In response to the ongoing pandemic, most people have been restricted to staying indoors for the majority of the day, venturing outside only for essentials and exercise. Time spent outdoors has become a cherished moment for many of us, and for some it has created a desire to experiment with different ways to engage with the natural environment.
As a Sports Communications And Broadcasting Graduate and an avid outdoors-man, Lukas Politis explains that mountain biking offers an excellent combination of both cardio and strength training. If you have been thinking about picking up the sport and would like some gear advice for your first mountain biking experience, read on.
Selecting the Right Bike for the Terrain
Lukas Politis explains that the first step is finding a bike suitable for the terrain you will encounter. The best place to start your search is a local bike shop. They will help you find a bike that fits your budget and correctly size a bike to you, which is important for avoiding injury. Keep an eye out for reputable brands such as Giant, Trek, or Specialized, and do not be afraid to search for reviews on potential bikes while you are in the shop. Once you have picked a bike, it is time to move onto safety.
A helmet is essential to ensuring proper safety on a mountain biking adventure. Lukas Politis explains that head injuries are among the most common and most serious injuries that can be sustained while mountain biking, so it is imperative that you remain protected. There have not been any conclusive results as to which style of helmet provides better protection, so select the one that suits you best.
While the helmet is an important piece of protective gear, there are other forms of protection that are worth considering. Lukas Politis explains that other options include protective gloves, knee pads, elbow pads, eye protection (sunglasses/goggles), mouth guards, and in the event of an accident, a first-aid kit (make sure you are aware of how to use its components in case of emergency). A water bottle could also be considered in this category, as it helps prevent potential heatstroke and dehydration.
A Light Backpack with Spare Parts
It is recommended that beginners carry a collection of tools and spare parts on their biking excursions. While most other aspects of your bike should hold up well for your first few trips, tire tubes can pop at any time. Likewise, individuals who do not know how to change them, or fail to bring any spares may end up having to carry their bike home from the trails. Lukas recommends bringing two spare tubes in your bag at all times. Although you may not need both, you might encounter someone else on your journey that does.
Tire Patch Kit
With tires being the most vulnerable piece of your bike, it is also a good idea to carry a patch kit to repair a tire that is leaking air, as well as a portable air pump to re-inflate tires that have leaked or had their tubes replaced. Once you have gained more experience and your trips become more frequent, it is also advisable to carry other spare parts in your bag that may need replacing on occasion, as well as a multi-tool to perform the repairs. Some of these spare parts include replacement spokes, chainring bolts, derailleur hangers, master links, and chain lube. Again, while it may not be necessary to be familiar with some of these parts and how to repair them for your first trip, they are worthwhile to be knowledgeable about as the frequency of your rides increases.