-21-17 at 04:03 PM.
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Old 08-21-17, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
..............................................

Judging from injuries my friends and I have experienced the past year or so, the most common serious injuries from falling off the bike are broken clavicles (two friend this year alone, both younger than I), wrists/forearms (one friend broke both wrists/forearms in a fall), and bruised/cracked ribs (one friend, and myself). The fellow whose wrists/forearms were broken may also have had a head impact and concussion because his memory of the incident wasn't clear. ...................................

It may also be that falls happen more quickly than we can react, so the rider doesn't have time to extend a leg or knee in an instinctive effort to prevent falling or reducing impact. While I see some advice claiming that we should be able to roll with a fall or move our bodies in a way that minimizes injury, I see no evidence that most humans are capable of reacting that quickly. If you watch slow motion videos of professional cyclists falling, usually things happen so quickly they cannot react in time to prevent anything. If they can't do it, what are the chances of us ordinary humans "rolling" to minimize impact at speed? Pretty much nil. I remember consciously rolling with the fall back in February to avoid impacting my shoulder, but that fall was at only 10 mph or so. On a street or in a race at 20 mph? Nope.
One thing that will prevent many arm and collar bone injuries is not to use your arms to break your fall. It is best to keep your hands on the bars and roll onto you shoulder as you come in contact with the ground. Using the body to decelerate the speed, and lessen the impact of a fall is a basic principle used in Judo.

Watch the way pro cyclists react in crashes especially in slow motion replays. Most often the ones that come out of the crash with their collar bone in one piece, keep their arms tucked to their sides and hands on the bars.

Last edited by Doug64; 08-21-17 at 07:42 PM.
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Old 08-21-17, 05:34 PM
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Helmet and riding gloves suffice for me.
Have had a few hi speed crashes (38 mph mountain descent) + couple of car/truck hits; helmet cracked but definitely save me from a concussion.
At age 84 still ride 80+ miles a week year round.
Pedal on!
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Old 08-21-17, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
One thing that will prevent many arm and collar bone injuries is not to use your arms to brake your fall. It is best to keep your hands on the bars and roll onto you shoulder as you come in contact with the ground. Using the body to decelerate the speed, and lessen the impact of a fall is a basic principle used in Judo.

Watch the way pro cyclists react in crashes especially in slow motion replays. Most often the ones that come out of the crash with their collar bone in one piece, keep their arms tucked to their sides and hands on the bars.
Yup, but we ordinary humans can't react that quickly. Especially not after age 50.

You mentioned judo. My sport is boxing. The most successful pro boxers into their late 30s and even up to age 50 were defensive masters. They knew they weren't as fast as they used to be. They couldn't rely on head or foot movement alone. So they learned new defensive tricks to slow opponents down to their preferred pace. Archie Moore, George Foreman, James Toney, Bernard Hopkins, Floyd Mayweather Jr. -- all defensive masters after age 30, thwarting younger, faster, often bigger and stronger opponents.

Most athletes learn tricks to avoid injury. They practice until it's instinctive and don't waste a split second thinking "Keep hands on bars, tuck in, roll left/right", etc.

Most of us who pursue physical activities don't actually practice methodical training. Practice doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. We repeat motions and do the same stuff over and over. If we practice imperfectly, that's how we'll perform in emergencies. Even the best, most finely tuned athletes suffer injuries in training. Some experience more injuries in training than in competition.

That's probably the best argument for using protective gear to minimize injuries.
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Old 08-21-17, 06:15 PM
  #7  
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BTW, my own approach to bicycling includes minimizing the risk of injuries in traffic by practicing specific things away from other vehicles, bikes and pedestrians.

I know from experience most of my collisions, falls and near misses occurred when I was fatigued. I don't want to be so fatigued in traffic or on the MUP that I can't react in time to situations that I could avoid if I were fresh.

Usually that meant riding below my threshold. But that meant going too slowly for comfort in some traffic situations. I find cruising around 15 mph to be a reasonable speed for most traffic. That seems to give drivers a better sense of how to respond to cyclists.

But to maintain that speed over distance I had to push myself beyond my comfort zone in training. If I'm exhausted from a hill climb, a moment's inattention or slowed reflexes could mean the difference between a collision or a near miss with an inattentive driver turning across our path.

