Mountain biking is one of the most enthralling adventure activities there is. The activity involves riding a specifically designed bike for the difficult topography and reliefs of the mountains and all the uncertainties. The bike is built in such a way that it is neither a walk in the park for the riders nor a mountain too high to climb, no pun intended.
It is one of the most exciting yet dangerous outdoor activities, given that there is always a chance of slipping, skidding, and missing the trails. The individuals who take up this activity must be sure to protect themselves. The activities gained major prominence when it was declared as a sport. Currently, there are a bunch of activities going on around the world of mountain biking sport, one of the most popular ones being cross-country mountain biking.
Multitudes of safety gear are available for bikers, shin guards, and knee guards. Still, one of the most important of the lot is the full-face helmets, as they unarguably protect the most critical part of the human body.
Why do you need a full-face helmet?
There is a belief that the half-faced helmets can provide adequate safety to the bikers and that they do not stop the wind from gushing past the face at high altitudes, which is one of the best experiences to feel on the mountaintop. Still, one also has to consider that half-face helmets are not as protective as full-face helmets.
The upcoming models of helmets are built with carbon fiber so that the weight is on the lighter side, yet the strength is right up there with the best in its class. The full-faced helmets are not only better for protection against injuries, but when one has the security and backup of a product such as these, one gets to go out with full confidence irrespective of the terrain.
Some mountains have their microclimate, meaning that what is the weather on the ground does not necessarily have to be the same at the higher elevations of the mountain range. Therefore, another important point to factor in the full-face helmet is that they can counter tough and unpredictable weather, such as uninvited rains and high-velocity winds, with relative ease and let the bikers continue their trail without much hindrance.
Dangers of mountain biking:
According to a report published it was found out that the injury rate per 1000 exposures of mountain biking falls way below that of major conventional major sports of the USA, such as baseball, football, basketball, and ice hockey but is above the additional small league sports, such as skateboarding and roller skating.
Going by this, one might think that a person is safer on the terrains of the mountains. Still, things that were not taken into account in the report were that they did not establish the seriousness of the injury. An injury on the sports field is most likely less critical than an injury one might suffer on the hilltops.
Following are some of the most common injuries likely to happen in the said sport:
- Fractured hand or wrist
- Fractured forearm
- Fractured shoulder
- Head trauma
- Trauma to the face
- Injuries to the eyes and broken noses
The last four injuries can be very severe depending on the damage taken; hence, it is important to maintain physical shape and mental fortitude before hopping on the mountain bike just for fun.
How to mitigate serious injuries?
As per a study, it was found out that over 70% of accidents taking place in mountain biking happened due to error by the bikers, and the rest is due to mother nature. So when looking to reduce the chances of injuries, it is important to lay down some basic guidelines for the biker who intends to go on a mountain trial.
There are several ways to prevent getting injured. Injury is almost inevitable in a sport like a mountain biking, but athletes can do their best to prevent it at every step. Let us dive deep onto the multiple ways one can reduce the risks of getting injured;
- Getting in shape – Being in good shape is one of the most important things an athlete has to make sure of because this can decide the fate of the biker. Someone in top shape can balance their body to their will, but the same would not be true for those who are out of shape.
- Warming up before going in the trails – The muscles need to warm up to perform at their best; stretching is done before any physical activity reduces the chances of muscle-based injuries.
- Plan your route – Proper planning of the course is a major risk avoider as it leaves no space for unpredictable terrain to derail the bike and the biker.
- Learn techniques before going out – This is for people new to the sport; mountain biking is not something one takes up and aces; it requires learning techniques to make the journey as risk-free as possible.
- Using appropriate safety equipment – The most important aspect of being safe while on a trail is gearing up properly with high-quality safety equipment so that injuries can be avoided and their impact can be minimized to the very least.
What is the likelihood of getting injured seriously in mountain biking?
The good news for the people looking to make a career in the sport or even looking to go on a trail as the one-time thing is that you do not need to worry about getting injured severely, at least not per the study conducted on the seriousness of the injuries endured by the athletes.
As per that study, 27.6 % were shoulder and clavicle fractures, 24.7 % were wrist fractures, 11.1 % were finger and hand fractures, and 5.2 % were serious neck and spine injuries. However, it may seem daunting at the start to find out that 22.9 % of the injuries are concussion na head injuries, but the reality is that only 1.8 % of those are serious enough when the athlete is needed to be carried out on the stretcher.
Why is the full-face helmet the best choice?
There is no need to think twice about the safety ensured by full-faced helmets. However, the question might arise: Do you still need a full-face helmet when the trail is not that tough? In certain low-lying terrain, half-faced helmets can do just fine and would not block the heat inside and let the circulation of air be easy.
Despite this, there is still a huge majority of people who prefer to have full-faced helmets even for smaller or relatively easier slopes; the reasons behind them are as follows;
- The manufacturing quality of full-faced helmets is often better than that of open or half-faced helmets because they are constantly tested to meet quality standards.
- Another important factor where the full-faced comes in handy is to avoid debris, dust, and insects from entering the mouth, nose, or eyes. This aspect is often overlooked, but when going downhill in speed, even these small disturbances can result in accidents.
- The obvious point of the full-faced helmets protecting the frontal side as well as the back of the head is always there. They ensure that the level of seriousness due to injuries remains minimal.
- The scope of modification is always there on these helmets; proper ventilation being installed is one of the most desired aspects as it cancels out the overheating on the inside and helps in better air circulation, eliminating the possibility of suffocation to a great degree.
For these reasons, it is not hard to understand why full-faced helmets have become an overwhelming favorite among mountain bikers, and this trend is sure to continue in the years to come, and rightly so.
Taming the sky-touching mountains requires the bikers to be well-equipped and supplied with the best-in-class full-faced helmets. These helmets protect even the most delicate organs on the face and the back of the head; hence, it is not rocket science to decipher that one needs full-faced helmets to stay safe on the trails.