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Mountain biking is an activity that perfectly blends exercise with exploration of the natural world. For new riders and experienced veterans alike, it offers a unique sense of freedom and discovery. But with that freedom comes a responsibility to be prepared for a variety of challenges that can come up when you’re out pedaling. Check out our list of some essentials that will help you make the most of your time on the biking trail.
1. A bike
Make sure your bike fits you well and has been tuned up recently to limit the possibility of mechanical issues out on the trail.
2. A bike rack
While some may live within riding distance of their favorite trails, most of us have to drive to the trailhead. A good bike rack can make that task much easier! Take a look at the many styles of Thule bike racks to find one that works well for your vehicle and bike. Or, read our guide How to Pick the Best Bike Rack for more information. Take it from us, loading a muddy bike into your rear hatch isn’t a lot of fun.
3. A well-fitting helmet
A quality helmet that is both safe and comfortable will give you the confidence you need to push your riding a little further each time you pedal.
4. Hydration pack
A good pack is not only a great way to stay hydrated, but it’s also an easy way to carry many of the essential items on this list. Check out our Thule hydration packs to find the perfect one for your type of riding.
5. Spare tubes
Even if you ride tubeless, carrying a spare tube or two is critical. Flats can happen in the trailhead parking lot or at the halfway point of your ride. Make sure you grab a tube that is sized properly for your tire too.
6. Tire lever
Some multi-tools have a built-in lever, but a standalone lever will always make it easier to get a tire on and off your rim.
7. Tire pump or CO2 cartridge and inflater
A CO2 cartridge and inflater doesn’t take up much room in your pack or saddlebag, but a good tire pump is the most reliable way to ensure you’re ready to inflate a new tube.
A decent multi-tool is a must-have. Most smaller tools will have flathead and Phillips head screwdrivers, a T25 torx and a variety of hex wrenches.
Most of us don’t go anywhere without our smartphones these days and mountain biking should be no exception. Obviously, you can call home in case of an emergency, but your phone is also a good way to navigate using the GPS or plan a route with one of the many available MTB apps.
10. Rain gear
Sometimes rain can roll in faster than the forecast predicted, so it’s always a good idea to stuff a packable rain jacket in your hydration pack.
11. Sunscreen and insect repellent
Make sure you’re prepared for the environment in which you’re riding. Heading out on dry and exposed trails? Pack some sunscreen and lip balm. Spending the afternoon deep in the woods? Keep insect repellent in the trunk of your car.
While not an essential for every ride, if you’re planning a longer session, it’s a good idea to put some type of nutrition in your pack. And always replenish before your body’s fuel tank runs low!
13. A gear bag
A good gear bag helps you keep all of the above organized and ready to go every time you get to the trailhead. It also improves the post-ride cooldown by giving you a spot to put sweaty or dirty items. The Thule RoundTrip Bike Duffel offers a variety of dedicated gear compartments to ensure you’re always ready to ride.