What you Need (A Beginners Guide to Mountain Biking)

June 9, 2008 by  
Filed under Tips

baby on bike 200x300 What you Need (A Beginners Guide to Mountain Biking)One of the most common questions people have when they begin the active and awarding hobby of mountain biking is “what do I need?” While some of the answers are pretty obvious such as getting a bike, there are several things that many new mountain bikers overlook. In many cases the fact that some of these things were overlooked often leads to injury, or a complete loss of interest in the hobby. It is the intent of this article to provide those who are new to the hobby a good look at what they will need to begin this exciting sport.

  • Bike weight: When you are first entering the hobby remember that lighter is not always better. Most people learned how to ride a bike on a medium or even heavy weight bike. This means that when you are first starting the hobby try to select a bike that feels good as you ride it. If you are having a hard time moving the bike, chances are it is too heavy. If you are having an easy time moving the bike but can’t seem to control it well, your bike is most likely too light. Remember you can always do things to lighten the bike as your skill increases.
  • Safety equipment: Even the most experienced biker will have a fall on occasion. The trails and terrain that you will be riding your bike along can at times be very rough. The last thing you want is to have to end a ride early because of injury. It is strongly advisable that not only should you buy a good helmet, but to also invest in knee and elbow pads. While this may take some of the mystique away from the hobby, you will be thankful you have such equipment the first time you wipe out on a muddy turn and go flying off your bike. When selecting safety equipment you want to make sure it fits well and is comfortable to both walk and ride in. After all, if you take off your safety equipment because it’s not comfortable, it is not doing any good.
  • Repair kit: Every biker has a story about having to stop their ride in order to help another biker fix a flat or a broken chain. Also many bikers have a story about getting a flat or breaking a chain and having to push their bike back up the trail for miles instead of spending the day riding. This is why having a basic repair kit handy is a great idea.
  • Proper Attire: Dressing properly for both the weather and the environment you will be riding in is a very important thing to give consideration. If you are expecting rain on a day you plan to ride, wear water proof or resistant clothing. Also if you plan to be gone most of the day, bring some warm clothing with you just in case of a sudden temperature drop. While bringing extra clothes means extra weight, having them when you need them is always a good thing.
  • Snack food and water: Biking burns a lot of calories (in fact that is one of its chief benefits), however riding too long without some kind refueling of the body could create several problems. When selecting food granola bars or trail mix are probably the best. These kinds of foods tend to be light weight and easy to store while providing a lot of energy. Pure water is always the best thing to take for drinking on the trail, however Gatorade or a similar sports drink can replace much of the bodies salt that is lost during exertion.

As you gain experience with biking you will find other things that you may need or want as your ride. Some riders always bring a flashlight with them, while other riders try to remain as light as possible. The main thing is to consider safety and comfort as you begin to ride. As you become a veteran of the beautiful trials offered in the world, you will start to develop your own list that has been earned through experience. So good luck and may you find many trails as you begin this wonderful hobby.