The Goods On Gear
When you watch a professional football, hockey, baseball game, you notice that the players all wear special gear. It includes helmets, pads, guards, uniforms, etc. These items are all designed to keep the player safe, but comfortable. And aside from the friendly backyard version, when you play or your kids play these sports, the money is invested to get the gear for the sport to ensure you and your players are also safe.
The same is true for Off-Highway Vehicles. Go to any motorcycle races - road or off-highway - or any ATV race and you will find the professionals wearing full gear. So wear it when you ride, too.
Helmets are the first and most important piece of safety gear you can buy. We devote a full page to the head protectors
so we won't spend time on this page.
The other basics for gear are:
- Long Sleeved Shirt
- Over-the-ankle boots
- Eye protection
Again, this is the minimum that you should wear. And it doesn't have to be the 'fancy' gear, jeans and a flannel shirt will work fine until you get the hang of riding. Then, you will probably want to invest in the better gear.
We have heard every excuse in the book as to why people don't wear their full gear. Excuses sound nice, but in reality, we want you to be outside and enjoy all the outdoor experience. So, wear your gear despite any excuse you can think of.
Long-sleeved shirts and pants are part of the minimum because it protects your skin. If you are in the woods, there are trees, sticks, and other things that brush against your skin. In the desert, they protect your from the sun better than any sunscreen can and keep the prickly cactus from brushing against your skin. There is also the possibility that you will hit the ground when you weren't expecting to. The long-sleeves and the pants will keep you from getting road-rash or dirt-rash.
Don't worry about over heating either. There are several types of gear that are made especially for hot riding that breathe and vent air through them. Heck, hikers even wear specially designed clothes that vent and they aren't working up half of the sweat you are.
Upgrading to Riding Gear
There are several reasons why you will want to upgrade into riding gear once you start riding more frequently. One of the best reasons is so that you don't ruin your other clothes. Regular street clothes aren't designed to be taken into the woods with branches grabbing at you as your ride by, which can cause tears in the fabric. They are usually not designed to dry quickly, not stick to you when you sweat, or bend in the right places to give you the full motion you need for riding. Riding gear does.
Riding gear is designed to have extra material where you need it, like around your knees since they will be bent to some degree most of the time your are riding. They also have room in the area for knee pads, if you choose to wear them (we all do). The pants have leather areas in the inner thighs to help you grip the seat of your vehicle and resist burns. The gloves help you grip the handlebar without flopping around or holding water. Jerseys often are moisture wicking, have padding in the elbows and many are ventilated. And there are lots of additional features to help you when you are riding, so you aren't thinking of your clothes, but of the trail and your riding.