Three times in the past four years I’ve had a “parting of the ways” with one of my bikes. Unfortunately, I was always in the process of riding the bike when we parted ways—and when we went different directions it was always when I was riding on solid ice. Fortunately, the only thing I’ve hurt so far has been my pride, but to make sure I wouldn’t break an elbow this winter I started wearing SixSixOne Rage Elbow Soft Shell Pads when heading out on the ice.
SixSixOne Rage Elbow Soft Shell Pads easily slip over your arm and are held in place with a Velcro closure. Since most people wear this product in the summer for BMX or mountain biking it has several features to improve breathability, such as vented side padding and perforated neoprene construction. The area around your elbow has an internal hard cap protector and side-impact protection thanks to EVA foam padding. I was able to fit these pads under my winter cycling jacket without any trouble or loss of flexibility.
I didn’t use these pads on every ride this winter—they were reserved for days when we had sleet and ice falling from the sky or when I knew I was going to be riding over a frozen pond. Riding over frozen ponds is easy since my steel studded tires grip the ice well—the problem comes when you make the transition from the ice to the bank. While on the ice there is almost nothing to slow your forward momentum, but when you hit the shore your front tire slows down immediately while your rear tire is still at full speed—and that’s the best way to FDGB (Fall Down Go Boom).
SixSixOne Rage Elbow Soft Shell Pads come in four sizes (S, M, L, XL) and retail for $50. They are available at larger bicycle shops, as well as online retailers like Amazon.com and CompetitiveCyclist.com. SixSixOne also sells knee guards and they retail for $60 a pair.