The Top and Bottom of Gear Basics

Eye Protection


two riders stopped on a trailIn addition to riding jerseys and pants, plus the helmet, there are additional pieces of gear that are part of the basic minimums of riding.  These pieces of gear are eye protection and boots.


I suspect you understand the importance of eye protection, at least I hope that you do.  If you can't see, you can't ride.  Ordinary glasses don't cut it.  Some people try to get by with sunglasses, but there is more to eye protection than meets the eye.


Goggles are designed to fit into your helmet and fill up most of the remaining space that is left from a full-faced helmet.  Like the helmet, they keep branches, dirt, and dust off of your face.  They also keep them out of your eyes.  Because of the large elastic band, the goggles are keep in place and don't move on your face over the uneven terrain.  And there are innovations for goggles, such as double-paned lenses to help keep them from fogging up. 


For those starting out who want to forgo the goggle in the beginning, try a quality pair of safety glasses.  Also, youth goggles may not be the best fit for youth depending upon their helmet size.  Large youth helmets or very small adult helmets often have a better fit with adult goggles than with youth.  Try the goggles on with the helmet and see which is more comfortable for your kids, and which give the most visibility.


Since we are talking about protection for the head in addition to the helmet, your youth will most likely benefit from a neck brace or a next roll.  Get more information about these 2 items on the Additional Gear page. 

Boots


If you are riding an ATV, make sure that you have over the man buckling riding bootsankle boots.  They should be sturdy and have grips on the bottom so that your feet don't slide off of the foot rests.  They should be over your ankle to help your legs absorb the impact of traveling over rough terrain without allowing your ankle to move sideways and get sprained or broken.


If you are riding an OHM (Off-Highway Motorcycle, or dirt bike), then upgrade to riding boots right away.   These riding boots are made to protect your toes, feet, ankles, and shins while riding.  They aren't the easiest to walk in, like downhill ski boots, but who wants to walk when you can ride?

man helps with adjust riding boots
On an OHM, your feet and toes are more vulnerable than on an ATV, since they are along the sides on the machine.  Rocks, logs, stumps, etc. can knock your feet off of your foot pegs if you hit them right and riding boots are designed to keep your toes and feet from being damaged in the process.  The shin guard is invaluable for any OHM that doesn't have a magic button (aka and electric start).  It also protects your shins when you are riding and from getting burned on the bike.  The boots have several buckles that adjust to allow you to fit the boot snuggle around your legs.  Not only does this keep dirt and other items from getting into your boots, it also helps increase your stability on the bike.


Best of all, the OHMs are designed to function while you are wearing the boots so it becomes easier to shift and brake while standing with the boots on.


So, we have talked about helmets, riding gear, and boots and eye protection.  Now that you have information about all of the gear basics, find out the additional gear available to protect you on our Additional Gear page.