Mountain biking offers the speed and exhilaration of cycling combined with the relaxing, tranquil sights and sounds of Mother Nature. If you're tired of cycling down the same neighborhood and city roads day after day, you should pack up your car and head out to a mountain trail. The beautiful natural scenery is a welcome change to paved roads, allowing you to see and experience Mother Nature first hand.
Before you secure your bike to the roof of your car, though, you should check to make sure you have all of the necessary gear. Whether you're traveling 10 miles or 100, you don't want to reach your destination only to discover that you left an important piece of gear back home.
A helmet is a must-have item when mountain biking. Even if there's no state law requiring it, mountain bikers should always gear up in a helmet before hitting the trail. Choose a strong, name-brand helmet that's sized to fit your head.
The Delaware Health and Social Services states that 85% of all bicycle-related head injuries can be prevented by wearing a helmet. Regardless of how 'tame' the trail looks, there's always a chance that you'll hit a rogue rock and go flying. Wearing a helmet can protect your head from traumatic injury, shielding it from the blunt force of impact.
High-Powered Tire Pump
Don't assume that your el-cheapo tire pump offers enough power to adequately refill the air in your tires. Trying to exhaust 35 pounds-per-square-inch (PSI) air pressure from a tiny pump is next to impossible, leaving you winded and your tires flat.
A better option is to avoid this heartache by investing in a high-powered, portable tire pump. These pumps may cost a little more, but it's a small price to pay for the time and physical effort it saves.
Tire Patch Kit
There's nothing more frustrating than popping a tire atop a desolate mountain in the middle of nowhere. As long as the hole is small, however, you should be able to patch it using a standard patch kit. A typical tire patch kit consists of a scraping tool, glue, and several rubber patches of various sizes.
Eyewear is a commonly overlooked piece of gear by first-time mountain bikers. Wearing a pair of protective goggles will keep your eyes safe from rocks, dirt, dust, bugs and the sun's ultraviolet rays (assuming you choose a pair with UV protection).