Just the words “road rash” are enough to make any avid motorcyclist cringe and rightly so. The term itself describes a specific abrasive skin injury that happens when you crash, collide, or otherwise suffer a mishap that finds your body making uncomfortable contact with asphalt, gravel, or pavement. Although some cases of road rash are a lot more serious than others, even the mildest instance is really very uncomfortable and can mean pain, scarring, and bleeding among other consequences.
In other words, road rash is something to be avoided to the greatest extent possible, and wearing the right protective riding gear is the best way to do this. However, not all of your options are created equally. Graphene is being discussed more and more often lately for being a nearly miraculous skin saving material, but what is graphene exactly? Even more importantly, can it really make worry over road rash a thing of the past?
What Exactly Is Graphene?
If you’ve already heard a thing or two about graphene, you probably also thought it sounded just like something out of a science fiction story, and with good reason. Graphene is 100 percent carbon, so it’s ordinary enough as far as what it’s actually made of. However, it’s also considered stronger than even steel despite being a mere atom thick. If that’s not enough to make it an absolute shoo-in when it comes to the ultimate protective material for motorcycle riders against road rash, the fact that it’s wonderfully light and flexible to boot will surely do the trick. Graphene is highly desirable as a gear component for the following additional reasons as well:
- Graphene can’t be penetrated by any liquid other than water, so it can offer amazing protection against all sorts of potential hazards. However, it can also be easily bonded to a multitude of other materials that are waterproof, so it makes the perfect addition to any gear meant to be weatherproof. Imagine the possibilities when it comes to touring gear!
- Graphene conducts heat and energy like a charm, so it even has some potential when it comes to next-level insulated gear. However, unlike many of the existing options on the market, it won’t be bulky or uncomfortable, meaning it won’t cramp your riding style in the least.
- Because it’s made of pure carbon, graphene is even hypoallergenic. That makes it appropriate for even riders with sensitive skin or other health issues that can make finding the right gear options for them difficult.
- Graphene isn’t prone to static, so there won’t be any of that irritating cling that you may be all too resigned to when it comes to other types of protective gear.
- It’s not possible for bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms to grow on graphene either. No more funky mystery smells to worry about!
How Is Graphene Already Being Used?
Although graphene may sound more like something you’d hear about in a Marvel movie than anything else, it’s very real. It’s also already out there in the world making itself useful. Currently, it can be found in items like electronics, batteries, bio-electric sensors, and more. It’s a common element in touch screens, as it makes them hyper-tough and very resistant to breakage. Graphene is even considered trustworthy enough for the likes of elevator cables.
It isn’t yet officially present in any of the protective gear options for motorcycle riders currently on the market. However, it has made appearances in items like reversible all-weather jackets. So far, gear and apparel featuring graphene in any capacity is in high demand and sells out in record time. This is despite the fact that it can be very expensive, especially in comparison to similar options. It’s definitely only a matter of time before we see it appear as a skin saving material for bikers. However, you should be prepared to pay a pretty penny for it when that day eventually comes.
How Can Road Rash Be Prevented?
So what’s a serious biker to do in the meantime when it comes to understanding how to prevent road rash? In addition to simply driving as carefully and defensively as you can, you’ll want to make sure you’re wearing the best protective gear for motorcycle riding, even if you can’t yet buy pieces that feature real graphene. Options include but aren’t necessarily limited to:
- Chest protectors and back protectors.
- Knee guards, shin guards, elbow guards, and knee sliders.
- Wrist, neck, and ankle supports (to prevent even more serious injury to vital body parts).
How many of the available options on the market a given rider decides to wear is ultimately up to him, but generally speaking, there’s no such thing as too much protection. The more of your vulnerable skin you keep protected when you ride, the more likely you’ll be to avoid road rash altogether in the event of a collision or other accident. You’ll definitely be a million times more likely to only suffer a mild case of first degree road rash, as opposed to a third degree case that could come attached to more serious consequences.
How Can Road Rash Be Treated?
If you do wind up with a case of road rash on your hands, you can treat it yourself at home providing the injury is superficial enough. Start by thoroughly washing your hands, followed by the injury itself. If you see any little bits of rock, grass, or other debris in the wound, remove it as carefully as you can. Follow up by applying plenty of antibacterial ointment and covering the abrasion with an appropriate bandage. Keep the wound clean throughout the healing process and change your bandage often. Should it get dirty, wet, or loose, change it immediately to keep the injury safe.
Always be sure to monitor any injuries sustained for signs of infection or other issues that may signal a more serious injury than you previously thought you had. When in doubt, always see a medical professional for advice or treatment. Smart riders know that it’s better to be safe than sorry, so make sure you err on the side of the caution.