Upper body armor means I can crash more with confidence

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).

Spine VPD Tee Griff Wigley with POC Sports Spine VPD Tee Griff Wigley with POC Sports Spine VPD Tee 
So I ordered it from my LBS (local bike shop) and they got it the next day via QBP. There are many reviews of the Spine VPD Tee out there on the interwebs. This video provides a good overview.

Michelin-Man Jersey over Spine VPD Tee Griff Wigley, Spine VPD Tee with hydra-pack Griff Wigley, Spine VPD Tee with jacket 
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.

Griff Wigley, body armor stormtrooper

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.


GET IT THROUGH YOUR THICK SKULL

Subscribers to my free Thick Skull MTB Skills newsletter get:

Thick Skull Mountain Bike Skills video: Light Hands, Heavy Feet - Developing the Habit

  1. The free 3-part video series, 'Light Hands, Heavy Feet': 17 mountain bike drills to develop the 'light hands' habit and make your riding more stable no matter what the terrain
  2. Exclusive how-to-ride related content every week that I don't post on my blogs.

So do it. Get it through your Thick Skull.

Griff Wigley, Mountain Bike Geezer


Leave a Reply