There are a lot of things that need to be considered before you embark on an off-road bike ride. 1SW has compiled a list of ten essential items you should take on your next trip to ensure you have a great time, stay safe and don’t get stuck.
1. Puncture Repair Kit – Before you hit the trails give your bike a once over. Check your tyres, if they are over or underinflated it will affect the quality of your ride. The extra weight of a repair kit is worth it, include a pump, spare tube, tyre patches and tyre levers. Also take a multi-tool with you, one that is equipped with hex wrenches, Phillips and flathead screwdrivers, a chain tool and a spoke wrench.
2. Back Pack – For carrying around all your essentials. Find one that includes a bladder for water as water bottles have a tendency to bounce out of the cage on mountain bikes. In the unlikely case of an accident you should carry with you a copy of your identification and always put an ICE (In Case of Emergency) number on your mobile phone.
3. Lights –At this time of year it gets dark early and low visibility is one of the main causes of accidents. Lights do two things, they make you visible to others and they illuminate your path. Lights have massively come down in price and weight, and massively gone up in battery life and brightness. When buying a jacket, make sure it is brightly coloured as well as waterproof and breathable.
4. Vaseline – It’s not the most pleasant thought but going mountain biking in the UK (http://www.1sw.org.uk/
5. U-lock – No matter where you are, it is essential to secure your bike when it is out of your line of sight. Don’t position the lock close to the ground as this makes it easier for a thief to attack it.
6. High Energy Snacks– You can expend a lot of energy whilst tackling the South West terrain so you will need a high energy food that is easy to carry, such as protein bars. We like to chop them up and eat little and regularly before you actually feel hungry.
7. Water – According to some studies, when you are dehydrated your attention and concentration can decrease by 13% and short term memory by 7%. Take plenty of water with you and stop for regular breaks to rehydrate and enjoy the scenery!
8. Helmet– A helmet could save your life – simple. They are now lighter and better looking than ever before. Make sure you wear a helmet that fits you properly, it should be level, covering your forehead and the strap should be snug.
9. Gloves – Asides from keeping your hands warm, they are also great for protecting you from nasty blisters and they can save your skin in the case of a crash – the hands are normally the first thing to ‘make contact’!
10. Positive Attitude – The last but most important. A smile, a hello, a holding a gate open, not racing around that blind corner. Amazing what a positive difference it will make to your day, and the day of the cyclists 5 minutes behind you!.
As well as a network of purpose-built MTB trails (http://www.1sw.org.uk/