One of the fastest ways to ruin any excursion is to be unprepared in case an issue arises. Most of us have found ourselves in some sort of predicament, simply because we did not take the time anticipate issues, or don’t have the experience to understand what it is that can go wrong. This is so important when it comes to mountain biking. Not only do you have to be concerned with the mechanical aspect of the sport, but also the elements Mother Nature may bring. We are here to assist you in mitigating these risks!
Know where you are riding and let someone know
Our website will help you navigate through the trails we have posted, but obviously there are thousands of trails and loops out there that we don’t have yet. You need to do some sort of research to check out the area you want to ride, especially if it’s your first time. The web is full of resources, but we have found city park websites to be very useful. Google Earth is another resource we like to explore although this won’t tell you what is off limits to people. We also spend time talking to local riders we encounter on the trails and ask for their feedback regarding the local trails. A lot of riders are cool enough to let us ride with them to explore trails unfamiliar to us.
We always recommend riding with someone else, just to be safer, but this does not always happen. At the least, let someone know where you will be riding.
If you own multiple bikes, you have the luxury of choosing a bike that is conducive to the trail you are riding. I own a 26 inch wheel, dual suspension bike, and a hard tail, 29r. If I plan on riding fire road, which is generally well kept and not too rutty, and intend to do a lot of climbing, I opt for the 29r. If the trail is technical, has a lot of bumpy descents, full or rock gardens and so on, then my dual suspension is the way to go. It’s all about comfort when riding!
You have to expect issues when riding so being prepared for a flat tire or broken chain is crucial. Learn to take care of these simple repairs ahead of time so you don’t have to wing it when you are in the middle of the wilderness. These are the essentials:
- Extra inner tubes (make sure they are the correct size). Even if you are tubeless, it’s a good idea to carry them in case you blow out a tire and need a quick fix to get back.
- Air pump
- Extra chain links or chain clips
- Chain (link) tool
- Allen Wrench
There are a lot of choices when it comes to hydration packs. We find them more convenient than a bottle strapped to your bike, but it all comes down to your individual choice. The important thing here is to ensure you have proper hydration when you ride. Failure to do so can result in heat related injuries, so make this priority each time you ride. The amount you take with you will depend on how long you are riding, but play it safe and overcompensate. Of course, you will need a camel pack or back pack to carry your hydration pack.
- Jersey made with quick dry and breathable material. We want to ride comfortably, right?!
- Shorts. Invest in ones that have a seating pad for extra comfort when riding.
- Shoes with non-slippery sole. Athletic shoes are fine if you are pushing the pedals. If clipped in, then you are using biking specific shoes, which can be purchased at your local bike shop. We recommend a shoe with non-slippery sole in case you have to hike a bike.
- Take a windbreaker. Carry it in your pack if it’s too warm to wear. There are many rides where the temperature cools down as you climb higher in elevation and coming back down may be a bit chilly. If you run into issues (like get lost) and you lose sunlight, you’ll be happy you have it.