There is no better sport that gets you outside, working up a gnarly sweat, more than mountain biking. Whether you’re an extreme mountain biker who is always on the hunt for the next extreme trail ride, or a beginner who seeks leisurely, scenic rides, mountain biking has something for you.
Mountain biking has so much to offer. Hitting the trails helps you clear your mind and leave your everyday stresses behind, even if for just a short time. Mountain biking can take you to places you’d never thought you’d go. It can push you to limits you’d never thought you could reach. And it can make you realize how much you’re capable of if you just put your mind to something. When you face challenges head on, like a double black diamond trail, and you come out the other end unscathed, your self-confidence gets a huge boost!
Mountain biking is one of those lifelong sports that you can do no matter your age. From young kids to older adults, mountain biking is an all-in sport! Since mountain biking is easier on the joints than running, many older Americans take to the sport for exercise and fun. It’s rumored that former U.S. President George W. Bush took up mountain biking after he was sidelined by a knee injury from running.
Mountain biking is great fun, and it’s great exercise too! The sport of mountain biking is good for you from your head down to your toes. Riding can be a social affair. There are local cycling clubs all over the country to join so you don’t have to go it alone. Depending on the time of year and location, there are races to compete in. And often you’ll encounter other bikers on the trails who are eager to share their stories and tips. This socialization helps keep you mentally sharp and emotionally engaged. When done for 3 hours per week, mountain biking decreases your risk of developing heart disease and stroke by 50%, according to PeopleForBikes.org. Research also shows that for women, biking for just half an hour a day decreases our risk of developing breast cancer. And for teens who take up mountain biking as a hobby, they are less likely to grow into overweight adults. Climbing hills and navigating trails builds muscle, stamina, and endurance, all of which can carry over into other parts of your life. Before you know it, you’ll be lifting heavy things and walking up stairs without huffing and puffing. And all it requires is a bike, some gear, and the great outdoors.
To do it right and stay safe, mountain biking requires some gear. While you could probably spend hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars on high-end cycling gear, you don’t have to. Watch for end-of-season sales or online discounts to save money. There are plenty of good brands that sell quality gear without the sticker shock. If you’re wondering what gear should top your list of must-haves if you’re just getting into the sport, here’s our list of what we feel are the top 10 most important accessories for successful mountain biking. While we haven’t included every available accessory out there, this is a great place to start! Happy riding!
Helmet-DO NOT ride without one! No one ever plans on hitting a rock and flying over their handlebars. That’s why it’s called an accident. They happen, and your head needs to be protected for when it does!
Hydration system-Just a fancy way of saying water bottle, there are a few options for you to choose from. For short, easy rides, a water bottle inserted into a water bottle holder on your bike frame will work. But for longer, more vigorous rides, look for a hydration pack that you wear on your back. It holds more and you can drink hands-free.
Riding shoes-Stiff-bottomed cycling shoes help you get more pep out of every pedal stroke and will help you use the right leg muscles when you pedal.
Riding shorts/bibs-A pair of shorts or bibs with padding can save you from uncomfortable chaffing and rashes
Pump-Since accidents happen, carry a bike pump that can handle up to 35psi. Look for a foldable one that has a foot grip and a flexible hose for easy storage.
Protective glasses-For about $25 you can pick up a pair of protective glasses that will keep your eyes safe from protruding branches and other pointy objects on the trails
Riding gloves-Find a pair of durable, breathable cycling gloves to help protect your hands from sharp rocks if you happen to fall. They’re usually made of material like silicone to help you keep your hands firmly on your handlebars, even on rough terrain.
Digital tire pressure gauge-To ensure that your bike’s tires are correctly inflated and that your bike isn’t prone to skidding off the trail, carry a digital tire-pressure gauge with you. Look for one that reads low pressure, since a good range for bike tires is 20-35psi.
Multi-tool-Think of this as your Swiss Army knife of cycling tools. Look for one that includes appropriately sized Allen keys and Torx keys, a chain breaker, and nothing that’s superfluous or too big that it makes it uncomfortable to carry along.
Bike rack-You’ve probably spent a pretty penny on your bike, so don’t skimp on a cheap bike rack. Hitch racks and roof racks are your best bet for keeping your bike securely mounted to your car.