The Most Important Pieces of Mountain Biking Gear
It's hard to find a hobby more exhilarating than mountain biking. Rushing down narrow, rocky trails with the wind in your hair and adrenaline in your muscles. The thrill is part of the fun, but also the reason you need proper equipment before you set out on an adventure. Although it does not require as much gear as other hobbies and sports, to safely ride mountain paths, you will need things such as a helmet, working bicycle, and possible elbow and knee pads.
If you're at all familiar with road cycling, then you probably have an image of cyclists in tight shorts and clingy shorts speeding down the highway on a thin-framed, skinny-wheeled bike. This might not seem like your style, which is okay because mountain biking has no particular dress code. You could wear a Spongebob T-shirt and novelty socks if that's what you're comfortable in!
That being said, there are a few pieces of clothing that might make your ride more comfortable. Mountain biking shorts provide padding for your bum and legs in case of a fall. They are also made of durable, comfortable fabric so you have a range of motion and extra protection while you ride.
Gloves for mountain biking can be another sound investment and keep you safe on the trails. Gloves can help reduce some of the friction on your hands when you hit bumpy trails and give you a better grip on the handlebars on hot days where your hands might get sweaty and slippery.
Traversing mountains and riding the edges of cliffs does require some safety measures. The first, and possibly most common, safety device is a helmet! Wearing a helmet can reduce your chance of serious injury if you fall off your bike or crash. The key to a life-saving helmet is ensuring it fits you properly: snugly on your head with the chin strap comfortably underneath your chin, but without a gap.
You might think about wearing sunglasses to keep the glare out of your eyes, but you should also have them for eye protection. Riding through trees and brambles can expose your eyes to a lot of potential hazards, so you want to make sure you shield them from debris. Consider even investing in a pair of clear lenses glasses to wear on cloudy days.
Safety isn't just about protecting your outsides, though. It's also about taking care of your insides, which is why carrying water is incredibly important. Most mountain biking adventures can take you an entire day to complete, so you will need to stay hydrated. If you don't like stopping along the way to sip your water bottle, consider using a hydration pack you can stick in a backpack and sip on as you go.
After you've made sure that you will be safe, it's time to think about your bike. We like to think of our machines as being ever-reliable, but there is a lot that could go wrong while you're out in the wilderness. That's why having the correct tools and supplies can mean the difference between a problem being a pit stop or the end of your trip.
The one thing you never want to leave home without is spare tubes. This is the inner lining of your bike tires that inflate. Any number of things can lead to a popped tire, but if you have spare tubes then it won't be the end of your adventure. In addition to spare tubes, you should consider carrying a patch kit for those times when you pop your last tube and need a quick fix to get you home.
You can also carry a multi-tool at all times to help you solve a number of problems such as prying your tire off of the wheel to change the tube, adjust your seat, fix spokes, or tighten and loosen bolts on your bike.
Riding a bicycle can be one of the most enjoyable activities in the world! Donning a carefree attitude and having the wind blow on your face as you ride down the block can be a truly exhilarating experience. However, while riding your bicycle can be one of the most fun and thrilling activities you can participate in, it also has the potential to be extremely dangerous.