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The Guide to Mountain Biking Prep

We all know the rush of riding a bike at top speed as the wind flows through our hair, inhibitions suspended. It’s majestic, and for most of us, we can’t get enough of that feeling. This is just one reason why embarking on a mountain bike expedition is a phenomenal idea. Whether you choose to compete in a triathlon, weave biking into a camping trip, or simply hit the trails on your two-wheeler for a few hours, you must make some decisions as to what to bring along and how to prepare both mentally and physically.

(Photo via Pixabay)

Essentials to Bring Along

Our two local bike shops are a great resource for all things mountain biking. The REI Co-op website also offers a comprehensive checklist that will have you ready to ride swiftly and safely. Obviously you can’t forget your bike and helmet, but less obvious gear includes a CamelBak-like water dispenser, an emergency whistle, and suitable repair gear for your bike.

Sacred Rides has also compiled a categorized checklist that may be less daunting as you get set to pack your biking bag. They recommend bringing along a thorough wardrobe that will allow you to brave whatever elements arise as well as safety gear and even some electronics that are likely to enhance your experience on the trails.

While the full array of items that the most-thorough biker would bring along is exhaustive, evaluate your own trip when you are deciding what is truly necessary and which items would be nothing more than dead weight.

Preparing Mentally

When preparing and planning your biking trip, be realistic about your experience and any limitations you may have, both physically and mentally. It seems obvious, but all bikers should be aware of mountain bike difficulty ratings and trail signs, as they are akin to the bunny slope/black diamond winter trail signs and will play a crucial role in making or breaking your excursion. has some valuable insight about how to manage the mental and physical pain that may come when you begin to take your mountain biking more seriously. These techniques are often used for serious cyclers, but they apply to mountain biking as well. Power words and breathing techniques are just two of the techniques that they recommend.

Physically, know your level of fitness, and plan accordingly. If you set unrealistic expectations, you’re not going to have a good time. What was meant to be fun will rapidly evolve into labor, and that is no good. Before you can put your mental and physical training to the test, you have to ensure your arrival from vacation is not ruined by the worst case scenario.

Don’t Gloss Over the Small Details

When it comes time to depart for your trip, your endorphins will be flowing with anticipation of the impending excitement. Too many homeowners rush out the door without remembering the importance of locking your home down first.

Make sure to lock all doors, turn off lights that are not on a timer, bolt windows where possible, and follow the rest of these guidelines. Nothing ruins the high coming off of a successful mountain biking trip like a good old break-in.


There’s no getting around it: mountain biking is awesome. The thrill of living on the edge, hauling around a tree-lined corner at double-digit miles-per-hour is unparalleled in everyday life. Your senses are enhanced, your body is getting valuable physical activity, and your mind is sharp yet relaxed when you hit the trails. In order to have a successful trip, you must prepare proper gear, get your mind and body right, and lock down your home before heading out. With those tasks complete, you are ready to roll.

The Columbus Bike Co-op would like to extend a big thanks to Jason Lewis for sending in this guest blog post. We hope that you find this advice useful and entertaining. If you have a bike-related blog post that you would like us to consider posting, please send it to

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