Safety for Mountain Biking

Top 6 Safety Accessories for Mountain Biking

By Lydia Quinn

Mountain biking can be a fun and exhilarating activity. However, in order to enjoy it, you must have all the proper safety accessories needed to protect you from falls, crashes and other unforeseen events that tend to be quite common when you’re racing through such rocky or treacherous terrain. Here are the top six safety accessories that every mountain biking enthusiast needs to have:


The top safety item is, of course, the helmet. In fact, you’ll want not just a helmet to protect your head, but a full-face helmet that will protect your entire face and head from falls or those random branches and foliage that may get in your way. Keep in mind that a mountain biking helmet is very different from a bicycle helmet, which only tends to cover the top of your head. A mountain biking helmet will look more like a motocross or dirt bike helmet. It will have vital face protection, while still allowing you to see and feel the wind in your face through a number of vents.

Eye Protection

Also critical is having proper eye protection. In this case, you want goggles, not sunglasses. A pair of goggles appropriate for mountain biking will look very much like a pair of ski goggles or dirt biking goggles. They will have a large surface to see through and also have a heavy duty strap which allows the goggles to stay on your face even over a full face helmet. You need goggles to protect you from the sun, glare, wind, dirt, dust, mud, leaves, foreign objects and whatever else you may run into.


Also important are gloves. Mountain biking gloves are much thinner and made from more flexible material that typical sports or work gloves. The flexibility is critical since mountain biking requires you to hold on to something constantly and have a strong grip. Mountain biking gloves will also have some sections of harder material on them, like rubberized or plastic areas for the back of the hand to protect your hands from cuts and scrapes.

Elbow Pads

Since you are sitting on a bike, having elbow pads is also vital. Elbow pads will protect your arms as you ride through dense areas of woods. They will also protect your arms in a crash or fall.

Shin Guards

Since you will likely be heading through dense brush, grasses or rocky trails, shin guards are another essential. Shin guards will protect your legs from all the dense underbrush, rocks, logs, branches, and everything else you roll over.

Mountain Bike Pants

You can buy pants specially made for mountain biking. It’s another critical clothing item to have if you’re out on the trails. They will feature extra durability and flexibility for someone riding a bike. In addition, waterproofing is also critical since you may need to go through a muddy path or a few inches of water. Extra padding would be found in the knees, as well as spandex or a similar fabric for maximum flexibility.

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DIY vs Bike Shop

3 Easy Bicycle Repairs That Are Actually Better Left To A Bike Shop

By Dave D. Ethan

For most riders, bicycle repair is a part of the hobby but it’s also one that isn’t quite the daunting task as working on an automobile. After all replacing a pedal or putting on a new chain doesn’t really have the safety repercussions that replacing a radiator or changing a timing belt might have. While getting a bike back on the road usually doesn’t take more than an hour, there are some projects that fall in the gray area of “should I DIY try or just say goodbye?” and take the bike to the shop. The answer varies on a person’s expertise, but here are the most common issues where that question may need to be answered.

Wheels Out of True

A wheel that wobbles or is unbalanced can be annoying but there is some give and take allowed. This is especially noticeable if you have a bicycle upside down and spin the wheel – it may look lopsided as all getup but when the weight of a rider is on it there is no play at all. On the other hand if the tire is noticeably cattywampus with a person on it the tire should be fixed. A wheel that is only slightly out of center can be easily DIY fixed just by loosening or tightening the adjacent spokes until they work their way back into balance. However a bike shop can use a straightening tool or jig on a wheel that is actually bent to try and salvage it.

Stuck Seat Post

There’s nothing more frustrating then having a seat stuck in an uncomfortable position because of a seized post that won’t allow you to adjust it. This is often caused by the post rusting into place after years of storage and essentially becoming welded to the opening. The method to remove the post is time consuming and involves a lot of elbow grease while not always being successful. A DIYer can start by pouring penetrating oil, ammonia, or carbonated soft-drink down into the post to try and dissolve the corrosion. If that doesn’t work the next step is heating the lug area where the seat post goes in to to make it expand. If that doesn’t work the seat post itself can be chilled with CO2 or nitrogen to see if it contracts. Not every DIYer has the time and materials to try and free the post so this may be a job left up to the pros.

Tune Up

Many people have tried to tune up their own bikes, but almost to a T they agree that it’s a job better left for a bike shop. For one, the shops simply have the tools and the expertise that make them well worth the $50 or so service fee. For instance how many DIYers have the knowledge or wherewithal to give the bike drivetrain an ultrasonic cleaning, flush the disc brakes, tension the spokes, replace bearings and hubs that are starting to fail, true the wheels, and adjust the front and rear shifting all in a couple hours time? Second of all how many more problems would be encountered when a DIY er tried to accomplish those tasks which result in a trip to the bike shop anyway.

