No matter how much experience you have riding a bike, you always need to be fully kitted out when it comes to downhill mountain biking. Even on the most well-groomed downhill trails, there are bound to be hazards. Stray branches, loose rocks, and not to mention other bikers can cause crashes for even the most skilled bikers. Basically, there is a potential hazard around every corner. This is why just wearing a helmet is not enough when you are downhill biking. This article explains 3 basic pieces of gear that you will want to rent before you venture out.
Make sure your eyes are well-protected when you are downhill biking. In most cases, sunglasses or eyeglasses, will not be protective enough. The intense vibrations while riding downhill can shake the glasses right off of your head. Professional mountain bikers will usually wear fully enclosed goggles. These are basically just like snowboard goggles. They have great visibility and protection. The frames are plastic, instead of glass, so there is a reduced risk of them shattering. Always rent goggles that can be securely clipped to your helmet. Sometimes it is easier and cheaper to rent a helmet and goggle kit. This ensures that your goggles will properly fit onto the helmet, without constantly slipping off.
Shinguards are not just for soccer players. Downhill biking shinguards are basically just like motorcycle shinguards. They are a little thin and more flexible. You want to rent guards that go all the way from your ankle to your knee. Some shinguards go over the knee, but these tend to be restrictive. It is better to rent separate kneepads and shinguards. This allows you to get a better fit and will ultimately give you a fuller range of movement. When being fitted for your guards, make sure that they are not too big or too tight. You don't want them to cut of the circulation to your leg, and you definitely don't want them falling off when you start riding. A professional, like Bootdoctors, can help you find the proper fit and the right rental gear.
If you fall off your bike or slide off, you will likely hit your elbows to the ground first. This is why it is so important to have a hard elbow pad. This will break up the impact of most falls and reduce potential injury.
These simple pieces of equipment will make your downhill experience all the more fun. With the right equipment, you can feel more confident and go a little faster!