Motorcycle riders love the open road’s freedom. They relish the wind whipping past them and the open sky overhead.
There’s the camaraderie that comes from going out with other riders. For some people, there’s nothing better than a few uninterrupted riding hours when you can get away from your troubles for a time.
While motorcycles are a lot of fun, they are inherently dangerous too. That’s because you’re not in an enclosed vehicle like a car, and nothing is separating you from that asphalt you’re zooming past.
Most people agree that you should wear protective gear when you go riding. But what equipment should you wear, and what is superfluous? We’ll talk a little about that in this article.
The most essential thing that you can wear when you go riding is a helmet. Forty-seven of the fifty states have helmet laws. They exist to protect riders, and most people agree that it’s good for them to be on the books.
They protect bikers from things like:
- Various traumatic brain injuries
Unless you live in Iowa, Illinois, or New Hampshire, you have no choice but to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle in most situations. The laws for each state are slightly different, so you’ll need to look at the particulars depending on where you live.
The thing is, though, even if helmet laws didn’t exist, it makes all the sense in the world to wear one. Riders might disagree about other protective gear but wearing a helmet can easily save your life if you’re in a crash.
Landing on your head with no protection could prove fatal, especially if you were going fast.
Some riders also like to wear gloves. There are special ones designed for bikers. Most of them are Kevlar, and they have ventilation and wrist protection.
Gloves can save riders from:
- Finger injuries
- Back of the hand and palm injuries
If you’re going to crash when you’re on a motorcycle, you’ll probably put your hands out at the last second. It’s a natural reaction of which you might not even be aware. Doing that can shred your hands.
Gloves don’t afford you total protection, but they’re better than nothing. You can get full racing-style gloves that are great for both hot and cold riding.
You might also opt for a lightweight glove if you ride in an urban setting. These usually don’t extend past the wrist. They’re comfortable to wear combined with a jacket, and they’re stylish as well.
There are many colors and glove styles. Companies even make some with wireless communication in mind. These are fingerless, so you can use your smartphone while still wearing them.
There is also lightweight, flexible body armor that you can wear while riding. The average motorcycle rider is not going to want to get into a full-body suit to go for a casual ride. This is the more the area of stunt riders.
If you get an armored vest, then you need to make sure that it fits snugly. If you go to a motorcycle gear store to try on some armor, bring the rest of the outfit you usually ride in. You’ll want to try the armor or vest on along with the rest of what you typically wear, to make sure that it’s a comfortable fit.
You can also get elbow, knee, or shin guards. Most of the ones companies make are adjustable.
Like body armor, it’s best to go to a brick-and-mortar store to try them on rather than to get them online. That way, you can try a few different ones, and it will save you the trouble of sending them back if they don’t fit.
Like body armor, the average rider won’t wear this sort of material. It all depends on how careful you want to be. For any kind of motocross or stunt riding, this kind of protection makes sense.
Some riders also like to wear some hearing protection when they get out on the highway. You’re exposing your ears to loud truck horns, and white noise as well. On longer rides, the wind whips past your ears for hours on end.
You might not realize until after years of riding that you’ve damaged your hearing. The frequent rider should think about earplugs, though.
They don’t have to be anything fancy. You can buy packs of them online, or brick-and-mortar motorcycle stores should have them as well.
It’s also not a poor idea to consider wearing goggles to protect your eyes if you’re going out riding. There are plenty of bugs out there, and one of them slamming into your eye while you’re doing fifty on the highway is not a pleasant prospect.
You can always wear standard sunglasses, and they will protect you to some extent, though they’re not the best option. Wraparound goggles are the best way to go. They come in some fun styles, and they will also stay securely on your head, even at the highest speeds.
You can also look into various motorcycle jacket styles. They come in many different materials. Some are heavier for winter riding, while others would be appropriate in the spring or autumn.
You can check out a wide selection of boots online as well. It’s sometimes hard to find the biggest sizes if you’re a larger individual, but motorcycle riders almost always wear boots, so you need to find some for yourself. You won’t look right out on your Harley wearing tennis shoes.
Few riders are going to agree on how much gear to wear. Some chafe at the idea of wearing anything besides a helmet. Others want to completely accessorize, with an entire riding suit that’s color-coordinated.
You can’t lump riders together. Everyone has their own style and their own reason for riding. Figure out how much protective equipment you want, and then track down the materials, colors, and styles that makes you feel comfortable.
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