Mountain biking is a recommended sport for building muscle power and strength, endurance, and agility. Mountain biking uses bicycles designed to ride off-road and over rough terrain. The sport requires core strength, endurance, balance, and self-reliance. This is because riders are often far from civilization. Riders must learn to repair broken bike parts and fix flat tires to avoid being stranded. Mountain biking gear that riders carry includes a heavy-duty backpack with plenty of water, food, tools for repairs, and a first aid kit. Using the appropriate gear and equipment will help make the next ride safer and more comfortable.
Table of Contents
Mountain Biking Gear
The first piece of equipment is a properly fitting and well-maintained mountain bike. There are all types of bicycles for every type of rider and trail. There are variations of bikes with full suspension, front suspension, disc brakes, V-brakes, different wheel sizes, and frame materials. It is recommended to consult a professional or visit a bicycle shop specializing in mountain biking to match the individual with the best bike. The right bike makes for a better ride.
- Disc brakes offer more secure braking when going high speed and needing the option to stop safely and at the proper distance.
- The bike’s frame must be properly set up so the individual can easily step over and pedal at the correct height.
- Individuals that plan on taking on all kinds of terrains need the bike to absorb the shock and impact and are recommended to consider a full-suspension bike or one with a suspension fork.
- Mountain bike wheels range in size from 26 to 29 inches, and depending on the terrain and speeds, the right wheel diameter is key.
- Larger wheels accelerate slower but provide improved traction.
- Smaller wheels are lighter and easier to maneuver.
A helmet is the most important safety gear that significantly reduces the severity of head injuries; no one should ride without one. Mountain bike helmets generally have a visor to help block the sun when riding so individuals can focus on the trail and not be distracted by glare. Three styles of mountain bike helmets are available, depending on the type of activity.
XC or Cross Country
- Cross-country helmets provide ventilation, are open-faced, and are lightweight.
- These helmets are recommended for long rides.
- A trail mountain biking helmet covers part of the face and has a visor to help protect the head from the sun and other weather elements.
- Trail helmets are recommended for mountain biking, road, and trail cycling.
- Full-face helmets are essential for downhill trails at high speeds and on varying terrains.
- They feature an adjustable visor and chin protection for added safety.
- Eye protection helps keep dirt, dust, and debris out of the eyes and helps have clear vision in dark shadows and bright sunlight.
- Glasses or goggles protect the eyes if not using a full-face helmet.
- Choosing a frame with an interchangeable lens system that comes with different lenses for varying light conditions is recommended.
- Wearing a hydration pack when riding provides easy access to hands-free hydration.
- This is important for anyone exercising for more than two hours and with limited access to refills on the trail.
Mountain Biking Shoes
- Beginners can wear comfortable sports shoes when starting.
- Riders who begin riding more frequently will eventually want to transition to mountain biking shoes.
- Cleated bike shoes work with pedals and lock the rider’s feet to the bike.
- There is a variety of cycling footwear, but all-mountain bike shoes provide thorough traction off the bike, durability, comfort, and a heavy-duty sole for optimal pedaling efficiency.
- Clipless pedals are recommended for cross-country trail riding.
- Cycling shoes and clipless pedal systems lock the shoes into the pedals for secure and efficient pedaling and can be unclipped easily with a twist of the foot.
- Use shoes and pedals that work together.
- Mountain bike gloves provide additional padding and finger coverage.
- They absorb the shock and protect the hands from falls on rough terrain.
- The handlebar grips are padded, but additional cushion from the gloves is beneficial for long or downhill rides for extra comfort and protection.
- Full-finger gloves offer the best coverage, protection, and grip on the brake levers.
Padded Bike Shorts
- Padded and protective bike shorts offer benefits for riding long distances and over rough terrain.
- These shorts provide a padded inner liner like underwear that increases comfort and reduces chafing.
- The exterior looks like a baggy pair of shorts made of tough, abrasion-resistant fabric to take the wear and tear.
Bicycle Repair Kit
- A repair kit can be attached to the bike saddle and holds all the essential tools for mechanical trouble or a flat tire.
- The repair kit should include a bicycle multi-tool, an extra tube and patch kit, tire levers, a mini pump, and emergency cash.
- Riders should keep an identification card with a list of contact numbers in the seat bag in case of a serious injury or other emergencies.
First Aid Kit
- Riders can lose traction on loose rock and crash on the trail.
- A first aid kit with various bandages, tape, pain relievers, and antiseptic wipes to treat cuts, scrapes, blisters, rashes, and everything in between is highly recommended.
- Also include an eye drop solution, a small pocketknife, moleskin, energy gels, and an emergency whistle.
Biking Franklin Mountains
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