I thought kneepads were required for UNICON events. I use the “don’t fall off” knee protection scheme. I ride completely unpadded and without a helmet. I just don’t fall off. I agree the 4x4’s are complete overkill. They’re too hot, too.
If you fall off and land on your knees, nothing works more effectively than hard shell skater knee pads. Your first choice link is closest to that type of knee pad. You can get them cheaper at a sporting goods outlets just not the 661 brand. I’ve seen skaters riding bowls with no protection except hard shell knee pads (no gloves, no helmet, no shirt, no elbow pads) and when they biff they instinctively go straight to their knees to absorb all of the impact. That’s a lot of force on concrete and they come up completely unscathed.
I’d be inlined to get the first ones, which have a hard plastic shell exposed directly at the point of contact with the ground. My theory (and it’s only really a theory) is that these will a) protect the knees (assuming adequate padding) and b) slide so that all your energy doesn’t go instantly into your knees when you hit the ground.
I was considering getting some hard shell knee pads but I think I’d like to spend less! So far I’ve done all my cokering without knee pads and only fallen on my knees once…
Kneepads were required at UNICON, some riders disagreed, I think it was a pretty smart move. My knees are pretty scarred from falling on them, which can be quite painful at high speeds + gravel. When I started cokering I wore some of the hard shell kneepads, I didn’t find them very comfortable and found myself some kneepads with foam in them. From the links you gave I like the last link best, the Veggie wraps seeing as they’re foam and look more comfortable than the rest, yet still good protection.
If you’re scared of falling you might also look into gloves/wristguards, a helmet and some elbow pads. Riding with protection can give you a safer feeling and lead to more speed.
Occasionally Freestylers crash into each other when practicing, and of course anyone can fall down doing any kind of riding, but the vast majority of injuries we get at unicycle conventions have been on the track. The more recent addition of offroad, Trials and Street events are surely going to claim more injuries though.
I don’t wear knee protection for Cokering usually (even when I do mixed offroad, which I hadn’t thought about until just now), but I still think it’s a good idea for racing. It’s different conditions than fitness riding, usually with more riders, unfamiliar territory and always higher speeds.
For light protection you can use some volleyball-type kneepads. They are better than nothing, and legal for racing. But there’s far less protection there than with some hard-shell pads.
Thanks Dustin, infact it’s the photo of you (and others) in uni magazine (p28) that prompted me to start this thread. The guy on the right appears to be wearing the veggie wraps. It’s not so much that i’m scared of falling, just that I do fall off and having bashed knees is a pain, I’ve got all the gear from doing muni but it seems overkill so I’ve bought a bike style helmet instead of my hardshell muni helmet and now i need to down-size the leg protection too.
For Coker knee protection you want a hard shell style pad that has the outer plastic cap over the knee. The style that inline skaters use. The hard shell will slide on the pavement and thus stay on your knee during a crash. The soft cover (fabric cover) pads will stick to the pavement and not allow you to slide. The soft cover pads will grip the pavement and end up sliding off your knee during a crash.
Find some light inline skate knee pads that fit comfortably on your knee and don’t restrict your pedaling. Look for the light style of pad used by the high speed inline skaters. You don’t need or want the big bulky style of pad used by the street and ramp skaters.
Well, I know this is going to jinx things, but I’ve ridden a few thousand miles now, a lot of it through London, and to date, have never fallen off and injured my knees.
Personally, I find gloves essential, and I also wear a helmet too, although I think the helmet is more psycologically protective, as well as giving other road users the impression that I am actually a serious cyclist.
I have started to wear knee protection since my failed Nottingham to London ride back in October, however. Not to protect me in case of a fall, but to support and strengthen the joint. It’s the elastocated tubagrip type that you can pick up in any chemist. For long term protection, I thoroughly recommend them.
I used a hard exoshell knee pad last summer for a 30-mile ride. It was made by Harbinger, seemed the right size for distance work, and had good padding as well. Initially, I thought it was quite comfortable, but after the ride, the backs of my knees were horribly chaffed, bloody, and raw. Ironically, I never fell during the event. It took over two weeks to heel properly and since then I haven’t been able to build up the courage to ride long distance with them again.
