Obviously, you will need a bike suitable for cycling up and down hills, on potentially unstable ground and on surfaces that can be slippery. A good mountain bike is essential. But there are other things that you will need in order to make your mountain biking experience a safe and fun time.
Essential on all rides, regardless of terrain, this is one item all experts agree is non-negotiable. It has the potential to save your life should you fall and hit your head.
Elbow pads and shin guards
Again, if you fall, you will be thankful for these extra precautions. They also provide a little extra protection against the weather, as well as any flying rocks or debris that your bike may fling up.
Water and snacks
There’s no doubt about it, mountain biking is a fun, but completely exhausting pastime. Keeping hydrated and properly fuelled along the way will keep you going for longer!
Against the sun; against flying stones and rocks; against any wayward flying insects – don’t leave your sports glasses at home.
Even on the hottest of days, your hands take the brunt of the weather while on the bike. They will get whipped by the wind, burnt by the sun and soaked if it rains. You may also experience friction burn from holding onto the handlebars during your roller-coaster biking trip. Gloves protect against all of this. You can get more lightweight ones for the summer which may be preferable on hot days.
Puncture repair kit
Because you will rarely find a bike service shop in the middle of a mountain bike trail, and if you want any chance of getting back home that same day, you will have to temporarily fix a puncture yourself.
Useful in a multitude of situations, you never know when you might need this.
In case you need to stop for a beer/cake/coffee – lock your bike up during your refreshment stop to keep it safe.
Because maps are too bulky.
When you are cycling at speed, the sun is whipping your face even more intensely. Sunscreen will prevent you burning.
In the unlikely case of an accident, it is helpful for the emergency services to be able to know who you are and where you live.
No matter how much fun you are having, you will want to capture some of the more breathtaking and beautiful scenery options you will come across.
If you get stuck or lost, and the GPS is making no sense, this could be your only way of getting help.
If you are cycling somewhere remote, you might not be able to find a cashpoint easily, and many isolated places won’t accept cards. A ‘just-in-case’ stash is recommended.