It’s one thing wanting to learn how to jump/send, but the actual doing of it can be high risk and needs some gradual progression as well as wearing the right protective gear. What gear though? Here we give advice of the type of gear that should be worn – depending on your level of insecurity.
Jumping can be the coolest thing to do on your mountain bike. But only if you do it properly, which involves a smooth, confident take-off, a relaxed arc through the air and a stable, controlled landing. Getting this process to a point where you can confidently hit most jumps takes practice and repetition. Lots of practice. Lots of repetition…
It may involve some falls in the early stages, but usually these aren’t too damaging and can be used as lessons. In terms of gear that you should be using when learning to jump, here’s what we recommend:
Helmet – compulsory
There’s not even any doubt that a helmet is compulsory. The risk of a head injury is significantly reduced should you experience a head strike when falling while wearing a helmet. But know this: It needs to be an appropriate helmet and it needs to fit you properly in order to do what it is designed to do.
For sending/jumping, you can wear a helmet from any established brand, but it should be less than three years old and it should be fastened with the straps set to ensure the helmet sits firmly on your head. Most helmet brands have 2-3 different sizes, so be sure to buy the size that fits your head best.
From a style perspective, the more trail-like helmets with less ventilation but more side and rear protection are popular, but full-face helmets are also not out of place at jump lines. Full-face helmets offer the most protection, but they’re hot and limit your peripheral vision. However, if you’re insecure a full-face helmet is the best option until you feel you’re more in control and less likely to have a crash.
Closed shoes – compulsory
It’s probably not what you expected to see in this article, but sending with slops, sandals or barefoot isn’t recommended at all! This obviously applies to those that use flat pedals. Wearing closed shoes that have good sole grip ensure you’re able to have heavy feet when you need them (usually just before the take-off and soon after the landing) and that your feet stay on your pedals throughout the jump and the landing.
Gloves – optional
We say optional, but really, a pair of gloves is important. Besides protecting your hands from grazes or scrapes in the case of a fall, gloves usually help you grip your bars better so that you don’t fall, especially when its hot and your hands are sweaty. But not all riders enjoy riding with gloves. Many prefer the raw feel of the bars for optimal control. If you are going to use gloves, get a thin pair that fit snugly.
Neck brace – optional
A neck brace can reduce the risk of neck and spine injuries as well as collarbone fractures. Certain types of falls, especially when wearing a full-face helmet, which makes your head heavier, can lead to significant and unusual forces being placed on your neck and upper spine. A neck brace helps disperse that force with the muscles in your body assisting to absorb the impact.
Knee pads – optional
When it comes to your limbs, your knees usually come off worst in a crash. Yes, elbows can also be vulnerable, but nowhere near as likely to get grazed or gashed as your knees. Knee pads help reduce pharmacy restock visits and ER trips. Know this though, the bulbous plastic knee pads you see in the sports aisle at Game aren’t ideal. You need good quality knee pads that slide over your knee and are flexible, allowing you to be able to pedal properly without feeling restricted. You can also get knee pads that extend down the shin, but these aren’t that common at jump venues.
Eyewear – optional
It’s always best to wear eye protection when riding a mountain bike. It not only protects your eyes from being damaged by something sharp or small, like a tree branch or small stone, but also protects your eyes from UV ray damage.
Ideally, you need clear, light-tint or photochromic lenses so that you have good vision in the shade. You need to make excellent judgement with distance, speed and terrain when jumping and a decent pair of eyewear can help ensure that.
WIN YOUR OWN BELL HELMET
Because we want to include everyone that’s interested in this campaign, we are giving away three Bell helmets (one per month) valued at R3000 each to winners of the Saved by the Bell competition.
Here’s what you have to do to go into the mix:
STEP 1: Follow @bellhelmets_bike and @shred_sa on Instagram
STEP 2: Post on your Instagram account a photo or video of you doing something on your bike that you’re proud of, tagging bellhelmets_bike and @shred_sa and use the hashtag #savedbythebellSA
Every four weeks we will include all the posts into a draw and randomly choose one winner. Everyone is at a different level of riding, so don’t intimidated if you can’t do crazy tricks. Just post what you are proud of doing on your bike and do the tagging and hashtagging to be in the running.
The winner will be notified by Instagram DM. If the winner does not respond within 48 hours of us sending the DM, we reserve the right to draw another winner. The winner can choose whether he/she wants a Bell 4Forty OR a Bell Nomad. The prize is not exchangeable for cash. The prize will be delivered by courier to the winner’s daytime address.