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Cycling Body Armour: Is it worth it?

What is cycling body armour?

The term cycling body armour is pretty self-explanatory. It’s a protective layer of clothing that covers specific areas on the body in order to reduce and limit injury during impact. Cycling body armour can be the difference between going home with a small graze but a relieved smile on your face or something much more serious.

There are many different disciplines of cycling, varying from road races and track cycling to more precarious mountain biking. Cycling clothing is not a new craze in the sport and articles of clothing such as base layers and jerseys provide superior comfort, fit and supported movement for the rider. There’s a reason you don’t see Alistair Brownlee or Geraint Thomas peddling about in baggy shorts and a cotton t-shirt.

Cycle clothing is designed to make the rider feel the most comfortable they can possibly be (given you know you’ll struggle to walk after a decent amount of time on a bike seat), whilst also ensuring performance capability is never hindered.

Anti-chafe coverage and supple materials limit the injuries a cyclist can cause to themselves along the length of a course, but what about when there are other factors that can cause harm? That’s where cycling body armour and protective clothing comes in.

Who needs body armour for cycling?

Competitive mountain biking is a high intensity discipline that’s renowned for its mud splatter, rocky outcrops and thrill factors. If mountain biking came with a disclaimer it would probably be something along the lines of “ride at your own risk” or “partake at your own peril” – yet, it’s equally as much of the allure as it is the concern. However, knowing how to dominate a course is one of the many thrills of mountain biking and coming away without an injury is always a bonus but not always possible.

Everyone has to start somewhere and some days you’re always going to compete better than others. When new equipment or trails are introduced, it brings in that adjustment period where rides are more likely to end badly.

Even the most professional riders can become complacent and we all know where complacency can make you end up. If sport can show us anything it’s that success can breed complacency and without focus and awareness an injury becomes more likely with every metre.

However, there are several main reasons why injuries occur in mountain biking and that usually does not come down to the individual rider. Like most cycling incidents, accidents occur as a result of the environment.

Mountain biking involves going hard over rocks, covered roots and generally uneven earth. Multiply that with the fact it’s a competitive race and done so in groups and you’ve got yourself a bit of a boiling pot. Not to suggest that the rate of mountain bike injuries is completely out of control but the sport definitely comes with a risk.

It’s not just about competitive mountain biking either. Cyclists who choose to partake in more relaxed courses through mountainous regions can also be at risk due to the nature of the environment and the added unfamiliarity.

As previously stated, accidents in cycling are rarely caused by the individual rider. Investigations discovered that in cycling accidents, riders are accountable for causing the incident less than 25% of the time.

Therefore, cycling body armour is not just for those competing in high intensity disciplines. The everyday rider can prevent injury to themselves too by utilising protective clothing for road cycling.

Choosing the right protective clothing for mountain biking

We’ve already highlighted some of the reasons that mountain biking and other disciplines of cycling come with their own risks but it’s not just about being aware of the risks, it’s also about doing something to counter them. Not many studies exist about the ability of body armour but it would be illogical to suggest that wearing body armour causes more harm than wearing it does. That’s just common sense.

That’s why TRI UK’s Bluegrass cycling armour provides high quality, secure coverage without limiting movement and fit. It’s important to choose cycling body armour that prevents injury, which is why we stock a range suited for the environment it excels in.

Our Bluegrass body armour provides full coverage for the back and sides as well as the shoulders. Its Vaportech and mesh fabric ensure its breathability but its padded coverage protects vital areas such as the ribs, spine and shoulder joints. Additionally, our Bluegrass padded shorts provide not just safety but added comfort for those hours spent in the saddle.

Most falls from a bike aren’t usually going to end in a catastrophic list of broken bones. However, given the less than soft areas that mountain biking and road cycling occur on, cosmetic damage is possible.

As exterior limbs and points of impact that are often uncovered during cycling, the knees and elbows take a beating. That’s why elbow and knee pads can limit grazes, cuts and deeper wounds to the extremities as a result of falls and impact. Both the knee guards and elbow pads are built to be flexible which ensures flexion and extension is not inhibited.

Why do cyclists wear body armour?

To many, cycling appears to be a leisurely pastime and sometimes it is. Sometimes a jaunt along the Jurassic Coast or in the Peak District only becomes eventful because you forgot to bring your thermos for your little break whilst inspecting the glorious scenery but cycling is not a sport devoid of risks.

The discourse pertaining to the use of cycling helmets is already a cause of a prolific debate. The premise that helmets save lives is taken from research that suggests helmets reduce head injuries and some studies even suggest they do so by roughly 70%. Obviously, the head and skull are vital parts of the body but cycling body armour that covers other body parts can provide equal levels of protection.

Cyclists wear body armour in order to feel confident that in the face of risk they are more protected than they would be without. Cyclists that have encountered injuries often turn to the use of body armour after an accident believing that it could help them in future complications - but why wait for an injury that could have been prevented to start with?

With protection from the off-set combined with comfort, peace of mind no matter the discipline is only going to have a positive impact.

Is protective clothing for cyclists worth it?

Body armour is an investment both for cycling gear and personal safety. It absorbs the hard impacts of accidents so that your body doesn’t need to. It’s more likely to provide you with the opportunity to get back up again when you’re knocked down so that your training and competing ability doesn’t need to take a longer break than necessary.

The advantages of body armour far outweigh the negatives. With lightweight, body moulded options available, the only real question is whether you want to improve your cycling safety or not. Falls are inevitable, injuries don’t have to be.

So whether you’re racing for the finish on your Cervelo road bike or smashing ever challenge on your Argon triathlon model, TRI UK has to products available to ensure you make the suitable steps to remain safe whilst doing so.

To find out more about the benefit of our cycling armour body range or to learn more about our great other services, contact us on 01935 414142 or email sales@triuk.com