Every sport has its accessories, and mountain biking is no different. But many of these accessories are designed to save, if not lives, then certainly unnecessary aches and pains.
There’s more to mountain biking than just getting a cool bike. Mountain biking can be dangerous, like any sport where you’re heading downhill at speed.
The younger generation thinks it is invincible and will not bother with the common sense safety gear that could save them from unnecessary bumps, bruises, cuts, or breaks.
Of course, those bumps, bruises, cuts, and breaks can happen even with all the safety gear, but they’ll likely be less severe.
The helmet is not an “accessory” but an essential part of the mountain biker’s gear. Every mountain biker will fall off his or her bike at one time or another – and the helmet will very likely come in for a beating – much better than the rider’s head.
Helmets these days are comfortable and come in an array of styles. Make sure you purchase one which fits properly.
Second, eye protection such as goggles is a must only for the helmet. Going downhill at speed, it’s easy for your tires to kick up rocks or dirt that, if they get in your eyes, will blind you and cause you to run off the trail and into a tree, as often as not.
There’s always the chance that mosquitoes, midges, or other no-see-ems will get into your eyes, which is why goggles are better than glasses or sunglasses – although they will serve.
Once you’ve got the helmet and eye protection out of the way, everything else can safely be classified as “accessories,” which would be nice to have but are not mandatory.
Trail repair kit
Of these types of accessories, perhaps the most important is the trail repair kit. You may be able to ride your entire life on the streets of your city without getting a flat tire, but when you’re going cross country or down mountains, the chance of getting a flat tire rises exponentially.
You don’t want to get stuck on the trail – so make sure you have a repair kit underneath your bike seat. And just as important – practice with that repair kit so that you actually know how to use the tools!
It is more comfortable to ride any bike with gloves than without them. Mountain bike gloves are specially designed to withstand the harsh conditions under which they’re used, and not only will they save you stress in just gripping the handlebars, but they’ll also prevent any nasty scrapes should you take a header.
Nothing ruins the ride more than feeling hungry or thirsty while you’re in the middle of it… but thirst probably is more annoying than hunger. Bring a water bottle at the very least.
A hydration backpack also fits the bill – all this is is a specially fitted backpack with liquid of your choice in various containers, fitted so that they feel almost weightless.
For many types of biking, your average tennis shoe will work just fine. But for mountain biking, shoes made specifically for the sport are pretty nice to have. You want them to be comfortable, durable, and suited to their purpose – which is to keep your feet safe and injury free while you ride.
They come with stiff soles for better efficiency while pedaling, and you can get them for clip or clipless pedals.
Padded shorts are a must for any type of biking! It increases the comfort of the ride no end (along with a gel-filled saddle!)