Mountain biking is a great sport because you get to do some exercise while you enjoy the beautiful nature around you. Going fast up and down hills is great, but you could be in big trouble if something goes wrong and you’re in the middle of nowhere.
You could have a flat tire, or your bike chain could break, or something else could happen. You have to be prepared for every situation, and that requires some items and tools you should bring with you every time. So, here are the 20 items you should have with you if you’re going on long and dangerous mountain rides.
1. Two Spare Tubes
The most important items you can bring are two tire tubes. Making big jumps and driving at full speed over a rocky road can certainly puncture your tube, which is why you have to bring a spare or two, just in case. Otherwise, you can end up pushing your bike all the way back to town, and that is something no one wants to go through.
2. Patch Kit
Patch kits are small in size and you can fit them in most pockets. It’s a tiny item that can make a huge difference. Most patches are glueless and you can easily apply them to your tube and make your way back home.
3. Mini Tire Pump
Imagine this, you got a flat, you patched it up, and now you have to continue your ride, but you don’t have a bike pump to inflate your newly patched tire. A mini pump will fix that problem and you’ll be ready to roll in no time at all. Standing pumps are also good, but they are often heavy and large, so go with a mini pump instead. CO2 pumps are also a good choice.
4. Practical Multi Tool
You can’t start a long treacherous ride through the mountains without a reliable multi tool. Why? Well, there are plenty of things that can go wrong, like your bike chain snapping or your bolts breaking off, and this tool will help you fix it. Get a tool with a couple of screwdrivers, some pliers, and wire cutters too. You never know what could happen and it’s better to be safe than sorry.
There should be 2-inch of clearance between the top of the tube and your crotch. Your elbows should be slightly bent and shoulders should be relaxed. If you can easily reach the handlebars and the floor with both feet without any difficulty, then you have found the right bike for you.
A proper fit is very important for reaching the breaks and the gears, back and neck comfort and breathing. Don’t forget to protect your head with the right bike helmet.
5. Tire Lever
Again, if something happens to your tire, you will have to take your wheel off. A tire lever will help you get it off and back on much quicker than any other tool. It doesn’t take much space, but it sure makes wheel repair faster and easier.
6. Chain Lube
Offroad dirt tracks often hide all kinds of obstacles. If you have to cross a stream or two and then continue riding down a dirt track, your bike chain is definitely going to cause friction. Bring a bottle of chain lube and a rag, so you can quickly clear the dirt from the chain and be on your way again.
7. Shock Pipe
Mountain tracks are often riddled with sharp turns and bumpy roads. That takes a toll on your shock suspensions, so bringing a shock pipe is a pretty good idea. That way, you can quickly fine tune your suspensions whenever you feel that something’s not right. Shock pipes can be a big large and heavy. If your riding style isn’t aggressive and dangerous, you probably won’t have to change the shock pipe ever.
8. Lip Balm
Bringing a lip balm on a bike ride can sound a little funny, but it’s a nice little trick that can help you push through dry areas much easier. If you are riding in an area with dry air, put some lip balm on and you won’t be so thirsty all the time. It’s a small trick, but a very useful one.
When you wonder out far away from home on a bike and something happens to you, like an injury or some other kind of emergency, the only thing that can save you is your smartphone. Always bring one with you so you could call home or the hospital if something goes wrong. Also, most modern phones have GPS tracking which could help you find your way through an unknown area, but you can also send your location to a rescue team in case something bad happens. A satelite phone is the bes choice because it works in areas where regular smartphones don’t.
You are probably not planning on sunbathing while riding your bike down a mountain, but you should still bring some sunscreen if possible. Sunrays are much stronger on higher altitudes and you can end up getting sunburnt even on a cloudy day. Again, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
11. First Aid Kit
Let’s hope that you’ll never have to use a first aid kit on your bike rides, but still, you should always have a waterproof package with the basic items like bandages, disinfecting wipes, and tweezers with you. If you fall down and hurt yourself, you can quickly sanitate the wound while waiting for help. If it’s not that serious, you can make sure that you don’t get infected. You can also help others you might come across on your bike rides.
12. Foldable Rain Coat
Summer rain can appear from out of nowhere, Get caught in one without any protection can cause a bunch of problems. Make sure you pack a lightweight rain coat that can be folded and pack it into a small pocket. It will keep you warm and dry during the rain and it doesn’t cost a lot of money. If you don’t have one, you can end up getting pneumonia, temperature, or in some extreme cases hypothermia.
13. Derailleur Hanger
Derailleur hangers are usually durable and dependable, but if you hit a large rock on the way, you can bend or break them. If that happens, you can’t go on without replacing this essential part. It isn’t big or heavy, so having it close with you shouldn’t be a problem. Of course, to change this part you will need to use your multi tool and preferably a wrench.
14. Zip Ties
Zip ties are cheap, they don’t take up much space, but sometimes, they are a real lifesaver. You can use them to tie any loose cables or any other annoying parts that get in the way. You can also use them as a buckle to keep your shoe stuck firmly to the bike pedal if the buckle falls apart. There are many other ways in which you can use them, so bring a couple with you.
15. Master Link
The chances for your bike chain to fall apart are small, but a master link in the chain can easily get damaged if you fall on them. If that happens, you won’t be able to pedal anymore, so it’s good to have a couple of master links in a side pocket, just to be sure that you’re prepared for anything.
16. Spare Spokes and Nipples
Unlike before, modern bikes have spokes of the same length on both wheels, so replacing them is quick and easy. Spokes generally break if you land from big heights or if you run into a sharp rock at great speeds. The repair takes only a couple of minutes. Without it, you are likely to damage the other spokes and riding the bike further could be risky.
17. Chainring Bolt
Chainring bolts can become loose or even fall off your bicycle. They are small and compact, so throw two of them in your parts bag and fix that potential problem in advance.
18. Compact LED Headlight
It doesn’t have to be a headlight, and it doesn’t necessarily need to be LED, but you should bring some kind of bright light source anyway. If you find yourself on a mountain trail and the sun sets on you, there are many dangers lurking in the dark. From wild animals to sharp turns and deep gorges, landslides, you won’t even know that something’s ahead. A headlamp will allow your hands to stay free and you’ll have enough light to make it back to safety alive and well.
19. Tool Bag
With so many spare parts and tools in your backpack, getting a small tool bag isn’t such a bad idea. That way, all of the spare parts can be organized and held in the same place. You will find them faster, and you won’t forget anything you might need. Unless you forget the entire bag, right?
Money is the thing that makes the world go around, so make sure you have some on you, even if you want to follow a trail deep into the mountains. You won’t be able to pay off a bear to keep it from attacking you, but you never know when some paper cash could come in handy.
The list we put together has twenty items you should definitely bring on long bike rides. Almost every item is light and compact and it may seem like some of them are overkill, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Get a small tool bag and put everything you need inside. You probably won’t need those spare parts for who knows how many rides, but what if you do?
Don’t let things to chance and be prepared for anything. If you are planning on taking an offroad trail through the woods and over the mountains, you should pack like you’re going camping, just in case. We all watched those incredible survivor stories on TV where people go on a bike ride and barely stay alive after some fall or natural disaster. Bring your phone, your wallet, and remember to always drive safely.
Oh yes, one other thing, it doesn’t matter if you are going down a trail you already know or you’re taking a completely new route, make sure you bring enough food and water for at least 72 hours in advance. If you get into trouble and find yourself in a survival situation, you will have all of the necessary things you need to stay alive until you reach help or until the help reaches you.