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Mountain Biking: What to Take

Hitting the trail this weekend? Look over our checklist, below, to make sure you're ready. You'll want to customize this list, taking into account the season, the weather, the location where you'll be biking, and any individual needs you have. After a couple of trips, you'll figure out which extras can be left at home and which can't.

Just print out this list and check items off as you pack them. If you want a more specialized list, you can copy and paste this article into a Word document on your own computer and add your individual essentials.

Essentials

  • Well-maintained, trail-tested bike (make sure to check your tire pressure)
  • Helmet
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Map of your route
  • Plenty of water (at least 20 ounces for every hour you'll ride, depending on how much you sweat)
  • Handlebar-mounted bell (to let hikers and other cyclists know you're coming)
  • Tire pump (one that attaches to the bike frame)
  • Underseat bag, handlebar bag, or fanny pack
  • Backpack (with padded back panel and shoulder straps)
  • Basic first-aid kit (ibuprofen, strip and ace bandages, Neosporin, or another antibiotic ointment, Benadryl, or another antihistamine)
  • Cell phone
  • GPS
  • Tool kit (see below)

Tool Kit

  • Patch kit (to fix a flat tire)
  • Spare tube
  • ire levers (to separate tire from rim safely when fixing a flat)
  • Multipurpose bike-repair tool (including Allen wrenches, Phillips screwdriver, pedal wrench, etc.)
  • Chain tool (to replace links)
  • All-purpose lube
  • Rag for cleanup

Clothing and Outerwear

  • Lightweight, brightly colored shirt or pocketed jersey
  • Breathable, lightweight jacket
  • Cycling shorts (padded)
  • Cycling gloves (to absorb shock, improve your grip, and prevent blisters)
  • Lightweight, moisture-wicking socks
  • Raingear

Food

  • Energy bars
  • Bagels

Extras

  • Cycling shoes (their hard soles prevent the arch problems that riding in regular athletic shoes can cause)
  • Seat pad
  • Handlebar-mounted cycling computer (to gauge time, distance, and speed)
  • Hydration system, or "water bladder" (a tube from the water pouch goes straight to your mouth)
  • Headlight and taillight (if there's a chance you'll be out after dark)
  • Change of clothes
  • Money

References

Responsible Organized Mountain Pedalers. "Beginner's Mountain Bike Info Guide."

U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. "CPSC Issues New Safety Standard for Bike Helmets," February 5, 1998.

Mayo Clinic. Water: how much should you drink every day? April 2010.

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