Last year, my friends convinced me to get a mountain bike, and it has easily become my absolute favorite way to get outside during the summer.
It’s a great workout. I can do it with friends. I can explore new places with the intent to bike. And I can even go back to some of my favorite destinations and explore them with a new sport.
Plus, it’s become the perfect compliment to skiing. It’s a high adrenaline sport with room for me to progress (like alot!), and I just can’t praise it enough.
The actual bike is definitely the biggest barrier to entry for this sport, but let’s check out my head – to – toe set up that I have to get out on the trails:
Check out part one here for information on my bike, helmet, glasses, pads, and gloves.
*Please note that I would classify my preferred style of riding as trail riding/mini enduro. I do love the uphill for the workout, but I also love more aggressive blue square flow trails, and while I am still hesitant, I am willing to try black diamond and double black diamond downhill trails. I love trying easier drops and jumps (still getting comfortable with sending it on gap jumps), as well as wood features at smaller bike parks.
As far as apparel, chamois are definitely the first on the list.
Chamoises (I have no idea what the plural of chamois is…) are padded tight shorts to wear while bike riding. They can be worn by themselves or with other loose bike pants or shorts.
Because biking heavily relies on sitting down on a hard saddle, a chamois can help reduce the literal pain in your ass while on a ride.
I found some new on Poshmark,and some bike shorts may already be paired with a padded chamois. I honestly haven’t found a particular brand to be more comfortable than another, but some notable brands include Pearl Izuma, Dakine, Backcountry, and POC.
When it comes to what to wear while biking, I don’t think that it needs to be fancy. As long as you feel comfortable, that’s what works. It definitely helps to have something you can move around in, as well as something that is breathable.
Any hiking short or tops will work best, however, there is some bike clothing that offers more protection than a thin, hike shirt that you just might wear while casually wandering around a lake. Some mountain bike pants offer reinforced knees or tough materials like Kevlar, but the best biking gear is definitely what makes you feel comfortable enough to perform your best.
Some of the brands that I wear the most:
Bike rides might go longer than just a quick ride around a pond, so having a pack with essentials is handy. You may want to keep small items like snacks, bike tools, as well as your keys and phone, and all you really need is a small pack for you or your bicycle.
This is perfect size for the 1-3 hour bike rides that I frequently go on, and I like it better than a backpack because:
- I am free to move my arms and shoulders.
- My back doesn’t get SWEATY AF.
Socks are such a key item in an outdoors-person’s closet. Because all the sports, such as hiking and biking, are based on being on your feet, investing in quality pieces of footwear makes your day that much better.
Most hiking or trail running socks transfer over to make a great biking sock, but it definitely helps if they are made of merino wool. Not only is this material very breathable, but it wicks sweat and can help mitigate odor.
Some of the brands that I have found to be great:
Better: Darn Tough
Do you need special shoes to bike? Honestly, I’d say the answer is no.
However, I do suggest shoes with a sturdy, stiff sole, as you want to make sure you have a solid platform while pedaling or standing on your pedals. I personally wear Adidas’ Five Ten Freerider Shoes. In the biker world, these are known as “flats”, which don’t clip into the bike pedals.
They are comfortable, and they definitely bring back memories of my favorite Etnies shoes from elementary school.
I would say that my bike shoes are very similar to any skating shoe, such as Vans, so if you have Vans, don’t be afraid to try them out for a bit before investing in bike-specific shoes.
Now that we’ve got the set up, let’s head out and ride!!
Your nacforadventurer and beginner bike rider,