While it’s good to get accustomed to your bike parts and learn how to fix them, sometimes the bike shop can be your friend.

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Tips For Locking a Bike

Bicycle Maintenance – 6 Tips For Locking a Bike

Bicycle Maintenance – 6 Tips For Locking a Bike
By Dave D. Ethan

It can be a pretty debilitating feeling when a person is looking to cleanse away a long day at work with a bicycle commute home only to find out that a thief has already beat them to it. In fact the risk of having their bike stolen is one of the many reasons people use as an excuse not to pedal commute to work or school. The threats of bike theft are going to be prevalent regardless but there are things riders can do to either make the 2-wheeler harder to steal or ease the sting if it does get snagged.

Spend Money

It may not seem like a wise investment to spend $60 just to attempt to avoid a bicycle from being stolen, but if that money protects a $600 investment it’s not such a bad deal. The truth is the more a lock costs the more secure it will likely be. All locks do their part to deter crooks from simply hopping on a bike and pedaling away, but more prominent locks are easy to spot and will more often than not persuade the crooks to move on to an easier target.

Disable Quick Release Levers

Quick release levers are a convenient accessory for trail riders and those that have a secure storage facility on their property. Unfortunately for daily commuters the quick release lever is nothing more than a way for criminals to either steal the tires in a second or to disengage the rest of the bicycle frame from a lock. If a person needs to park and lock their bike in public for long periods at a time, they should ditch the quick release tires for the hex-nut screw in ones.

Lock the Rear Wheel and Frame

When locking a bike it’s important to secure it not only around the rear wheel but the frame as well. When the lock is threaded through both the frame and wheel it prevents taking apart the rims and stealing the frame or vice-versa.

Use a Stable Locking Base

Not only is how a person secures a bike important in through the rear wheel and frame at the same time, but also what they secure it to. Posts, wood fences, or small trees that can be removed or cut down are not very secure areas compared to metal fences or large trees.

Make the Bike Look Unique

A bright lime green bike or one with a huge basket or saddle bags is a theft deterrent because it presents a unique look. Once a person rides their unique bike often, people will associate it with them and will be able to tell when a different user is pedaling it. Most thieves are aware of this and will move on to a more discreet style frame.

Get An Insurance Policy

The final step in securing a bike is making sure it’s covered in any homeowner or renter’s insurance policy so that the depression and defeat of having the cycle lifted is at least recouped monetarily.

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Buying A Bike Rack

Buying a Bike Rack: Six Things to Consider

Buying a Bike Rack: Six Things to Consider

By Samuel Maina Kang’aru

1. How Many Bikes Need to be Transported?

There is a world of difference between a bachelor who plans to hit the trail every weekend and a businesswoman who has to transport a large number of bikes every day. The bachelor will probably be best served by a strap-on, trunk-mounted carrier, while the businesswoman will probably need a hitch-mounted rack or something more specialized.

2. Does the Rack Need to be Moved from One Vehicle to Another?

Certain carriers, such as roof-mounted types, are not suitable for situations where they have to be moved frequently from one vehicle to another. In such cases, hitch-mounted or strap-on racks are a much better choice.

3. How Secure is it?

A roof mounted carrier or one that can be locked in the trunk of a vehicle may be the best choice for those planning to travel to areas that are not secure.

4. How Much Are Buyers Willing to Spend?

Carrier prices can vary dramatically, from tens of dollars to several hundreds. This is the result of several factors, such as the number of bikes a rack can hold, whether the rack is meant to be attached to the roof or trunk, the quality of materials used to make a rack and extras such as padding, color and finish. Potential buyers should also consider other costs. For instance, a vehicle with a roof-mounted rack will use more gas because of poor aerodynamics and the resulting increased air resistance.

5. What Kind of Vehicle Does the Potential Buyer Have?

Certain racks are unsuitable for some types of vehicles. For instance, hitch-mounted carriers categorized as Class III can only be used with pickups and other large vehicles, while roof-mounted racks may not be a good choice for cars with a with a high center of gravity.

6. How High Can the Buyer Lift a Bike?

A roof-mounted rack is a bad choice for someone who cannot lift a bike very far from the ground, as they are not only likely to damage it, but also injure themselves in the process. In such cases, a trunk-mounted carrier would probably be a better option.

Buyers wading through the large variety of bike racks in many stores may have a hard time picking out the right one. However, they can solve this problem by asking themselves a few simple questions, and turn the process of selecting the right rack from a chore to a pleasure.

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