For my readers that ride you know what ATGATT stands for, but for my readers that have not yet discovered the staggering awesomeness of motorcycling, I will explain. ATGATT is an acronym that stands for “All The Gear All The Time”. I am not sure of the origins of this acronym, but if I had to take a guess I would say the MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation) came up with it. They use it as a mantra during class to encourage riders to always wear proper protective gear while riding.
The whole subject of ATGATT can get touchy with some people. Personally, I am a believer, and always practice ATGATT. However, I am also a big believer in personal freedom and will always support the right to make your own choice.
Here in the southeast US it is hot and humid and I know firsthand how difficult it can be to make yourself practice ATGATT when its 100 degrees outside with humidity to match. I can honestly say that I have ridden in 106 degree weather with full gear and I was as comfortable as you can be on a 106 degree day while I was moving. The trick is just to keep moving! That’s the fun part anyway.
Recently, I was on a dual sport ride in the Gorges state park near Lake Joccassee . It was on this ride that I experienced my first motorcycle wreck at speed. It was a lowside in gravel around 15-20 mph. Granted, this wreck was not nearly as exciting to watch as a “get-off” in a MotoGP race, but let me assure you it was very exciting for me!
As I came around that gravel turn my wheels slid out from under me quicker than I could react. In fact, I realized what happened just before I hit the ground and then I was just along for the ride. As I went down I stretched my arm out to catch myself and I ended up skidding across the gravel on my left side with my left arm outstretched and my elbow and forearm leading the way. At some point I became separated from my bike. I can remember feeling the impact and watching the gravel pass underneath me. Then, almost as fast as it started, I came to a stop and started doing a systems check.
I got up and checked myself over. The first thing I noticed was my left sleeve hanging open. This is only the second time I have worn it and now it’s torn up. I also had a few smaller holes down the side of my jersey.
I couldn’t believe there was no blood! I checked my forearm and elbow. My Six Six One pressure suit did its job well. You could see gouges in the polymer plastic where the guard had taken the brunt of the fall.
Next, I checked my hands. At first glance I thought a seam had popped open in the palm from the impact, but then I realized that the double leather palm of my Fox Bomber gloves was actually cut! Let that sink in for a minute. My double leather palms were cut. I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that I may have required corrective surgery on my hand if I had not been wearing gloves.
I slid along on my legs too. I checked my Klim Mojave pants and you literally could not tell anything ever happened. I was actually surprised. I didn’t expect mesh pants to hold up that well, but I guess the Cordura is as tough as they claim.
I was also wearing some Alpinestars Bionic Freeride Shorts and these things saved my thigh from damage. You can actually see a scuff on the hard armor from the impact when it was forced against the inside of the pants.
I couldn't believe that I got up from that wreck unscathed! I was even able to finish the ride and we had just gotten started. The next day I was pretty sore. Some of that soreness was definitely from the wrecks I had that day and some was just from a hard day of trail riding. I started looking and overnight the only visible injuries I had from my get off was a small abrasion on my forearm, a large bruise on my forearm, several small bruises under my arm and down my rib cage, and a big purple bruise on my hip. Oddly enough, the bruise on my hip was right where the space is between the hip pad and thigh guard on the shorts.
This experience has really confirmed my belief in ATGATT. It also got me thinking about how my story could get fellow riders to consider wearing proper riding gear. Most of the people I ride with already practice ATGATT, but I know many others who go for comfort over protection. I hope I never have to see a friend injured because of comfort.
I have been kicking around the idea of a gear review section on my blog for a while and after this happened I started building the page. In fact, this post is the kick off for the Gear Review section of SpiritStrike.com. As the seasons progress you can look here for gear reviews on all the stuff I’m into. I will do gear reviews on everything from motorcycling to scuba diving. I look forward to providing Spirit Strike readers with some great info and firsthand experiences. I will make you a promise. Even if the reviews are sponsored, I will give you an honest and objective review on gear that I have personally used. As the reviews start showing up, feel free to ask any questions you may have. I will answer them as quickly and honestly as I can.
I appreciate all the support I have received for SpiritStrike.com and I hope I can provide some valuable information to you guys going forward.