There are two distinct types of cycling. Off-road or mountain biking and road biking. Getting the correct type of bike to suit the intended terrain is vital. Road bikes are often lightweight frames with very skinny tires to reduce the friction on the asphalt and have a higher PSI. Mountain bikes are more rugged with larger tires that flatten out on a rough surface. This flattening effect helps the mountain bike “float” across the terrain.
The equipment needed for both types of cycling is a tire pump, spare tube (2-3 when mountain biking), chain oil, patch kit, master link, chainring bolt, zip ties, tire lever, extra spoke with a nipple, and a multi-tool (preferably with a chain tool incorporated). All of these items can be organized in a small pack that attaches right under the seat. If you are a beginner cyclist and don’t know what some of those items are, it will behoove you to visit your local bike shop. The staff there can show you what everything is and how to use it. While biking, there is nothing worse than dealing with a malfunction and not having the right equipment. While you are still learning how to repair your bike it is recommended that you don’t stray too far from town.
More non-mechanical equipment needed include a small portable first aid kit, portable rain jacket, sunscreen, headlight and taillight (called frog lights), eyewear, and at least one water bottle cage (two is better). Do not forgo safety for vanity and get yourself a good, fitted helmet. Bikers stand no chance against a car with no helmet. Along with the water bottle cage get the intended cycling water bottle. These bottles are designed to be easily taken from the cage with a nipple that you can open and drink from without ever getting off the bike.
There are a couple more items needed for each type of bike. A shock pump is a very valuable item to carry when you are mountain biking. Bringing this item allows the rider to adjust the air pressure in the spring based on the intended terrain. For road bikes, you will thank yourself for investing in padded sorts. The pain following a long ride without these shorts will verify their value.
The clothing needed for each style varies. When road biking a lightweight, dry fit biking jersey will help keep you cool and dry. Even in the hot summer months wearing a long sleeve will help protect you from the sun or if there is an accident, it may help avoid road rash. Cycling shoes take some time to get used to, but they are the most efficient use of energy when going on long cycling trips. Finally, socks and their undeniable value. The level of comfort of investing in a good set of cycling socks is unquestionable. These socks are made with cycling in mind and hug the foot perfectly. They are woven to be thicker on the ball and heel of the foot and thinner on the top of the foot. They are seamless and also provide compression to help with circulation. It may seem crazy to spend $20 on a pair of socks, but your feet will thank you later. Mountain bikers really just need good shoes and the proper amount of clothing to protect from the sun and stray branches.
Just like any outdoor activity doing proper research is very important. Research the weather and dress accordingly. Research the route you plan to take and find the closest towns for safety check-ins. Make sure your cell phone is charged and bring a topographic map and compass in case of technology failure.
Other Great Graybend Articles
- How to Become the Best at Making Campfires
- The Best Cycling In The Southwest
- Desert Hiking Tips For Every Level Of Hiker
- Keeping Your Kids Safe in Nature
- The Longest Hiking Trail in the US
- New Mexico Rock Climbing