We’ve all been there. We’re pumped pre/during a ride and then it all comes to a dramatic end, ruining your day or even the rest of your week. But shit happens right? Sometimes, but most of the time it’s preventable.
Follow these five simple tips and you may just save yourself from walking your ass back down the mountain on your next ride.
Maintain your ride
Your bike is a piece of mechanical ingenious which many of us take for granted and like all mechanical things, they are prone to break from time-to-time. The lesson here is really to not be lazy and to spend the time, and where necessary money, to make sure your bike is in tip top condition before rides.
When you’re finished your rides, take the time to clean, dry and lubricate (where necessary) your bike and in the process checking for any damage along the way.
Give your bike a check-up several days before you plan to go on a ride or immediately after your last ride. Check that bolts are tight, all components are working as they should and are not showing signs of bad wear/damage. The earlier you do this the better as it gives you the time to order any replacement components or makes it more likely that mechanic will have the availability to make repairs for you. BTW – same applies to your gear.
As well maintained as your bike may be things go wrong from time to time and you want to ensure you have the right gear with you to deal with the most common issues. Here is what I take with me:
- Pump – Ideally one with a gauge, you don’t want to be that person on the side of the trail trying to beg for a pump.
- Tube or repair kit for tubeless – If you run tubes just carry a spare tube with you. Pinches and punctures happen and you don’t want to be messing around with repair kits on the side of the trail. Tubeless tyres are less likely to go pop but again make sure you have what you need when it eventually does.
- Multi-tool – Don’t go cheap here. Make sure you have a good multi-tool which isn’t just a allen-key and screw driver set. You want something like this from Topeak which includes chain tool and mini-spanners etc.
- Also consider taking with you a few spare bits like chain quick links in the event your chain breaks. Quick links make for an easy quick fix.
This is a biggie, you’ll end up knocking yourself out if you don’t have the energy needed to complete and enjoy your ride. Make sure you have a hearty meal before you head out and that you’re well hydrated. Ensure you always have water, enough to last you the whole ride. It’s also worth taking with a chocolate or sports bar to give yourself a top up halfway through. A Snickers does it for me but you may prefer something more designed for purpose like High 5 energy bars or something similar.
Know your limits
Pushing yourself to do more and be better is part of the game. But you need to know when to stop. Burning your legs out on a massive climb is going to potentially ruin the rest of the ride for you. When the downs come you want to enjoy them.
Equally, don’t be a hero. The pressure of friends or feeling inadequate of a kid half your age doing 50ft gaps may tempt you to try something you’re not ready for. We should all aim to go bigger and better but it needs to be done gradually or you’ll likely end up in a pile.
Most accidents happen because someone jumps on breaks when they should have committed to what’s in front of them. Or they lose their composure because they lose faith in themselves or their bike. This is a relatively broad one. Commit to the trail, trust in yourself and trust in your bike.
Secret tip number 6
We often forget this one and it is by far the most important. Have fun.
Don’t let anyone or anything make you feel like you’re not good enough, fast enough or your bike is not good enough. You’re there for the ride and for yourself.