Thursday, December 31, 2015

Better Sweat Than Blood

The older I get, the more protective gear I wear when riding.  Call it wisdom, fear, old age, whatever you want, but the truth of the matter is, the stuff works.  Today's motorcycle safety equipment is ergonomically designed, stylish for those who care about that sort of thing and can really save your ass if you get into a bad spot.  Sure it's not exactly cheap, but missing work for a week or three costs a hell of a lot more.  Don't even bitch about it being hot, I'd rather sweat than bleed any day.

This isn't going to be a harangue, rant, polemic or diatribe about why you are a piece of human garbage if you don't wear your gear, we've all heard those time and time again.  The safety nazis haven't been able to legislate total bubble wrap protection for anyone venturing out of the house yet, so you still have enough freedom to make your own decision.  For now.  Instead it's just a little blurb about the latest addition to my off-road gear bag:  a pair of Thor Force XP knee guards.

An ounce of prevention....well, in this case about three pounds.

I had been using soft knee armor in a pair of Bohn Adventure pants, but a 15 mph tangle with a tree earlier this summer convinced me that was not enough.  It was a stupid crash that was entirely due to operator error.  I was looking for a trail while moving along at a fairly rapid pace for the terrain.  I saw the entrance I wanted just as I was passing it, grabbed a handful of front brake, locked the front wheel, which slid and then started to tuck, sending the whole stupid mess hurtling towards the ground.  I let off the brake and somehow managed to keep the bike upright, and pointed towards a tree about as big around as my leg.  Instead of looking where I wanted to go, I continued staring at the tree, and target fixated myself into a nice leafy wreck, the area right below my patella taking the brunt of the impact.  For those not familiar with trees, they don't move much, despite tossing yourself into them with great exuberance.  And they are hard, even the little ones!

At the time of the crash I was by myself, and had not come upon any other riders.  I spent about twenty minutes assessing the damage and using the ice water bag in my hydration pack to reduce the swelling before riding back out of the woods.  It was not a major injury, but it certainly did not feel good and it made moving around painful for the next couple of weeks, with a nasty tendency to swell incredibly everytime I stood up.  And all of it entirely preventable with a $99 pair of knee guards.  Beforehand that Benjamin seems like a lot to spend, but afterwards it seems really cheap to avoid this type of thing.

After riding in the knee guards for about 30 minutes, I forgot they were there, but it's reassuring to know they are.  Lessons learned....

How come you have two kneecaps Kris?  Gee, I dunno.

I didn't even hit or twist my ankle, but the bruising and swelling made it's way down there too.

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