In a perfect world, we would just get on our bikes and ride. However – according to Murphy – whatever can happen, will happen. We’ve put together a list of essential mountain biking gear to take along on your next ride, so you can be prepared for whatever the trail may throw at you.
1. Storage for Your Supplies
First you will need a way to carry all of your supplies. Here are a few options to consider:
- A cycling backpack is a sure bet, especially if you like to go on longer rides.
- A jersey with pockets on your lower back can store most things for a shorter, one- to three-hour ride.
- A saddle bag that straps to your seat with Velcro can store all the tools needed for most repairs.
- Specialized is leading the way in storage options with their S.W.A.T. (storage, water, air, tools) category of bikes, which includes hidden compartments and tools stashed in bike frames.
It is absolutely necessary to drink fluid while you ride if you want to be successful on the trail. This is particularly true in Park City, which is a high desert environment. There are many options for aiding in hydration while on the move:
- CamelBak created the hydration pack category and many other brands have joined the ranks. Using a reservoir is a great option for staying hydrated, because you can carry up to three liters of water on your back.
- A bottle cage is a classic way to carry water, but with some of the new geometry in full suspension designs, the space in the triangle of your frame can be limited. A side-releasing bottle cage can help remedy that problem in most cases, but a hydration pack is more efficient and allows you to carry more water.
There are three main options when it comes to inflating a flat tire. Keep in mind that you will also need to bring an extra tube, or two, that is the right size for your wheel and a patch kit – just in case.
- A small handheld pump is the most reliable option for inflating a flat tire. These bike pumps come in a wide variety of options with many different bells and whistles. A pressure gauge is a nice feature if you want to know the exact pounds per square inch as you inflate. Somewhere between 25 and 40 psi is an ideal range for a mountain bike tire, and figure on 80 to 120 psi for a road bike tire.
- CO2 cartridges are extremely convenient, quick to use, and they take up almost no space. The only drawback is that you are limited to how many flats you can fix based on how many cartridges you have on board. If CO2 is your air option of choice, make sure you bring extras for backup.
- The last option incorporates both a hand pump and a CO2 cartridge in one system. This option is very user friendly, so if you can’t decide, go with the combo.
There are a few critical tools that you should take on every bike ride:
- Tire levers are what you need to get the tire on and off the rim, in case of a flat.
- A set of hex wrenches will get you far with most of the components on your bike. These come in compact sets and are an essential part of your mountain bike supply kit.
- A chain tool is used to fix a snapped chain on the trail. You will also need a master/quick link that is compatible with your chain for this repair.
- Ski straps and zip ties can really help you out in a pinch. For example, if you ripped your derailleur off on a rock, you might be able to use the straps to hold it in place until you can get off the trail.
5. Navigation and Weather Protection
In addition to the things mentioned above, mountain bikers should always be prepared for a ride that might take longer than expected. A few things to keep in mind:
- Trail connections are not always well marked, so stop by a local bike shop and grab a trail map. Most maps are updated annually and will usually have the most up-to-date trail information.
- Bring a compass so that you can get your bearings – especially if you are in a new area.
- Put a light, compact windbreaker in your pack in case of a rainstorm or sudden drop in temperature.
- Sunscreen is a must-have, especially since UV rays are more intense at higher elevations.
- I always bring a snack or energy bar along, even if I’m only going on a short ride. Sometimes even simple rides can get complicated when the unexpected happens.
- It’s always good to be prepared with basic survival supplies such as a lighter or matches and a first aid kit.
With this list of what to bring mountain biking, you will be equipped for most unforeseen circumstances that occur on the trail. By being prepared, you can efficiently solve those issues and get yourself safely home.
Cindi Lou Grant, White Pine Touring Sales Associate & Guide