Anyone who’s into any kind of extreme sport and does it for long enough is at some stage going to fall, stack, smash, hit, break or hurt something! It goes with the territory and is an unfortunate reality of being into adrenaline based activities!
Some people are lucky and escape with minor scrapes, others pay a big price but regardless you can always do something to help minimise the risks you take.
I’ve always been into fairly high risk activities in terms of potential injury from a career in the military & security, to doing all sorts of so called extreme sports from parachuting & snowboarding to climbing & mountain biking. I’ve also taken my share of injuries. I was only 8 months old when I took up my first extreme sport … riding a metal rocking horse. Don’t laugh, I combined rocking with trying to grab decorations from the Christmas tree, not an easy task when you’re 8 months old! It ended badly for me when I slipped off the horse and broke my leg. Now, neither a helmet or body armour would have helped me on that occasion however over the years protective equipment has definitely been my saviour.
I tore ligaments, bashed & bruised every bit of my body during the BMX years, I fractured two vertebrae in my lower spine snowboarding and took more than a few falls rock climbing and mountain biking. Twice for sure my life has been saved by a helmet. I took one particularly bad fall climbing in Glen Nevis (Fort William). I fell about 20ft and decked out. Luckily the ground at the bottom was a steep slope and I landed feet first before tumbling head over heels a few times. One flip took me head first into a big rock and I would not be here today if I hadn’t been wearing a helmet.
As the years have passed I’ve become more aware of the risks, weighing up what can go wrong and taking precautions to be as safe as possible. Having kids certainly wisened me up a little. Leading by example and making sure they were properly equipped made me think more about what we were all wearing or what we were all doing when I took them into the big outdoors.
Mountain biking has brought a few close ones and I’ve seen first hand, especially at the trail centres, the damage riders do to themselves in the name of the sport. I once had to deal with a fellow rider who broke his neck when we were riding the trails at Scrathmere Scar. The crazy thing is it happened on a tiny drop on soft ground. We had just ridden off some big drops in the woods higher up and were more or less riding out of the trees on easy ground at the bottom when it happened.
I think in general though, mountain bikers are pretty clued up and well kitted out these days when they hit the trails and mountains. Having a great range of safety equipment available is central to this and manufacturers have pimped up safety kit these days, making it look cool as well as protect. As you’ve read I have a a special interest in staying safe and I’ve carried this over into what we’re selling these days here at Ae7.
This is what the new Ae7 Cycling Protection Warehouse in Glasgow is all about. We’re finishing off the unit and plan to be open in the next couple of weeks. The Ae7 website will get updated over the coming months to get in line with our focus on safety & protection equipment.
Whether it’s a helmet for your head, good footwear for your feet, padding for your body or the best clothing to cover your skin when you ride, you can be sure we’ll be looking to sort you out with the best kit available. It’s not just MTB’ers we’re looking after. Having cycled on the roads through Europe this summer from Milan to Glasgow I know first hand the daily risks roadies put themselves through! I reckon Afghanistan is safer than half the roads in the UK!
Improving your skills and using the right equipment are the two best ways to help you avoid getting hurt.
The only way to remove the risk completely is not do anything where you can get hurt but where’s the fun in that?
Stay safe out there kids!