Tag: POC

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 whenever 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.

Protection

When I attended IMBA’s Great Lakes Summit back in June, Aaron Rogers, president of the Copper Harbor Trails Club and Trails Specialist with IMBA Trail Solution showed a video about the IMBA Bronze-level Ride Center that had just opened in Copper Harbor, Michigan.

httpv://youtu.be/rN9btRzqsvA

Bike magazine included the video in a June 22 article titled Andrew Shandro at Bronze-Level IMBA Ride Center Opening In Copper Harbor, MI. Aaron Rogers was quoted in the article:

We’ll be building medium- and small-sized jump trails–Flying Squirrel trail is considered a large-sized jump trail–as well as a true flow track to increase our scoring.

Some of those guys going down the Flying Squirrel jump trail in that video (as well as another one here) are wearing full-face helmets.  And so when I started experimenting with the jumps at the Lexington Ave. Pump and Jump Park, it occurred to me: I’m going to like doing this. I want to ride that trail at Copper Harbor. But I don’t want to end up in a hospital bed, paralyzed, thinking ‘Dang! I should have purchased a full-face helmet.’

When I started poking around the intertubes, I discovered that there are new helmets equipped with the Multi-directional Impact Protection System technology, or MIPS.

This June article in Mountain Bike Review titled POC and MIPS Collaborate on New Styles sums it up nicely:

untitledThe Multi-Directional Impact Protection System, MIPS, was developed by a Swedish neuroscientist to improve protection from oblique impacts to the head. Concussions and brain injuries are often caused by angled head impacts that create rotational violence to the brain, causing strain on the brain tissue.

MIPS utilizes either a low friction layer on the inside of the helmet liner for inmold helmets or a low-friction layer between the outer shell and liner for hard shell/two piece helmets to absorb much of the energy created by both unilateral or oblique blows to the head.

POC Cortex DH HelmetBy mimicking the brain’s own protective mechanisms, MIPS can significantly minimize brain injuries in connection with angled impacts and rotational violence. The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) of Sweden has conducted tests concluding MIPS helmets can significantly minimize brain injuries.

Griff Wigley, POC MIPS helmetOne of my local bike dealers, Mike Bikes here in Northfield, gave me a great deal (considerably better than anything I could find online) on the Cortex DH Helmet from POC (full list price $500). QBP had it in stock and shipped it to Mike’s within two days.

I know, pricey. And more helmet than I really need for my current skill level. (There are other MIPS helmets on the market that aren’t full-face, so shop around.) But when it comes to protecting my geezerly body, I’d rather err on the side of too much.

If I can get the hang of doing the beginner table-top jumps at Lex and Leb, I’ll start wearing the helmet.  I’m hoping to get to Copper Harbor this fall.

Other article links:

Protection