By Winston Loo
They say “prevention is better than cure” and in mountain biking terms, it is definitely “preparation prevents disappointment”. When bikers like us do mountain biking, be it for competitiveness, for the PAIN (which I personally know some), for the camaraderie, or whatever it may be, ultimately it is for the FUN.
Whichever category you may belong to, you would have yourself prepared with the bare minimum of mountain biking, which is a mountain bike in good working condition, helmet and appropriate attire at the least. Then again, this is THE basic and one would have to pack more to avoid disappointments.
So, what does one need to prepare and pack for a longish kind of ride such as our KLMBH monthly bashes or the regular jamborees, in fact for all rides?
I will separate the items into 2 sections; must have & the “won’t die la” but irritating not to have.
The MUST haves
1) Before we even begin, one must remember to bring their “sense of humor”. Remember, all of us are into mountain biking because of the FUN in it.
2) Remember to bring our ears… and listen. Unless you know the area like the back of your hand, you will be better off listening to the hares or the ride leaders/organizers on the trail conditions, local hazards, and such. Having prior knowledge of what to expect will make your ride more enjoyable.
3) Hydration pack. The most important item one has to carry is WATER and sufficient water to last your entire morning, especially riding in our hot tropical climate.
A hydration pack is where a water reservoir/bladder is designed to fit into a specially designed backpack. Locally, it is often referred to as a Camelbak. Having one will solve your water issues whilst providing space to pack your other essentials. HYDRATE OR DIE.
4) Spare Tube – There is nothing worse than being on the side of the trail with a flat tire and no spare tube. Remember, it is unfair for other fellow riders to spare you their spares.
5) Tire Levers – Changing out a flat is much easier with the aid of some good tire levers.
6) Mini-Pump – While other riders will have theirs, it is better to carry your own.
7) Magic Link - A Magic Link is a single connecting link that connect one end to the other. This item could possibly be one of the most important things to carry while riding. If you break a chain on the trail, this is going to be your best friend. It allows you to remove the bad link with your multi-tool and then reconnect the chain without having to press in the pins.
8) Nutrition – Powerbars and gels. Oral salts are a good substitute for electrolytes. Otherwise, check out www.hammernutrition.com for a more extensive understanding of nutrition.
9) Multi-Tool - This “do-it-all” tool has almost everything you need for a trail side repair in a convenient and small package. Get one with a chain tool built in.
10) First Aid Kit – It is good to have a small first aid kit available to clean everything up. A sufficient first aid kit should at least have the following:
11) Mobile phone.
12) Shades / Sunglasses – Eye protection from the glaring sun and thick foliage which may catch your face when you ride by.
The “won’t die la” list
13) Glucose Drinks – Gives you instant energy when you require it.
14) Cable Ties – For strapping down loose stuffs.
15) Toilet Paper – This multi-use item can be a life saver during a trail side restroom break, but it can also be used to wipe off anything.
16) Lubricant - This is something which will save you $$$ when you ride in muddy conditions and do river crossings.
18) Swiss army knife
19) Ziplock bags – To keep your valuables dry.
That is my comprehensive list. I consider everything on both lists a must bring to make sure my rides go off without a hitch. It looks like a lot on paper, but the overall weight really isn’t a lot once it gets loaded up in a CAMELBAK.
See you on the trails. ON!ON!