Forums › Mountain Bike Forum › Have kneepads or other protection ever saved your ride, or your skin? › Reply To: Have kneepads or other protection ever saved your ride, or your skin?
Under the best of circumstances, we would never need any protective gear. I certainly have been on countless rides where my armor really had no use whatsoever other than to make me feel more confident. However, all it takes is one nasty yard sale to change most meat bags minds that maybe some protection despite the heat or how cumbersome it is may be better to keep one’s flesh and bone intact.
I’ve always thought helmets were an absolute when riding off road, but other pieces of armor have become standard for me as well over the years. I’ve worn some kind of knee armor since the early 00’s and rarely ride without it. It has saved my knees countless times from getting banged up and having grown up skateboarding it was not a big deal for me to get used to.
There is however one piece of armor I’ve ran since the late 90’s that I am surprised more riders do not employ. My hands are my job and after a couple of unpleasant wrecks in the late 90’s I began wearing wrist guards. This started as a medical issue brace after a nasty sprain. I rode with it and the light went on my head that I could use a heavy duty set and avoid most serious hand/wrist damage. After some trial and error my go to’s became Triple 8 wrist guards over full finger gloves. I ride with these always off road. I tend to go through several pairs a year, but at less than $20 a set it beats injury/out of work costs by a long shot. They have saved me countless times, but five years ago they became priceless.
I was doing my local ride which began with a two mile commute from my house down some sidewalks and then to the greenway that the trail is off of. I was goofing around jumping some planters along the sidewalk and wiped out hard enough to hit my helmet and see some stars. When I shook it off after a few seconds I felt my hand hurting pretty bad. One of the nylon braces in the guard was cracked and I felt kinda sick. I got up and rode back home where I found my hand and wrist were sore, but could still move everything. I set up an appointment to see a hand specialist I knew on Friday and in the interim (it was a Tuesday when this occurred) I medicated, wrapped my hand, made a special brace for it isolating the pinky where the most swelling had occurred and performed diode laser anti-inflammation therapy as much as I had time for over the next several days. Upon seeing the surgeon, initially he stated that I would need pin placement in my 5th digit due to a fracture, but upon questioning me further and seeing that my hand seemed to be doing fine he decide to reevaluate six weeks later.
As luck would have it all of this happened just two weeks before I was to go spend five days in CO at the IMBA fest in Steamboat Springs. I nearly blew it off, but went ahead after my friends hassled me nonstop. Consequently I not only rode all the crazy lift access black diamond park stuff with my buddies that weekend, but continued to ride and work without any issues. At the reevaluation the surgeon said that my bone and the surrounding tissue had actually healed up so well that surgery would be counterproductive.
Since that time, I have seen a number of friends and others sidelined by wrist/hand injuries. Some have begun wearing wrist protection devices, but most have not. It is beyond worth it to me and I always kinda imagine that it makes me look like some kind of evil robot. I see still being able to ride, work, and looking like a robot as wins.