Things you should never be without while riding

I went out for a ride yesterday and forgot a very important piece of equipment:  my Road ID.  A few months back I probably wouldn’t have worried about this, but today it unsettled me.  About 2 months ago I had a bad wreck on my bike and ended up needing my Road ID.  I started thinking about some of the other critical equipment that would prevent me from riding.

helmentThe first is my helmet.  I was wearing my helmet when I crashed.  The EMT who worked on me told me I would not be alive had I not been wearing that helmet.  All you have to do is look at what’s left of my helmet to know that this is true.  Aside from the obvious damage you see, the helmet was cracked bad enough that I can no longer use it.  What you don’t see is the dent in the back which I suspect is the part of my head that hit first, most likely knocking me out.  I then flipped again and landed face first with such force I still have numbness in several areas of my face.  To make matters worse, I appeared to have slid on my face almost 20 yards.

This leads me to the next thing I don’t like riding without, sunglasses.  I happened to be wearing a pair of Oakley Straight Jackets with Iridium lenses.  I prefer the Iridium lenses because they work in a variety of light conditions, especially in limited light conditions.   I was sad when my Oakley glasses were scratched beyond repair.  It’s hard to see, but the frames took a real beating along with the one lens, but the frame didn’t crack and the lens didn’t shatter.  I am very grateful because I most likely would have had some serious damage to my eye and eye socket.  I was in pretty rough shape when the EMT started working on me, so much so that they initially thought they would need to transport me to a trauma center.  Only after I started coming around did they decide to take me to the nearest ER.

One of my friends sent me this video after the fact.  I have to admit, I’m even more impressed now with Oakley’s products.  My own experience taught me a valuable lesson: never skimp on eye protection.  It’s more than protecting against sunlight, too.  It’s about protecting your eyes from physical damage while riding or in case of an accident.  I have some replacement glasses, but they aren’t the same and I worry that I might not be as lucky next time.

I’m hoping to get another pair of Oakleys because I think they are something I shouldn’t be riding without, just like my Road ID and my helmet.  Aside from your bike and some water, what items won’t you ride without?

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