When the sun’s shining, you cruise down to the coast on your moped – and you’re probably not planning on covering yourself head to toe in heavy leather, boots, gloves and a helmet. But check this: at 30mph, sliding along tarmac for less than three seconds will wear down your skin to the bone.
“When I was 19 I bought my first bike, and I had it parked outside my apartment [in London],” says film star Ewan McGregor. “Every time my parents came to visit, I would hide all my bike stuff: my helmet and my gloves and jacket. A year or two went by and then I went, ‘Mom, Dad, look. You know that bike there?’ And they went, ‘Yeah.’ I said, ‘That’s my bike and it’s been my bike for about three years.”
Legit motorcycle clothing protects you from weather, makes you visible to other road users and protects you from some injuries. It needn’t cost a fortune, either; you can pick up gloves for £18 and boots, jacket and trousers for £70 apiece. Remember, in your practical test the examiner will assess your clothing.
Here are the must-haves:
- Helmets: you have to wear a lid by law. Check for a British Standard mark of quality. If your crash helmet takes a serious knock you’ll need to replace it; even if you can’t see any damage, it could be fatally fractured. For the same reason, never buy a second-hand helmet.
- Leather gloves: essential, and you can buy lightweight mitts for summer cruising.
- Jacket: you want protection at the elbows and shoulders. Check for breathable panels and removable thermal linings so you won’t get steaming hot in summer.
- Trousers: look for extra protection around the knees. You can even buy normal-looking jeans with seriously protective Kevlar inserts – like body armour. Check for a CE mark.
- Boots: at the very least, wear a pair of normal ankle boots. Summer flip-flops? Forget it.
- Waterproofs: a lightweight oversuit will keep you dry in a downpour.
- Hi-vis: in daytime, wear a white helmet or fluorescent orange or yellow clothing. At night, wear something reflective