There are many different terrains you can enjoy on a mountain bike. You might take your bike across fields, up and down the crags of a mountain, freeriding, or along leaf-strewn forest trails. Unlike road biking, you get to enjoy the natural world in all its glory.
It is a varied and energetic activity, but like all varied and energetic activities that involve the natural world, there is a higher risk factor. Whatever terrain you want to traverse on your bike, there are a few key things to remember to keep yourself safe.
The importance of helmets cannot be overstated. More than any other item on your list, devote your funds towards buying a good quality, well-fitting helmet. Be careful with it, too. Any knocks or dings it takes reduces its effectiveness and it must be replaced any time it is damaged.
Mountain Bike Protective Gear
Alongside your helmet, you should be sure to wear appropriate kit, too. It’s worth thinking about the weather, of course, but don’t let the sunshine fool you into compromising safety. Always wear padded and reflective clothes, and dependent on the season and time of day you may want to wear insulating or waterproofed clothes.
- Footwear - You should be sure that whatever you wear on your feet they should not interfere with the working of the bikes and have a good tread.
- Tops - Your forearms and elbows can be especially vulnerable if you do end up coming off your bike, so be sure to wear something durable and padded. For something like downhill mountain biking where the stakes are high, it is worth investing in elbow guards.
- Gloves - You’re also very likely to subject your hands to all kinds of punishment when mountain biking. Your MTB gloves should have a good grip so you can maintain control, and also thick enough to protect your hands.
- Bottoms - These will be dependent on the type of mountain biking you are doing, but in all cases, they should be close fitting and without any free-flowing fabric that can get caught in the chain. As with your elbows, your lower legs are particularly susceptible to damage so it might be worth investing in shin guards.
Along with making sure you are well protected you should also be sure that your bike is in top condition. A loose pedal or slightly flat tyre may cause a serious problem when you are out in the wilderness, so not only should you have a regime of regularly maintaining your mountain bike but a repair kit for when emergencies happen.
Even if you are heading out during daylight hours, you should also pack fully charged lights. They aren’t just for night time riding but are key to making sure you are seen in low visibility weather as well. Make sure they are mounted in a place that isn’t likely to get knocked or damaged as you ride and if they are battery powered, bring spare batteries.
If you are heading out for an extended period, you will also want to bring plenty of water and maybe light snacks along with you. It is important to keep hydrated and keep your energy up, especially if you are cycling in physically arduous conditions.
Finally, before you head out on your ride you need to be honest with yourself. If you are feeling unwell or even just slightly off for some reason, consider whether riding in difficult terrain is really the best thing you can do right now. Some mountain biking is very much about concentration and being vigilant about what is immediately in front of you. If your mind is wandering elsewhere, you could be endangering yourself.
Make your friends or family aware of your plan. Inform someone close to you of where you are headed and how long you think you’ll be with an estimated time of return. If you get hurt or lost on the trail this person should be the one you would trust to raise the alarm in case you don’t return in time. Remember, safety is no accident.
If you are looking for ways to pursue your passion safely, check out some of our mountain bike gear on our Sendy Gear website and have an injury-free and fun ride! With our range of mountain bike shorts and mountain bike jerseys you can also be in style while enjoying safe rides.