What to take on a mountain bike ride? Here’s a short list of things you should take with you in your backpack when going mountain biking.
Very few things are needed when mountain biking. Your legs and a smile are the two things that will really help you along your way. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert biker, it’s good to know what to take with you on a mountain bike outing to avoid any nasty surprises.
Experienced bikers will know that you may run into unexpected trouble during trips close to home, too. Let’s look at how we should prepare ourselves to prevent them and overcome them. If you know what to take with you in your backpack or hip-pack, you’ll be able to deal more confidently with anything that happens by yourself with greater ease of mind.
What’s most likely to happen on a bike ride: our experiences
In our opinion, there are three types of unexpected situations you could face.
A sudden change in the weather is the most common. How many of you have gone out for a bike ride on a sunny day and returned home soaking wet? Anyone who lives in the mountains definitely has some tales to tell.
Mechanical problems are equally frequent. Many women are put off from going out bike riding alone as they are worried about having to deal with unexpected mechanical problems. In our experience, a puncture is the easiest one to solve. The easiest and the most common. It is worth getting hold of the right tools and practising changing the inner tube, perhaps at home, so that you will always be ready to deal with it by yourself.
The other is the hunger pangs or low sugar but we will explain later how to deal with it.
What to take on a mountain bike ride: our advice
Below is a basic list of things to take with you for your mountain bike rides.
This list could change based on the type of cycling you are doing. For example, enduro cyclists will take elbow-pads and knee-pads with them, while for those who are planning a long bike ride in the mountains we recommend taking spare underwear in the backpack. The temperature at high altitudes may drop quite a bit: better to always be warm and dry.
WIND-PROOF: with sleeves or sleeveless. If you’re only venturing out in hilly areas, when it’s mild and also in summer, we recommend choosing something sleeveless, packable and lightweight to put in your backpack or hip pack. In winter and on mountain excursions, a classic long-sleeved wind-proof jacket, preferably waterproof, is preferred.
NECK WARMER:this is very useful both for protecting your neck from air and to be worn under your helm to gather your hair and absorb sweat. A small, convenient accessory which you should never be without.
What to take as a kit to change a mountain bike inner tube
Here are some useful tools to repair your bicycle in case of a puncture and in case of small mechanical problems. Here are some useful tools to repair your bicycle in case of a puncture and in case of small mechanical problems.
PUMP: this is used to inflate the inner tube if you get a puncture. There are various types you can buy: choose the most suitable one for your type of bike.
The smaller, more lightweight ones are ideal for those who do cross-country. Those that are more structured inflate inner tubes and tubeless tyres more quickly.
CO2 cartridges or a PitStop with repairing foam may also be useful. We suggest experimenting a bit beforehand to understand what your best strategy is.
SPARE INNER TUBE: remember to check that it’s the right size for your wheels. Mistakes sometimes do happen and you could end up trying to fit an inner tube for a 26 inch tyre rather than a 29 inch one. Doing so is definitely not recommended. 🙂 🙂
TYRE LEVER for mountain bike: these are the plastic levers that help you get the tyre off the wheel rim. There’s also a technique we suggest you learn so you can do it without using a tyre lever. However, you may happen to find some tyres harder to remove than others. Without using a tyre lever, it could prove an impossible task! 😀
Having this survival kit with you at all times is a must, but knowing how to use this equipment is crucial, especially when you’re by yourself. Try and have a go in your garage in your spare time and you’ll soon see it doesn’t take much to become an excellent mechanic.
MULTI TOOL: this is an excellent multi-function tool to help you solve the most common mechanical problems you may face during your bike rides. Modern multi tools are often beautiful design objects. You just need to know how to use them correctly.
Food and hydration: what to take when out on your bike
Evaluating in advance the tour you will go on helps you to understand what to bring in case of sudden hunger. Feed yourself properly before and during your outings. Hunger pangs could turn your “Sunday bike ride” into torture!
Take your favourite snack with you to prevent a drop in energy levels. We prefer energy bars or dried fruit, but a peanut butter or jam sandwich can be a good idea, too. There are lots of recipes for homemade bars online. Try the one you like most!
HYDRATION BAG or WATER BOTTLE: to be filled with water or mineral drinks. Also depends on the temperature outside. Keeping yourself hydrating is essential during physical activity
Last but not least…
MONEY: we suggest putting 10 euros in your smartphone case. Prevention is better than cure: What if you fancied a beer at the end of your trip, you wouldn’t want to be caught unprepared, would you? 😉 Also useful in other unexpected situations.
All you need to do now is put all our advice into practice: have a go at changing the inner tube, get everything ready and climb onto your saddle for your next biking adventure!
Author: Giulia Morandin
This post is also available in: Italian