How NOT to wear your goggles.
© Hanna Jonsson
MTB

Unofficial dress code rules in the bike park

Unsure how to dress in bike park? Not to worry – we got you covered with this quick guide to the biggest no-nos in the park.
Written by Hanna Jonsson
5 min readUpdated on
It is hard to believe that the sweaty, messy-looking riders dressed up in weird pyjamas-reassembling attire, actually have a pretty strict dress code. But they do.
To be part of mountain biking’s inner circle at the bike park there are actually dress codes to adhere to. Whilst some of them make absolutely no sense and does not affect your riding performance in the slightest, others actually have a bit of common sense behind them.
We've listed some of the biggest no-nos so that, whether you are a newbie or experienced shredder, you know what bike park dress code sins you need to avoid.

1. The kneepad gap

The kneepads gap, also knows as the “gaper gap”, is when there is a gap between your kneepads and your shorts. That tiny bit of skin showing is one of the biggest mistakes you can make in the bike park. Make sure that your shorts are long enough so that they cover the kneepads even when sat down pedaling to avoid everlasting shame.
Hanna Jonsson showing off the enduro gap riding Åre Bike Park in 2018.
Say NO to the gap!
Want to learn more about what kind of clothing and protection you should wear when MTBing? Check this article out:

2. Protection jacket on the outside of the jersey

Protection jackets are meant to go under your riding kit and not on top – with the sole exception of the chest protection that has somehow dodged the shame bullet and instead become the hottest safety accessory in the park. So, whilst wearing a full-on protection jacket (or a backplate) on top of your riding jersey shows just how clueless you are in the bike park, wearing a chest protection will send your shredder status through the roof.
Josh Bryceland racing Downhill for the Santa Cruz Syndicate in 2018.
Josh Bryceland making the chest protection look cool.

3. Goggles on the helmet

While you might think you look cool as anything swaggering around with your full face helmet and shiny goggles, you might be making one of the biggest mistakes of them all, simply by wearing the goggles wrong when not using them. There are some big shame points to be scored here! To the untrained eye it might look like everyone has just strapped their goggles randomly onto the helmet, but that is not the case. There is a system. A very important system.
How to wear goggles when not in use:
  • Round your neck, lens resting on the back of your neck or on the side of your shoulder.
  • Strapped on backwards with the lens on the back of the helmet and the strap placed under the visor.
How to wear your goggles.
How to wear your goggles.
How not to wear goggles when not in use:
  • Strapped on forwards resting the lens over the mouthpiece.
  • Strapped on forwards resting the lens under the visor.
  • Strapped on (we’re not exactly sure how?) with the lens resting on top of the visor.
How not to wear your goggles.
How not to wear your goggles.
First time in a bike park? Don't worry:

4. Visor and goggle strap height

Whilst on the topic of headwear, another important thing to think about is the height of your visor and goggle strap. They can give you away instantly. The visor should be tilted as far up as possible and your goggle strap should be slightly raised up on the back of your helmet because…. well, just because that’s the way things are in the bike park.
How to wear your visor and google straps on your Downhill MTB helmet.
The right and wrong angles of your helmet.

5. Sneakers instead of bike shoes

This rule actually makes complete sense. You should not ride in sneakers as they are too soft, don't stabilise your foot and have no proper grip. Wearing biking-specific footwear doesn’t only support your foot to avoid injury and make you feel more stable on the bike; the grippy sole also makes sure that your foot stays in place on the pedal. So people – wear proper footwear!
Make sure you wear proper MTB shoes.
Make sure you wear proper MTB shoes.
Do you wear different clothing depending on what type of rider you are? Of course, just check out the most common stereotypes in the bike park:

6. Short socks

Whilst on the topic of footwear – socks play a major role in the success of your attire. Black, mid-height socks that cover half of your calves are the way forward. If you’re feeling juicy and like living on the edge you can go for socks with a funny pattern – like a bear, or an eagle or maybe even some watermelons. But that’s as far as you can go. Do not under any circumstances mess with the height of the socks. You can only go mid-high. Never ever wear ankle or knee-high socks.
Hanna Jonsson demonstrating how to wear your socks when mountain biking in a pair of FiveTen clipless shoes.
A sock guide.

7. Tights (or tight clothing)

It doesn’t matter if you’re into the full pyjama kit attire or the chilled out t-shirt and shorts vibe when you’re ripping up the bike park; the important thing is to not wear stuff that’s too small or too tight. The only thing that can be tight are jeans – and you can only wear that if you’re a slopestyle rider hitting jumps like you are the next Martin Söderström. And no – absolutely no – tights. They are great for running, yoga and going to the gym but NOT to ride the bike park with.

8. Clothing that is too loose

On the other hand, wearing stuff that is too loose and baggy isn’t very cool either. Like Hockey shirts. That is just not right. Also, it's dangerous as it can snag on your bike, trees and other features in the park.

Stay cool out there people!

*And remember, as long as you have fun on the bike that is actually all that matters!*
Want some more tongue-in-cheek tips or maybe even some proper ones? Take a look at the articles below:
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