“To wear or not to wear?” That is the question
A beautiful day, cold breeze hitting my face as I rush down the track at a speed faster than wind, looking like a vision on my stunning bike, adorned in shorts and….. flips flops! Do the last two words not break the imagery you had going for you?
As all biking enthusiasts would know, the right gear is of utmost importance when it comes to enjoying a bike ride to the fullest. A beach day differs from a ride, and while it’s great to look cool and effortless, it is also important to maintain safety while biking.
Below are a few absolute DON’Ts. Read on to know what not to wear when on a bike.
1) Flimsy Sports shoes
Tennis shoes or sports shoes that are not sturdy and can’t meet the demands of a motorized vehicle should not be used. Safety is of utmost importance on a motorbike. What should be worn are proper biking boots for off-roading and shoes suitable for biking otherwise.
Flip-flops are, like the subheading suggests, completely inappropriate. They are meant for flipping and flopping, and not biking. You expose your digits, risk getting severely hurt, and look very uncool while wearing them on a bike. It’s a no-no.
3) Fancy, customised or Unconventional helmets
Historically, the purpose of helmets was to provide safety and prevent a serious head injury. Presently, the function hasn’t changed, but people opt to ignore the impending factor of safety and go for flimsy, customisable helmets that become more of a fashion statement. It is imperative to be in the right gear before off-roading or even while going for a simple bike ride.
These clothes provide the LEAST protection when you’re riding a bike. What happens if you lose balance? Limbs are important and they are what decide whether you’ll be able to bike again or not. It is important to protect them just like you would your face. Motorbikes have burning hot pipes, exposed metals, sharp edges, all of which can very easily give serious burns and severely injure flesh. It’s very ugly.
5) Loose T-shirts, Tube-tops
Starting outfit first, if one is off-roading, it is important to wear proper jerseys, shoes and socks to help in agility, ease of balance and to keep you dry! Yes, staying dry and hydrated is of utmost precedence.
These have been put here not because they can compromise your safety but because they can expose you to sunlight that can severely tan you, and a loose t-shirt in strong winds or high speeds makes people look like balloons (we’ve all seen someone zoom by looking like one).
These can be worn if a jacket or a tight shirt is worn over them, preferably full sleeved that protect you from tan and not be flailing around due to the speed. Wearing clothes made of materials such as spandex or other form-hugging material is advised because their fibres are made with a technology that wick away sweat to keep you dry and also improve form and reduce drag. Yes, its physics applied to clothing.
6) The ‘macho’ look
Yes, wearing all black looks cool, yes people in movies do it, and yes you can do it in reality as well, provided you keep certain things in mind. Wearing skin tight pants is fine, as long as there is some reflective material on it and on your bike. Visibility can be a major factor when biking at night or in areas with low light and lack of it may lead to several accidents. It is essential that you are visible enough and reflective materials help light in bouncing off and alerting someone behind you of your position.
The jacket, which is another important thing to wear comes in a variety of types, depending on when you want to bike. Armoured race gear to ventilated summer jackets, everything is available. They not only look super cool but also protect you.
While we are on the topic of injuries, another piece of gear you can use to prevent getting hurt on your knuckles, lower back and hands when you try to break your fall, and prevent rashes because of holding the handles and changing gears is by wearing gloves. Padded gloves will help minimise impact and protect your hands.
Finally, elbow, shin and knee guards should be worn to protect your skull, knees and skin from a bad fall are things that should always be checked off your list before biking.