Mountain Biking Accessories Must Haves
Not only it is stupid not to wear one, most public parks and trails prohibit riding without a helmet. Buy it the moment you buy your bike. Many serious head injuries can be prevented by just wearing a helmet. Look for a helmet that provides better insulation; fits properly to your head; and with chin strap to secure it to your head.
Gloves serve double purpose: to improve your grip on the handlebar and to protect your hand from cuts and bruises in case you crash. Since the natural tendency during crash is to stretch the arms to cushion the fall, the palms take the most beating. While I do not advice you to use your hands to protect your body from the fall, I will not recommend riding without it. You can choose between cutoff and full-fingered gloves, but I suggest full-fingered. Gloves are the second most important accessory you should have next to helmet.
There is nothing worse than having a breakdown in the middle of nowhere and you cannot do anything about it. Make sure that you put equal importance to repair kit as you can never tell when you will hit a major bump and blow your tire out or when will your chain break due to excessive metal stress. That said, your repair kit should include chain repair tool and tire repair tools such as patches, glue, portable pump with gauge and a spare inner tube. Also include multi-tool set with wrenches to repair mechanical damages.
Just like any other physical activity, mountain biking causes your body to heat up and sweat to keep your core temperature normal. As you sweat, you lose substantial amount of water, and even more if biking is extended for a longer period of time. To replace the water lost and avoid dehydration, you must drink fluid regularly. Water bottle is enough but if you can afford a hydration pack with bladder, it is much better.
Sunglasses are more than just a fashion statement. Glasses offer protection from dust, insects, wind and other foreign objects that can enter your eyes while mountain biking. Glasses also protect you from infrared radiation and ultra-violet rays and it can be used to filter or enhance lighting.
The point of buying clothes especially made for biking is to provide enough protection and comfort while riding. But regular shirt and sweatpants are good enough.
Choosing among different brands of bike clothing can be difficult and expensive. Your task is to prioritize what to buy. I suggest that you invest on padded biking shorts first since you have shirts and jackets you can readily pull out from your closet.
To add comfort while pedaling, specially-made bike shoes are available. Pick the right shoe that will fit to the terrain you will be riding in and will fit to the type of pedal your bike has.
The accessories are listed according to importance. If the combined cost of all these products goes beyond the budget you set, prioritize on buying the things from the top of the list down.
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