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Safety equipment for jumping.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

September
13
2011

As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, I have decided that I want to start learning some new stuff on my bike; specifically, bigger jumps and drops. There are quite a few amazing trails around here that have lots of jumps and fairly big drops, and I feel like I’m really missing out because I still haven’t learned the skills to handle those kinds of things. Let’s face it, catching air is a lot of fun and so is the adrenaline rush that comes with it.

There are a few low kickers (a couple of feet, at best) at Soldiers Creek, and also a few drops of perhaps 2-3 feet out there as well. There is also a really fun set of stairs down a hill at Wekiwa that I love to launch off of from the top step. Those types of things are comparatively easy, and the consequences of failure are (generally speaking) not too severe. That’s not to say you can’t get hurt on small jumps, but the risk-factor goes up considerably as the jumps and drops get bigger. Shoot, I partially severed my lower lip back in January 2010 when I face planted from a skinny over just a 2-foot log, so you can imagine what might have happened from 10 feet…

Giro Remedy Full Face Helmet

Giro Remedy Full Face Helmet

As I learn this stuff I’m going to be careful to not leapfrog ahead of my abilities. Hopefully I’ll be able to find some tabletop jumps to learn on. If you don’t know what a tabletop jump is, it’s basically a low-consequence way to practice jumping. Think of a regular jump with a launch and landing ramp (forgive my crude ASCII art):

/\_____/\

A “tabletop” jump has dirt between the two ramps at the level of the launch and landing apexs, so if you come up short of the landing ramp you’re (probably) going to be OK. Overshooting the landing ramp can still end real bad:

/||||||||\

Of course there is additional safety equipment required for this kind of riding. Even the best downhill riders wear this equipment because, well, no matter how good you are stuff happens. A full-face helmet is an absolute must. If I’d been wearing a full-face helmet when I face planted a couple years ago I would have been able to jump back on my bike unharmed instead of spending the rest of the day in the ER having my lip sewn back on. I ordered the Giro Remedy Full Face helmet. I’d look like a fool if I wore a full-face helmet at a place like Soldiers Creek, but I’d look like an even bigger fool if I didn’t wear it at some of the trails I plan to start riding soon.

Fox Launch Pro Knee/Shin Guard

Fox Launch Pro Knee/Shin Guard

Full armor for knees, shins and elbows is also very important. I’ve seen pictures of broken elbows and cuts right down to the bone because people didn’t bother wearing elbow/shin/knee protection. I don’t like looking at pictures like that, but they serve as gruesome reminders that mountain biking can be a very dangerous sport. Wearing appropriate protection can help prevent these injuries when things go wrong. I ordered the FOX Launch Knee/Shin Pads and the Fox Launch Elbow pads.

Common sense and keeping your ego in check are a couple of other important safety devices. I’ve been guilty of letting my ego write checks my body can’t cash when I’m out on the trails, but I’m getting better at not allowing that to happen. Sometimes the adrenaline is pumping and you want to do things you’re not ready for. As I learn these new skills I’m going to take it slow and remember that I won’t be doing any riding at all if I wind up in the hospital.

John Stone Fitness Comments

2 Responses to “Safety equipment for jumping.”
  1. I seem to remember a little while back someone mentioning to you how you would eventually transition into riding like this and you were rather dismissive of the idea. Hehe, I guess things have changed.

    Looks like a lot of funm you’ve really made me miss my childhood “bike riding” days over the past couple years.

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    • I know the post you’re talking about. Even while I was typing my reply to madamert I was thinking, “Yeah, John, just keep telling yourself that.”

      madamert, you were right and I was wrong. 😀

      I think my current bike will do fine for quite some time to come. It’s not like I’m going to have the skill to hit the really big stuff anytime soon, and even when/if I do the Fuel EX 8 is a fantastic XC/trail bike and will continue to be perfect for that kind of riding (which I’ll always do).

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