So before you set out on that next ride (preferably with your bike mount attached), read what Craig has to say!
1) Ideally you should be familiar with the major components of your bicycle: front and rear derailleurs, brakes, seat stem and seat attachment points. These are all things that can become loose or out of adjustment at any time but can seem overwhelmingly complicated at first. At the very least you should know how to fix a flat tire. If you ride a bicycle you will get flats. You need to be prepared to remove the front/rear wheel and perform a tube replacement and inflate your tire back up. It’s not very difficult and can be learned quite easily.
2) Here are a few things you’ll want to pack along for your ride. All of the items will fit in your hydration pack and/or jersey pocket. At least one new spare inner tube, two tire levers, CO2 inflation device (or a packable tire pump), a small tube patch kit in the event you puncture your freshly replaced last new tube, a combination tool kit, personal identification and some cash and/or a credit card. And a small zip-lock bag with some Advil or your personal favorite pain relief medicine.
3) A friend to ride with; especially if you’re heading out into a rural area. Stuff can happen at any time and having someone with you can save your day and maybe even your life.
4) Water. Water bottles work great but a hydration back pack works even better as you can stow your other essential items in it (see #2).
5) A cell phone for when life interferes with your good times. That’s why the Rokform v3 bike mount was invented!
6) Calories: You burn calories like crazy while you’re riding and that’s a good thing. However on any ride lasting more than,30 minutes or so, you need to start adding some calories back into the tank or you’ll risk blowing up. We’ve all experienced a blow-up on a ride and there’s nothing worse. It happens when you’ve depleted the ready-to-burn calories that your body stores. When that happens your ride is basically over…you’ve got nothing left and it can take hours to recover. Avoid things you have to chew, like energy bars. Instead pack along “gels” which can be consumed on the fly and replace the sugars and salts that your body needs. Not all gels are the same! Experiment with some of the gels that are available at your local bike stores. You’ll find that your body likes to digest some better than others. e-Gels are our favorite and they taste great too.
7) A Helmet! No one ever plans on crashing but when you do (and you will), a helmet can save your life. I’ve replaced several crashed-damaged helmets over the years and I’m always happy to shell out the cash for a new one. It’s a no-brainer!
8) Cycling specific clothing. Regardless of whether you ride road or mountain, do wear clothes designed specifically for bicycling. Even if you’re new to bicycling, spend a few bucks on the proper riding gear and helmet. This gear is generally made of performance (synthetic) fabric and wicks moisture away from your body. It will make the difference between having an enjoyable ride and having a not-so-enjoyable ride. Do not wear cotton anything, including socks. Cotton is your enemy when you sweat and will chafe you in places where you don’t want to be chafed. Layering is the best approach when you expect that the weather will be changing during your ride. You can always add or remove a jacket or arm and leg warmers as you go. Overheating while riding is ugly. Oh, and by the way, do not wear underwear under your riding shorts. If your riding shorts have a padded section or “diaper” in them then you’re good to go!
9) Know the right-of-way protocol on the trails; it’s pretty simple: equestrians come first, followed by pedestrians and then us lowly cyclists. The protocol between riders is simple: the rider going uphill always has the right-of-way. If you’re blasting down a singletrack and come upon a rider pedaling up, it’s your job to slow and yield to the rider going up.
10) Join a local cycling club! You’ll get to meet lots of like-minded folks and make new friends. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Enjoy your next ride and be safe!
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