Selecting the Correct Gear
Have you seen all the riders hitting the local trail and thought “wow that looks like fun?”. Are you hoping you could get in on the excitement but do not know where to get started? Well, you’ve come to the right place. Check out these tips for everything you need to get off the couch and onto the trail.
Selecting a Bike
When it comes to trail riding there are three basic designs to choose from, each has its advantages.
These bikes are designed for the paved or hard dirt trail but will not perform well on gravel or loose dirt, sand or snow. If you are just getting started and want to leave the sidewalk without going off the beaten path this is a good place to start.
These are the bikes you want if adventure is higher on your list than getting from point A to B. They are designed for rough terrain, twists & turns and gravity defying downhill rides. The frame, knobby tires and suspension are what you need to conquer the trail.
3. Fat Bikes
These are essentially mountain bikes on steroids, at least when it comes to the tires. The extra wide, deep chunk rubber is specifically designed for the user who want to go through snow, loose dirt and sand. Although a plus for riders who encounter these terrain features on a regular basis this can be counter productive on the average trail, where the extra weight can be a hinderance.
Mountain biking can be dangerous, or at least more so than peddling down the sidewalk. It is not uncommon for riders to end the day with a few more bumps and bruises than they started with, and the occasional spill is not unheard of. This means that it is important add the right personal protective equipment to your arsenal.
You helmet is more than a fashion statement, it is what stands between a “you should have seen it” story and serious head injury when you do wipe out. Your helmet will also provide protection from the sun, rain and the unseen branch as well. Most users find a simple dome style with visor is sufficient, but those interested in downhill trails may want to consider a full-face model.
You will want to select clothing that is comfortable while being able to stand up to the rigors of the trail and still provide the extra support you need. Compression shorts & shirts are popular, and with good reason as they are designed to keep you cool and reduce chaffing. Some mountain biking shorts resemble cargo shorts but have built in compression zones, making the duel purpose capable of being worn on the trail or when heading to and from the trail as well.
Even when riding in warm weather a pair of gloves are a clever idea. Gloves do more than keep your hands warm; they also protect you from branches, spills and discomfort when riding for extended periods.
When it comes to shoes you have several options, but the first factor is whether you are using clipless pedals. When using clipless peddles you will need to select cleat style shoes. If using regular peddles you can choose from cleat less bike shoes, heavy lug or flat styles. Heavy lug and flat styles are good chooses when you do not want to change shoes when driving home. They are also more comfortable when you will be walking part of the trail.