QUESTION: I’ve met several cyclists who’ve fallen and sustained injuries to the hip joint, pelvis or femur. We all wear helmets for obvious reasons, but is there any protection available for the hip? I’m particularly worried about going down on my gravel bike in a turn. — Al D.
RBR REPLIES: For pure road riding, I’m not sure if there’s anything out there like that. I know some cyclists will wear two pair of shorts during a criterium to help avoid road rash in case of a crash, under the theory that the two layers of fabric slide instead of your skin against the pavement.
Several companies like Burton, G Form and Fox make compression style underwear with hip pads that you could probably wear under your cycling shorts, but they are generally designed for things like snowboarding or shorter mountain biking events like enduro and downhill runs. It’s unclear how comfortable they’d be on a longer ride.
There’s also a brand of hip protectors designed for the elderly called Fall Safe that might work if you wore them between two pair of cycling shorts, or possibly directly against your skin with the cycling shorts on the outside.
Perhaps readers will have some better advice of specific products or do-it-yourself techniques!
I have used POC Hip Vpd 2.0 Protective Shorts over my bike shorts for road bike riding for the last 3 years. They are comfortable and they have protected me in several falls.
William C says
John what size shorts did you get? How big a guy are you? Why do you wear your bike shorts under the VPD’s? I broke my hip two years ago, don’t want to do it again. Thanks!
I looked up “downhill ski hip pads” and found many versions of undergarments with built-in padding. A few of them looked like they might work for bicycling if falls were a concern.
Will Haltiwanger says
I am the proud owner of a Ti hip ball following a fall in 2010.
I thought I was doing everything right during the fall: I did not stick my arm out, so my collarbone was fine, I tried to just lay over with my leg taking the initial hit. My mistake was twofold: First I got distracted looking at something on my wife’s bike which caused the fall, but perhaps more importantly I chose to ride on a road with very fresh asphalt in August. I could feel the stickiness of the pavement and when I went down it was like the Tar Baby, I stuck rather than slid. I did try some motorcycle pads for a while after the fall, but quickly discarded them. Perhaps my experience will help you decide where not to ride, and as always pay attention!
Joe Nikstenas says
Amazon seems to have a few good choices…
Joe VanLeuven says
I fell a few years back and hurt (but did not break) my hip. When I could start to ride again I protected it with a pad of dense packing sheet foam until it fully healed I just cut out a decent size pad from some foam that had come in an amazon box and slipped it into my shorts. Never got tested by a fall, but it stayed in place just fine and wasn’t too hot.
Search ebay for d30 hip pads. Those are the same material used in mt bike and motorcycle pants. Put them in your tight bike shorts over your greater trochantar–bony top of femur, usually gets road rash on falls but if you fall hard on it you’ll break your femoral neck. If displaced fx you’ll need a new hip.
Terry Vickers says
We make cotton/ spandex hip protector underwear with pockets positioned over the hips to house a pair of soft foam shields. Our shields are excellent at absorbing impact energy. The shields can be removed and swapped into fresh underwear, very comfortable to wear. Here is a link to our website. Our products are designed for older folks as a fall can have serious consequences. Check out the article that is published in the Osteoporosis International Journal which rates the best hip protectors. You will find it under Testing Evidence page.
If you want to discuss this some more please get back to me.