With mountain biking being one of the most popular activities in America, it has become a lucrative industry as the demand for a better riding experience has meant improved bikes, clothing, and accessories. Several years ago many mountain bike riders were riding bikes that didn’t have any gear changes – imagine doing that for the first time on rough terrain! With great natural views, it makes sense to have the right gear for mountain bike riding so you can enjoy the scenery.
Cycling shorts have several important functions. The first is they are skin tight due to being made with wicking material. Wicking material is specially designed to draw the sweat our bodies produce away from our bodies, helping us to keep cool in the process. You can also purchase tops with wicking material.
Cycling shorts also prevent your body from chafing against the bike, which can be caused when cycling for a long time. There is a panel called chamois which protects you in this way. It is also made of wicking material. One thing some may not know is that underwear is not meant to be worn with cycling shorts, especially if they are made from cotton because cotton does the opposite to wicking material and traps moisture.
Baggy shorts are often the attire of choice for mountain bike riders. They also have an inside layer that helps reduce friction that can lead to chafing as well as trap moisture. They also provide better protection if the cyclist should fall off their bike.
Jerseys tend to be worn for temperature control. In winter, you need to wear layers because each one can be taken off as you become warmer or, alternatively, can be put on if you become colder. In warmer weather, a lightweight wicking material with zips is ideal because it will enable you to keep your body temperature under control.
Most activities have shoes that are fit for purpose and mountain bike riding is no different. They are designed specifically for pedaling, meaning they are lightweight and usually have a stiff sole. This latter aspect allows you to maximize your leg power to your heels, which is ideal when pedaling up a steep incline.
Perhaps one of the biggest bugbears when cycling is when your heel slips away from the pedal. It’s extremely annoying when it stops your momentum. To counteract this, the experts at MountainBikeReport.com suggest using mountain bike shoes that have a special molded plastic heel for anti-slipping support. Some mountain bike shoes have cleats and spikes to better support your mountain bike experience. The former enables you to attach your shoe to your pedal if they’re compatible. The latter can help you ride through muddy terrain.
These are so important to keep your hands safe. Gloves can reduce blisters and absorb the shock that riding on rough terrain can cause as well as keeping your fingers warm. There are mittens and half-finger, full-finger, and three finger-gloves.
- Mittens are also known as pogies, which attach to your handlebars. They cover the handles and brakes so you can operate your bike using them. Some bike riders even use thin gloves underneath for extra warmth and protection.
- Half-finger gloves are ideal for warmer weather because your fingers are not completely covered. Made of leather, they absorb sweat and allow your skin to breathe. They are also lightweight but with stitching on key pressure points to provide better support.
- Full-finger gloves are ideal for colder weather and tend to be worn by serious mountain bike riders. Made of leather and other materials, they absorb sweat and provide protection against crashes.
- Three-finger gloves are also for colder weather. The thumb is separate from the other fingers, which are then grouped in two for warmth.
Global Positioning Systems (GPS)
Becoming more popular in the mountain biking world, a GPS can pinpoint where you are and when. They can be worn as a watch or clipped onto your bike that records your journey, including times, average speed and now you navigate over certain inclines. This can be an important tool for competitive mountain bikers or those that are seriously into tracking their fitness activity. Some GPS have apps that can be downloaded to better support your training. Aside from data, it can also help you navigate your way back if you ride too far off of your trail.
Mountain biking is an inclusive sport in the sense that you can ride at a leisurely pace or you can approach it as a competitive sport. Whatever you decide to do, you must have the right gear to safely enjoy it and have items that will help you in case you break down or sustain an injury. Knowing how to keep safe will help you keep safe and those with whom you ride.