I can't do much to improve my reflexes. But I can do a little to improve my stamina so I'm better prepared for surprises on the road or MUP.

That helped during Sunday's ride when an unleashed dog darted in front of me on the MUP, and later when a distracted driver turned across my path. If either had occurred a year or so ago when my conditioning was poor a collision might have occurred.
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Old 08-21-17, 07:01 PM
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Yeah, My Sensei told us "if you do a move (correctly) 1000 times it is yours." I know that I've hit the mat at least 1000 times
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Old 08-21-17, 07:05 PM
  #9  
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The fellow whose wrists/forearms were broken may also have had a head impact and concussion because his memory of the incident wasn't clear.
In an accident things happen very fast. Don't fault his memory. I took a fall last September trying to avoid getting my feet wet on a stormy Lake Superior beach while trying to take a photo. Never any head contact but I couldn't tell you many details. All I recall was an impact to my left femur breaking it, laying on the beach unable to move my left leg at all.
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Old 08-21-17, 08:07 PM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
One thing that will prevent many arm and collar bone injuries is not to use your arms to break your fall.
Yeah, use your head instead!

Unless you are an exquisitely trained athlete who has practiced the manoeuvre you suggest then failing to use you arms will result in your head (and face) taking the brunt of the fall. I agre with you in theory, but real life is different. Be prepared to sacrifice your arms/shoulders to save your head. That's your instinct anyway.
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Old 08-21-17, 09:40 PM
  #11  
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FWIW, a German rider joined our Wednesday Wheeler group for one ride (30-mile road). He was wearing a helmet with a chin guard, shoulder pads (from motocross?), elbow pads, knee pads, and padded gloves. He really stood out! He had crashed the previous year and this made him feel more comfortable.

Why not? The stuff didn't weigh much and it would offer MAJOR protection if he went down.

One friend - 71, my age - wears arm covers specifically so he doesn't get sand or gravel or scraped as badly if he does fall. I think he's "used" them about 3 times in the last 5 years. He also uses them for sun protection. He rides a lot - I think he rode over 1,000 miles every month last year (in NE).

PS - Major disadvantage = EVERY rider will ask you why you're dressed weird...
PPS - In my 7 years of riding, I've crashed twice (broke a hip, concussion and crack in pelvis). Both sucked! But I just wear a helmet and glasses.
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Old 08-21-17, 09:43 PM
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Helmet
Gloves
Reflective gear
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Old 08-22-17, 07:15 AM
  #13  
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Helmet, gloves and a sense of immortality.

Actually, we're now required to wear a helmet here... though I was wearing one before they were compulsory and would rarely go without if not.
Having ripped a pair of gloves apart last time I went flying, gloves are smart.
The sense of immortality is probably as creaky as my body, my reflexes and... umm... that other thing that disappears when you get old... oh, that's right, you forget how much it hurts
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Old 08-22-17, 07:33 AM
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One option:


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Old 08-22-17, 09:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Mountain Mitch View Post
Yeah, use your head instead!

Unless you are an exquisitely trained athlete who has practiced the manoeuvre you suggest then failing to use you arms will result in your head (and face) taking the brunt of the fall. I agre with you in theory, but real life is different. Be prepared to sacrifice your arms/shoulders to save your head. That's your instinct anyway.
Nobody said anything about not protecting your head. That is a given.

I have had quite a bit of "real life" experience in bike and skiing wipeouts, and still maintain that in most situations there is no need to "sacrifice your arm/ shoulder".

I once got an applause for one of my more spectacular ski crashes, and recovery. A benefit of Judo is learning and practicing body control while flying through the air.

Here is something I found doing a quick search to make sure I was not giving out harmful information: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/health-fi...hout-injuring/

Do your own search; there are several other sites that say essentially the same thing.

"For the amateur rider, crashing presents subtly different challenges. While Cavendish's crash happened around 40mph, your average bike rider might travel at half that speed. Consequently, they have slightly more time to react – which, counterintuitively, can be the thing that puts them in most danger of sustaining an injury.

