After narrowly escaping tearing my rotator cuff a couple months ago, I decided to shop around for some shoulder protection. When I saw that POC Sports had upper body armor called Spine VPD Tee that also included chest and spine protection, I figured it would be best to go all-out since my goal is to be doing more gravity-oriented mountain biking next year. VPD (or visco-elastic polymer dough).
As I noted in my video contest submission, most of us guys don’t want to be seen as overly safety conscious, so we avoid wearing ‘too much’ protective gear. And with upper body protection, fears of looking like the Michelin Man creep in. So I bought a $13 light weight practice football jersey and it does a pretty good job of camouflaging the shoulder pads, more so if I wear my hydra-pack. And if it’s cold out, my Craft Pro Zero Extreme base layer fits nicely underneath it and my red Sugoi RPM Jacket fits nicely over it. The jacket pulls down the shoulder pads the most, providing the best camouflage.
Of course if it’s hot out, I’ll have to shed those outer layers. And when I add my white and black elbow/forearm pads and knee/shin pads, I look pretty much like an Imperial Stormtrooper. Which, if it’s Halloween, is not a bad thing.
Unlike my new full-face MIPS helmet which I’ve not yet worn, I wear my upper body armor nearly every time I go riding. I’m trying to either push my limits on speed, or I’m pushing my limits on obstacles. I’ve crashed hard with it on several times. I don’t actually know whether it has saved me on those crashes but I don’t really need to know.