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July 12, 2020
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What to Take With You When You Ride a Mountain Bike

If you’re going on a mountain bike ride, short or long, it’s a good idea to have a kit list so that you don’t get caught out with a puncture or breakdown or end up suffering and stranded at the top of a trail.  Let’s think, first of all, about the bare minimum items that you could get away with if you were to head out on your mountain bike.

A Kit List for Short Rides

There are a few things that you should take with you even on a short ride. Ideally, attach a small bag to the frame and keep this stuff in there. It will stand you in good stead if things go wrong:

– An Inner Tube

Even if you have a tubeless set up, it’s worth having an inner tube with you. It’s easy for tires to get torn, and large cuts can’t always be fixed with sealant. A spare tube will help get you home.

– A Pump

What good is a tube without a pump? Mini pumps are portable and while they are a little awkward to use they will do the job of pumping up that spare inner tube in an emergency. It usually doesn’t make sense to carry a bigger pump with you.

– Tools

A small multi-too with the right sized Allen keys and the screwdriver heads that you will need to fix up your bike is another must-have. There’s no need to carry a full toolkit.  Take a look at your bike and think about what you’ll need – tire levers are handy for some designs, flat-head screwdrivers are always useful to have too.

Longer Rides

For longer rides, you need to pack a little more thoroughly to ensure that you don’t get caught out a long way from home and have difficulty getting back.

– A Cheap Phone

Yes, most of us have super-fancy smartphones that double as GPS tools and workout trackers, as well as an interface to social media. What those phones tend not to have is a good battery life.  If you want to make sure that you’re always able to call for aid (and it is worth doing that if you’re going on a long ride and camping) then you should get a feature phone with an ultra-long battery life that you will use just to make calls.

– An Extra Inner Tube

Yes, if you’re going on a longer ride you should have not just one inner tube, but two. That will help to ensure that if anything goes wrong, you’ll be able to patch up both tires – or, if you replace one damaged tube and then suffer another puncture (which can happen), then you will be able to replace it again.  If you’re riding in a group, this gives you instant points as someone who is always prepared!   For really long off-road trips, pack a good pump to go with the tube.

– A Proper Multi-tool

A slipped chain is one of the worst things that can happen when you’re a long way from home.  Pack a proper multi-tool that has everything you need to fix your bike, including a wrench and a chain tool. Pack a tire lever as well. Even if you have a bike with tires and rims that are easy to work with your bare hands, it’s just easier and more efficient to use a tire lever when you’re out in a cold, wet environment.

– Puncture Repair Kits

You can buy small and easy to use. They come in a solid plastic box that can slot into the side of any bag or just go into a pocket. The inner tube patches are handy to repair cuts even on tubeless tyres, and the glue is surprisingly strong. Just make sure that you clean the area and dry it before applying the patch. You can get a lot of mileage out of a damaged tyre if you fix it properly.

– A Shock Pump

Sometimes, if you’re carrying more or less than normal, you find that your bike’s handling can end up out of whack. Finding out that things aren’t quite right once you’re already riding is no fun. Adjusting the shocks will help to avoid frustration.

– A Spare Rain Jacket

The weather is unpredictable, and just because it’s nice when you leave the house it doesn’t mean that it will be nice all year round. A good, thin outer jacket that is waterproof will stop you from getting too soggy and allow you to stay out on the trail for longer. Just be aware that wet ground is slippery, and that your handling will be impaired. Ride carefully when the weather is less than ideal. Indeed, ride carefully at all times.

– A First Aid Kit

A compact first aid kit with painkillers, bandages, cleaning wipes and other basics will help you to take care of yourself and your riding companions if there’s a minor accident. If something serious happens, then you should call for aid using your long-life, fully charged smartphone.

– A Foil Blanket

A foil survival blanket can save more lives than an over-sized first aid kit. These blankets will help to preserve body heat in survival situations and can be helpful for keeping someone warm if they go into shock after an injury as well.

There are other things that you will want to pack depending on the type of bike that you ride, and where you’re riding. Good lights are handy, as are spare brake pads. A snack to help tide you over or an energy shot drink can help you to keep going towards the end of the ride when fatigue sets in.  Water, of course, is essential every time you go out on your bike. Every rider will have their own things that they will want to take with them such as best bike light, and your packing list should be based on where you’re going and how long for. Pack sensibly, and your ride will be hassle free.

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