After being cooped up all winter, we can finally get those tires back on the dirt and enjoy the fresh mountain air. But before we hit the trails, there are a few things we need to do to prepare.
1. Inspect and Repair Your BikeYour bike has probably been sitting in the garage all winter, so the first thing you'll want to do is give it a thorough inspection. Check for any cracks or damage to the frame, and make sure all the bolts are tight. You'll also want to inspect your tires, suspension, brakes, and bike chain.
If your bike needs some repairs, now is the time to do them. Having a flat tire or broken brake cable when you’re out in the woods is something you’ll want to avoid. Just like a car, taking your bike to the shop for a tune-up can help keep it running smoothly all season long.
2. Have the Right Mountain Biking GearNow that your bike is in good shape, it's time to start thinking about your gear. Even if the weather is warm, there's a good chance that you'll encounter some cold or wet weather at some point during the season. By making sure you have the appropriate clothing and accessories to keep you safe and comfortable, you'll be ready for anything the mountain throws your way.
Your mountain biking gear should include:
- A bike helmet; consider a helmet with a face shield for downhill riding
- Goggles or sunglasses (sunglasses are only recommended for mild rides)
- Bike gloves
- Mountain bike shoes
- Protective padding, especially for downhill riding
- A pack that includes first aid essentials and a patch kit in the event of a flat tire
- Plenty of water
Before exploring the mountain bike trails, it is essential you check the weather and dress appropriately. A sunny day can quickly turn into a cold and wet one, so be prepared for anything. A bike jersey with a waterproof shell will help you stay dry and warm. In addition, having a hat, gloves, and jacket can come in handy on those colder days. Remember, your early season riding will probably be pretty muddy, so be prepared with your clothing selections.
3. Prepare Your BodyGetting ready for a long day on the mountain requires more than just a bike inspection and some new gear. You also need to prepare your body for the ride. Proper hydration and eating the right foods will help you stay strong and avoid fatigue.
Start by drinking plenty of water in the days leading up to your ride. On the day of your ride, eat a nutritious breakfast, pack some snacks, and don't forget to bring water. Granola bars, trail mix, bananas, and oranges are all good options for snacks to help you maintain your energy without weighing you down.
You will also want to get a good warm-up before hitting the trails. Going for a leisurely ride around the neighborhood will help get the blood flowing and allow you to test your bike before taking on more challenging terrain. Stretching is also important to avoid muscle cramps and injuries.
4. Plan Your RouteWhether you are a beginner or a seasoned mountain biker, it's always a good idea to have a plan before heading out on the trails. Knowing your destination and the potential challenges you may face can help you avoid dangerous situations and make the most of your ride.
There are many great resources available online that can help you plan your route. For example, trailforks is a website and app that provides riders with trail maps, difficulty ratings, and reviews for mountain bike trails worldwide.
If you are new to mountain biking, it is a good idea to start on easier trails and bring a friend along for the ride. As you become more comfortable, you can branch out and explore more challenging terrain.
5. Enjoy the RideAfter following these tips, you are now ready to hit the trails and enjoy a great bike ride. Run through a quick checklist before heading out to ensure you have everything you need. Be safe, have fun, and most importantly, relax and take in the beautiful scenery. The mountain bike season is a great time to get outdoors and explore what your local trails have to offer.
Contact The Steadman ClinicAt The Steadman Clinic, we are devoted to treating the athlete in all of us. We provide our patients with world-class care, from preventative sports medicine to treating and rehabilitating complex orthopedic injuries.
Whether you are a professional athlete or an avid recreational mountain biker, we can help you stay safe and healthy while enjoying your favorite sport. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.