Mountain bikes are sturdy things, designed and built to travel at speed over challenging terrain. There is no doubt that any mountain bike worth its salt can take quite a few knocks before it lets you down entirely and leaves you scrambling over hillside rocks with the thing on your back. Nevertheless, problems can and do arise frequently during this most energetic of pastimes. Mechanical problems, changeable terrain and, yes, injury can become part of the experience pretty frequently.
But as disastrous as many of these problems might sound, they are nothing particularly new or alarming to seasoned mountain bikers. This is an off road sport and, to be frank, the danger is actually part of the fun. Of course, bikers have ways of being prepared.
On the technical side of things, mountain biking isn’t particularly complicated. For sure, it takes endurance and skill, but it is, at the end of the day, pedaling an off-road bicycle up and down hills. Okay, that might be a somewhat flippant way of putting it, but perhaps what distinguishes mountain biking most from other bicycle sports is not actually the cycling itself but preparing for all the challenges that being offroad can throw at you. And to do that successfully, you are going to need some tools.
For serious mountain bikers, taking along some useful equipment and accessories is not a way of making the experience more comfortable or to optimize performance – it is a total necessity.
The tools that mountain bikers bring along are typically those which answer the most common problems mountain bikers face. Accordingly, they are typically tools for making quick repairs, medical supplies to deal with injuries the moment they happen and – actually least importantly – things to make the ride experience a bit smoother.
There are also a range of mountain bike accessories which might not be strictly necessary, but are usually brought along, nevertheless. These are the things designed to give the cyclist either a competitive edge or, indeed, to simply optimize the cycling experience.
So, what actually are the mountain biking essentials? Rollercam, a company specializing in tie-down straps for outdoor pursuits (including the cam straps you will require if you’re transporting your mountain bike anywhere by car) recommend that you check off these essentials first, before purchasing additional accessories according to your specific mountain biking needs.
The tubeless tires in mountain bikes are sturdy things, designed even to operate well at reduced pressures. However, a puncture still has the potential to lay you low, so bring along a tire booster to keep up that bouncy pressure in your tires.
Many mountain bikes will already come with mud guards, although perhaps not everywhere that you would like them. Over certain terrain, mud can even fly up from the front tire and into your face as you ride. This can get dangerous as well as being simply unpleasant.
You are going to need a first aid kit for obvious reasons, but what does a biking first aid kit look like? Naturally, it needs to be small and portable and should be able to deal with cuts, bruises and, more importantly, sprained joints.
If you’re doing it right, your bike is going to take a pounding out on the trail. Bringing along a ratchet kit is essential to prevent parts of your bicycle going wobbly when you’re out on the trail.
Importantly, all these items can be brought along in a backpack. Without them, the commonly accepted perils of mountain biking can lead to some pretty unacceptable problems.