Going on a mountain biking adventure is one of the best ways to see the world. Not only do you get aerobic exercise during the climbs and the thrills of the descents, but you also get to see some of the most majestic, untamed wildernesses on Earth, high up in the mountains.
Many mountain biking trips, however, don’t quite turn out to be as good as many people imagine. Mountain biking is a heavily gear- and weather-dependent sport, meaning that if you want to get the most out of it, you need to have your wits about you.
Rookie Mistake #1: Failing To Carry A Spare Derailleur Hanger
The derailleur hanger is a small device that connects the rear derailleur to the frame. Manufacturers deliberately engineer the hanger to be the weak point so that it will break in the event of a collision, and not the more expensive components, like the rear mech or the frame (well, that’s the idea at least). Many rookie mountain bikers don’t know about the rear derailleur hanger and why it’s so important. So they inevitably end up damaging it on the trail and don’t have a replacement. Spares cost very little, so always carry one in your backpack.
Rookie Mistake #2: Riding At Too High An Altitude, Too Early In The Year
Riding at high altitudes during winter months in northern climes is pretty much out of the question. A thick layer of snow prevents the rubber from meeting the trail, forcing you to abandon your ride or take an alternative route. If you’re planning a winter mountain biking expedition, go somewhere tropical or stick to the foothills.
Rookie Mistake #3: Failing To Take Insect Protection
While you might have all the tools and equipment you need to repair your bicycle on the fly in your backpack, can the same be said of your body? Mountain bikers like to take all kinds of tools with them to fix any mechanical issue that might occur on the trail, but they don’t do basic things such as carry creams that treat bites and stings.
Rookie Mistake #4: Riding Through Rivers
Riding through rivers might seem like a fun thing to do, but thanks to the nature of mountain bikes, it’s not a good idea. Water gets into the bearings in the hubs and bottom bracket, and by the end of your trip, can destroy all of the sensitive internals. If possible, carry your bike when you come to a river.
Rookie Mistake #5: Failing To Take Enough Food
Mountain biking is a physical sport. You can burn upwards of 800 calories per hour. Over three hours, that’s more than 2400 calories – or about what you burn in a typical day. Because of this, you need to take a lot of food with you on your adventure. It’s not like road biking where you can regularly stop at roadside eateries.
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Happy Travels, Brodie