Wear a helmet, goggles, motorcycle boots, gloves, long-sleeve riding jersey, long pants, chest protector, elbow guards, and knee guards. Helmet – This is, hands down, the most important piece of protective gear you can wear. Your helmet should fit snug, but not tight, and be in good condition. If your helmet has seen a lot of use or taken a blow, replace it. They don’t last forever. It doesn’t have to be expensive one either. A new $80 helmet will still have passed at least the DOT safety rating and will give you 98-99% of the protection as a $250 helmet. What you generally pay for with the extra dollars is light weight, removable/washable liners, and other convenience factors; and maybe that added 1 to 2 % of safety protection. Goggles – Your eyes can take hits from low branches, rocks and dirt thrown up from the idiot rider in front of you who decided to get on the gas at the worse time (for you). On dry days, dust will get into your eyes and can be down right painful at the end of the day. Goggles protect your eyes from all this. Sunglasses or Safety glasses will only give you a fraction of the protection provided by goggles. Motorcycle Boots – Generally speaking, the more expensive the boot, the more protection you get (unlike helmets). A few years ago, I bought a pair of really nice and comfortable inexpensive boots and promptly broke a bone in my ankle during a fall. I thought the boots bent a little too much in this particular fall, so I now wear a top of the line heavy boot. You do sacrifice some flexibility and feel for the foot controls when wearing heavier boots, but the added protection is worth it in my book. One thing you don’t have to sacrifice is comfort. My new heavier boots are very comfortable.Gloves – Close fitting motorcycle gloves will prevent blisters and afford protection in a fall. Your hands will also be protected from scrapes with branches, limbs, tree trunks, and boulders while riding. Long Sleeve Shirt – Any long sleeve T-shirt will do, but a good motorcycle riding jersey made of synthetic material is best. The synthetic material wicks sweat and moisture away from your body. Cotton simply holds moisture that will make you uncomfortable in either hot or cold conditions. Long Pants – The pants made for motorcycling are best. If you don’t believe me, ride one hot day in blue jeans and then try it with motorcycle pants. You’ll notice a huge difference in comfort.Chest Protector – Yes, these cumbersome looking things can feel awkward at first, but they will eventually protect you from getting a shoulder or chest injury (or at least lessen the extent of injury). Elbow and Knee Guards – This is straightforward stuff. Your knees and elbows almost always take a hit during a fall, so protect them. These things are relatively cheap insurance.I hope this is helpful to you all who are considering riding with us. Next time I’ll talk about your bike’s condition and what it should wear.