Becoming a Mountain Biker
10. Obligatory accessories
In any case the bike is not the only thing you need
to buy, if you want to become a mountain biker. Riding
without a helmet is dangerous. Tight shorts are also a
must, despite now fashionable freeride shorts, which are
like ordinary shorts that will get stuck at your saddle.
You also need a wind jacket, which helps during rather
chilly descents and might also help against rain
If your feet are securely attached to the pedals, then
your pedaling is more efficient and your DH riding is
more controlled and thus safe. In the old days one could
use straps, but today SPD pedals (SPD = Shimano Pedaling
Dynamics) are the ultimate solution and a must when
riding off-road. They are very similar to alpine ski
binding, and they automatically release in case of a fall
as well. It can be frustrating to use them at the
beginning, until you learn to release them
subconsciously. But don't give up too soon!
Since sweaty hands slide easily, you can't hold the
grips securely. That is why you should wear gloves. And
if you also want to protect your fingers in case of a
fall, then use full finger gloves.
Of course, the list of additional equipment doesn't
end here. You can also get yourself a bike computer,
water bottles, back pack, emergency repair tool kit, a
couple of spare inner tubes, small pump, first aid kit,
altimeter, compass, etc.
When riding off-road, you don't really want bike
panniers or big backpack to bother you when riding those
tight singletracks. You need to get used to pack small
and light, just the essentials. You should try to keep
the bike clean, without too much additional equipment.
I wish you well with choosing your bike and becoming
a real mountain biker and let me give you some final
- if this is going to be a beginning of your
recreation, then do not rush things, start slowly
with short distances and easy climbs, so that you
prevent potential back pain, knee pain, etc.
- when riding off-road, you should be out of the
saddle a lot with slightly bent knees, especially during descents, so do not
persist sitting all the time!