"It's the lower speed crashes where you seem to break your collar bone, because you have the time to put your hand down, and that's often when it happens," said Lloyd (the shock of the contact with the tarmac travels up your arm and only finds release when the vulnerable collar bone snaps in two). "You don't slide along the ground. Both times I broke my collar bone, it was low-speed."
So how does the amateur take action to avoid hurting themselves in a crash? "My inclination is that it's better to keep your hands on the bars," said Lloyd. "It seems that if you make yourself into a ball and land and roll, it spreads the impact."

His words are echoed by stuntman Rob Jarman, who told BikeRadar.com that during a crash in which you lose the back wheel and fall directly towards the floor, it's good practice to "drop your shoulder, so that the back of it can take most of your impact with the road."

Last edited by Doug64; 08-22-17 at 09:20 PM.
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Old 08-22-17, 10:14 AM
  #16  
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Worst crash was @ 25+ mph and SAG wagon door opened in my path. No time to do anything and I finished the century with scrapes and black and blue all over body. I believe no serious injury do to no time to react. Head down and pedaling when I hit. Since then several pretty low speed crashes and much more serious injuries due to "letting go of the bike." If I can think I will stay clipped and hang onto bike next time.
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Old 08-22-17, 11:15 AM
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My takeaway from that article was the same as Dan Lloyd said:

"The only training you get is when it actually happens. Other riders might disagree with me, and I've heard once or twice riders saying that through training they could crash and not hurt themselves, but in my opinion it happens so quickly there's so little time to think about how you roll."
My one crash in a crit years ago was like that. Clipped my front wheel, boom, on the ground. No time to react.
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Old 08-22-17, 12:21 PM
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For road cycling it's helmet, gloves and glasses. For mountain biking I add knee pads since I have a history of tearing up the skin on my knees in mountain bike crashes.

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Old 08-22-17, 12:27 PM
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On the verge of my 70th birthday I'm reminded of the cracked Femur , from a bicycling hard pavement impact, 40+ years ago..

So it's 400 mg of Ibuprofen with Breakfast.
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Old 08-22-17, 01:25 PM
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I only ride with helmet and gloves as far as safety gear on the road bike.

I have some padded undershorts for mountain biking that has some padding on the hip bones, also some knee pads and elbow pads. I don't ride that on my road bike obviously and only occasionally put on the knee and elbow pads while mtn biking anymore.

They'd mostly help with bruising and scraping against gravel of pavement. Going down on gravel and dirt on a mtn bike WITH that padding is better than without, to that I can attest, but I believe in the event of a crash that was severe enough to break bones, they'd offer little protection. In fact, I can't think of any safety equipment that would prevent that.

Last edited by WNCGoater; 08-22-17 at 01:31 PM.
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Old 08-22-17, 01:31 PM
  #21  
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I wear a helmet. Sometimes I even wear gloves.
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Old 08-22-17, 08:42 PM
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Helmet, glasses, and full finger gloves always. Long pants frequently, long sleeved jersey frequently.
Sun screen almost always, even in the rain.


Most falls happen so fast no fall practice or anything like it works. It is strictly a split second drop to the hard stuff. So, I keep the speed down and just won't ride some roads. For, example: One road is bordered by brush. When the DOT folks cut the brush the stumps are cut at an angle. Each is a punji stick just waiting to penetrate my tender body if I fall. So, that road is off limits.
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Old 08-22-17, 09:00 PM
  #23  
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Nothing.

I try to avoid crashing or falling, though, of course, stuff happens. However, through 50+ years and well over 100k miles I've managed to limit my injuries to lost skin (sometimes, lots of lost skin). I did break my big toe riding, but that was at home riding rollers so I don't count it.

Yes, it's possible to be seriously injured on a bike, but with decent riding skill and good habits, the odds for a long and safe riding career are in your favor.
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Old 08-23-17, 07:02 AM
  #24  
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Well, not trying to bi#%^ about my personal situation, the medical stuff is fine, it's all just a PITA - what I hate is inaction.

I bought this Fox Racing BMX style jacket separately from the other things I have coming. Feels weird but it will be a small price to pay.



I had surgery on my thumb yesterday. Soft cast 2 weeks until stitches out then hard cast 6 weeks then splint 6 more.

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Old 08-23-17, 07:04 AM
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BTW, a lot of good discussion opinions etc. Thanks for all of that. Just been reading, haven't felt up to responding yet.
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