Mountain biking is one of the most thrilling sports there is. A day exploring trails through the forest is hard to beat—especially if you have the right gear. In addition to a quality bike and related supplies, you’ll also need the right clothing for your adventures. Here’s a quick guide on what to wear mountain biking that should teach you everything you need to know.
When you get dressed to go mountain biking, there are two goals you should keep in mind: protection and comfort. Mountain biking can be a bit dangerous, so you will want to be dressed in a way that is going to help you stay safe. At the same time, you’ll want to wear items that are going to remain comfortable for a long day out on the trails. Striking the balance between comfort and safety isn’t always easy, but you can do it when you have the right items in your wardrobe.
Mountain biking shorts are the foundation of the clothing you will want to collect for this hobby. While there is a degree of variety within this category, you’ll want to have something that has been specifically designed for the sport’s specific demands. Mountain biking shorts are usually constructed with a sturdy fabric, which is important if you take a tumble or two.
Like most biking shorts, you’ll usually find some degree of padding built in, which can make for a far more comfortable day on the trails. Mountain shorts may have a little less padding than traditional road shorts, which can make it easier to switch up riding positions on the trail.
One last element to keep in mind when picking out the right shorts is how tight you would like them to be on your legs. This is largely a matter of personal preference. Some riders prefer very tight shorts, while others find a relaxed fit to be more enjoyable. If you think you’ll be riding in cool weather, a tight pair of shorts fits easily under a pair of warmer leggings or tights.
If you also ride road bikes, you probably have a closet full of jerseys. These are pretty similar to what you will find other mountain bikers wearing, but it’s important to note that they’re not exactly the same. While both styles tend to fit tight to the skin, a mountain biking jersey may be a little more relaxed, as aerodynamics are not as much of a concern. Also, mountain bike jerseys typically feature longer sleeves as a form of protection. In either case, your jersey will likely be made with synthetic, moisture wicking materials to help keep you cool as you ride.
As you pedal hard through the trees, your feet are going to be exposed to some dangers. You’ll want to make sure your shoes are able to grip nicely onto your pedals while offering your feet some much-needed protection. Be sure to check your bike’s pedal features to make sure the shoes you pick out will be a good match.
Of course, your first concern will be how the shoes perform while pedaling, but it’s also worth thinking about how they’ll do while you’re walking. This is particularly important if you are relatively new to the world of mountain biking. You may find that you frequently encounter terrain that you are unable to navigate with your bike, meaning you’ll have to walk through those sections. Wearing shoes that are reasonably comfortable when walking and offer the traction you need on tough terrain is a good idea.
Don’t make the easy mistake of thinking that your road biking gloves will work just fine when you start to explore trails on a mountain bike. Although they are both meant to grip handlebars, that’s just about where the similarity ends between these two pieces of equipment. Mountain biking gloves are designed to cover your fingers completely, helping you to avoid nasty cuts and scrapes along the way. You’ll notice a variety of options when you shop for gloves, so it should be easy to find a pair that suits your tastes and needs. Remember, on a mountain bike you lead with your hands, so protecting them is paramount!
You shouldn’t even consider venturing out for a mountain bike trip without a quality helmet. While the need for a helmet is universally accepted among all riders, the specific style of helmet you wear will depend on what kind of riding you like to do.
If you know that you’ll be dealing with highly technical terrain and the risks that come with it, a helmet with significant coverage is a wise move. Those who take it easy on more spacious trails might not need as much coverage to protect from hazards, but a well-made helmet is still required for a safe and enjoyable day on your bike.
Mountain biking can be a grueling sport, and you’re sure to work up a sweat. If you’re not careful, your favorite biking clothes can start to stink in no time. You may even find that they stay stinky even after you wash them. This is likely because your cycling jerseys and shorts are made with synthetic materials, and regular detergents are really optimized to treat cotton, not synthetics. But that doesn’t mean your stuck with the stink!
To keep your mountain biking clothing clean and odor-free, simply use a dedicated sports detergent, like WIN Detergent, which is made specifically to get the odor out of synthetic activewear materials!