What ever you get, there’s probably a period of time that is needed so that your skin can build up to what ever rubbing will occur. I see other long distance riders wear them, but I don’t know how they avoid the chaffing.
You need to try on different brands, and styles of knee pads and see how they fit you and see how they feel as you move your leg through a cycling motion. Inline skaters don’t move their knees through the same range and repetition of motions as a unicyclist does. A pad design that works well for an inline skater might not work so well for a unicyclist. I’d say that the majority of inline skate pads will have chafing problems for a unicyclist. The challenge is in finding the ones that work for unicycling. So find a shop that will allow you to try on the pads before you buy them. That will help week out the obviously bad designs. Then you’ll have to take a chance and try them on a ride to see if they stay comfortable after 10+ miles of riding.
You already discovered one design feature that doesn’t work well for unicycling. You generally want a pad that is open behind the knee so the fabric can’t bunch up there and chafe. But that’s also not a universal rule because I have a pair of Cokering knee pads that have a closed back and work fine with no chafing for me. So it all depends.
Another problem area is rubbing on the kneecap. Some pads will rub and chafe the kneecap while others won’t. Depends on the fit, the style and the design.
You can find hard shell inline skate pads that will work comfortably for long rides. It just takes trial and error to eventually end up with pads that will work for you. Once you find some that work well then buy a few pairs cause you don’t want to go through that all again when those pads are inevitably discontinued.
When I started riding Coker I wore Roach leg armour which prevented serious damage to calfs and shins from pedals due to mis-judged mounting at pace. I haven’t worn them for road riding for a few years now and have only once taken a minor scrape to a knee. If I were into speed riding then I would probably get myself togged up with the hard shelled knee protectors and something like the Harbinger wrist guards, plus helmet of course.
In my opinion I don’t think knee pads for long distance rides are a good idea. When you take into consideration the number of pedal strokes required to complete a 20, 30 or 40 mile ride your not going to want anything on your legs to cause discomfort or excessive sweating.
I’d imagine that even the smallest amount of chafing that is often common with knee pads could quite possibly wear a hole through your skin by the time you’ve completed a good Coker ride. Considering I’ve ridden my 36’er 40 miles without a single UPD, the chance of sustaining an injury from a UPD is less than if I’d wear knee pads.
I wear em over trousers except in summer when I wear shorts. In summer they can sometimes chafe a bit, but once you’ve done 50 miles or so on them, you get the callouses in the right place.
I wear them because I’ve had a couple of big falls towards the end of long rides, and when riding fast with other people, and hit my knee hard enough to stop me riding for a couple of weeks (and in one case walking on crutches for a week). I don’t bother wearing them on my commute, cos I don’t fall off on it.
Falling isn’t an issue for me at all when I’m just riding at sensible pace on my own, for short distances like 20 miles or so, but when you get towards the end of a long ride, you’re super tired, and/or racing other riders it’s possible to push yourself too far and have that sudden coker fall where you’re on the floor before you know it.
Joe, this is exactly the type of fall I’ve been having, at the end of a long (for me) ride or when im tired from hillclimbing I’m suddenly on the floor with no warning, I’m gong to try experimenting with different pedals to see if i can reduce the frequency of this happening. Those pads look really good (and cheap!) and are going to get some serious consideration.
unipsychler, it’s an interesting thought, but ive worn full leg and kness pads for all the riding ive ever done and never had a problem with discomfort or chaffing, and being new to coker riding i do seem to fall off rather more than the average rider. Also I’m more worried about damaging my joints rather than flesh wounds, so I’m prepared to take some chaffing to keep my knees in good nick.
I’ve got Veggie knee wraps and they do offer really good protection and fit very nicely, however while I have used them on long rides, as they’re made of about 4 layers of neoprene they are roastingly hot and get decidedly sweaty - so much so that I don’t use them for long distance rides any more as I find them just too hot and uncomfortable - just my twopenneth