3. Gloves

102314-top-10-save-butt-03 Gloves

And not those silly fingerless jobs, either.

While lots of training can get you to ignore some of your survival instincts – learning to counter-steer is a prime example – you simply can’t train away some of our most ingrained self-preservation instincts. Training riders to counter-steer defeated the incorrect survival instinct that had them steering away from the Big Scary Thing That Wants To Kill and consequently counter-steering right in to the BSTTWTK.

Unfortunately, lots of brain-stem level survival instincts can’t be trained away. Take the instinct to break a fall by putting out a hand as you go down. Since, from a life-saving perspective, hands are expendable compared to the torso and all its delicate internal parts, it’s virtually impossible to keep from putting your hand down in a crash – often leading to painful lessons about abrasion. So cover your paws with sturdy gloves that, at a bare minimum, close around the wrist, preventing them from being flung off in a cartwheeling tumble. After that is covered, the amount of armor, vents, and other bells and whistles depends on the type of riding you’re doing and how much you value your hands.