So you've got a bike and you're ready to get started mountain biking. Here are some preparation tips for new riders that you can do to stay safe and increase the fun factor...
Know Your Bike
Your bike should fit you and you'll need to be familiar with the operation of your shifters and brakes. Having 27 gear combinations doesn't really help much if you're not sure how to use them. You'll need to know how to safely remove and replace your wheels in the event you might have a flat tire.
Know Your Gear
You'll need a few tools and items and the basic knowlege of how to use them.
- A helmet in good working order and fits
- Appropriate clothing for the weather
- Sunglasses or other eye protection
- Gloves and proper shoes (dangly shoelaces like to get sucked into your chainrings)
- Water or something to drink
- A spare tube that fits your tires
- A way to inflate that tube (a pump or co2 inflator that fits the valve on the tube)
- Tire lever(s) to remove a flat tire
- A "multi-tool" to repair or adjust the many bolts and screws on your bike (just in case)
There are plenty of other safety and convenience items that you might condsider bringing, tailoring them to suit your ride, e.g., energy snacks, bug spray, a first aid kit, suncreen, etc. It would probably be a good idea to carry the "10 Essentials" if you're planning on venture at all far into the woods. Here's what one GORC member prefers to bring for shorter, simpler rides.
Know Your Plan
Choose a destination that suits your skill level as a new rider. GORC offers descriptions of the local trails and the GORC message board is a great resource for trail recommendations. Be sure to check on trail conditions before you leave.
- Anticipate potential problems
- Know the weather forecast
- A cell phone is great to have but it may not always have a signal.
- Bring a map, even if you're riding with a buddy. You might get separated
Having a more experienced rider accompany you might be helpful as you get to know mountain biking. Having a sense of adventure will help you get past some of the tough mental challenges you may encounter along the way.