What to wear?
On your first ride out you can use the kit / clothing you already have without going to any further expense. Once you have decided trail riding is what you want to do then consider that riding unsurfaced roads is a physical affair. So choosing the right type of kit and clothing is important if you want to concentrate and enjoy your riding regardless of what the terrain and weather throws at you.
This basic guide will provide you with a little information to help you on your way.
The following items will form the basis of your everyday riding equipment and will be used come rain or shine
- MX Helmet (some prefer adventure bike helmets with visors)
- MX Goggles or safety glasses.
- MX Gloves or Waterproof equivalent (Allow for greater clutch and throttle / brake control
- MX Boots (Provide high level of protection for foot / ankle and shin area)
- Knee / Shin Guards or knee braces
- Long MX Socks
Various options exist and it is very much down to the individual as to what you decide to wear. Many riders prefer a full hard shell protective suit as it provides a high level of protection for the upper body and includes a spine protector and kidney belt. Again, there are many different options available including sleeveless and items with removable components such as the back protector. Everything is held in place via a mesh lining and straps, preventing the armour from slipping and moving about. The downside is that these suits can be warm to wear in hot weather. These items are best worn over a thin moisture wicking base layer or nylon MX shirt to avoid any chaffing.
Alternatively, you may be happy to ride with an enduro jacket which contains (preferably CE approved) armour built in to it and separate elbow pads if required, but, these can rotate in a crash.
Thermal underwear is cheap and works extremely well when the temperature plummets and is a perfect base layer underneath your body armour and knee guards / braces. In addition you may want to try a balaclava or neck tube to keep the cold out. Generally when riding rough terrain these items can be too efficient and can make you overheat. Worth keeping a slim item in a spare pocket or rucksack for when you stop for a breather though.
Hydration / Camelbak
Hydration rucksacks or Camelbak’s as they are otherwise known are a must have on any ride out. Especially if your miles away from anywhere and are getting dehydrated and suffering heat exhaustion. These items come in various sizes with a plastic bladder which can carry anything from 1L to 3 Litres of fluid.
Although water is a good thirst quencher it’s poor at replenishing lost sugars and salts that have been lost through perspiration during your ride. High energy drinks such as Lucozade are much better at this and will help sustain energy levels and your concentration.
The above is a guide and insight as to what you as a rider may need to consider when venturing onto the trails. You certainly don’t have to look like a team sponsored enduro rider to have decent kit that does a good job of protecting you and keeping you dry and warm.
The levels of protection you opt for is a personal one, but remember, any steps you take to minimise injury should the inevitable occur has to work in your favour.
There’s many a bargain to be had on auction sites such as Ebay, and Gumtree and Preloved. There are products to suit all budgets regardless, so shop around and if in doubt just ask a fellow member or rider.