Mountain Biker's Checklist|
Mountain biking is a wonderful sport for exercise, seeing beautiful places, and getting an adrenaline rush. Because it can be extremely aerobic, as well as somewhat dangerous (or prone to causing cuts and scrapes), it’s important to be well-prepared for a mountain bike excursion. Wearing a helmet and staying hydrated are helpful to prevent serious injuries or exhaustion. As for a bike, there are several types of brakes and shocks, so head to your local mountain bike shop and discuss with an expert what type is best for your mountain biking needs.
Bike – full suspension, front suspension only, disc brakes or rim brakes – there are many options and some are better for certain types of mountain biking (downhill, cross country, trick). Some are also more expensive, like full suspension. Check with your local mountain bike store to figure out what type of bike is best for you!
Helmet – not all helmets are created equal, however there are 2 very important things to know about helmets. First, it has to fit you correctly. Even the best helmet, if it doesn’t fit well, won’t do you any good if you fall. Second, helmets are designed for single-impact use. Buy a new one, and if you crash into a tree, spend another $50 and buy yourself another one. Besides that, most helmets are more expensive because of ventilation, visors, and fancy features, not because they will protect your head better. So, find a helmet that is comfortable and stays on your head even if you are head-banging (practice a little rock concert in the store before you purchase).
2 Water Bottles - with pop-top style lid (one that you don’t have to unscrew to drink and will fit in the bike holders)
Bike repair kit – Including a spare tube, small pump, spare chain link, and a bike tool. If you plan on doing a more extensive ride, you might consider bulking up your repair kit with a spare tire, spoke wrench, tire irons, and a crescent wrench. Under-the-seat bike bags are a great place to store your repair kit.
First Aid – see our First Aid Contents. Because mountain bikers are prone to scrapes, cuts and falls, it’s important to have not only a first aid kit, but also knowledge of how to use its contents, as well as an evacuation plan for each ride.
Snacks – GORP and energy bars are great lightweight snacks that you can keep in your shirt pocket for a quick pick-me-up.
Mountain Bike Clothing Checklist
Shirt – any shirt will do, but it is nice to have a mountain biking shirt with easy storage pockets for snacks in the back.
Padded shorts or pants – while it is not required to wear special mountain bike shorts, definitely consider a short with padding in the crotch area if you plan to ride frequently or any significant distance. If you don’t like the “cyclist look,” there are several mountain bike apparel manufacturers that make a loose fitting short with padding.
Shoes – Platform pedals or pedals with clips (a basket that goes over your shoe and holds your foot on the pedal) don’t require special shoes. However, if your bike has cleats (ie. clipless pedals), then you will need shoes that fit the pedals. Most mountain bike cleats are compatible with a 2-hole shoe system.
Cycling socks - any non-cotton sock will work as well.
Windbreaker, or windshirt – some mountain bikers prefer windshirts because they are closer to the body and are more streamlined.
Warm layer of fleece or arm sleeves – the arm sleeves are a nice way to add warmth that can be removed while riding.