If you’re new to off-road mountain biking, be sure to have this checklist ticked!
#1 Get your techniques right
- Ensure the right geometry on your bike.
So you sit correctly and get the most out of your pedal power. Any decent bike shop can advise you on this.
- Learn how to be one with your bike:
- Find your balance by moving on your bike especially during steep inclines and downhill. Shift your weight forward while climbing, shift your weight back while descending to keep the bike balanced. You can practice this on Track 15 and Bukit Timah MTB trail.
- Bike handling hacks:
– Use a flat pedal to give you more confidence.
– Shorten your cockpit, you’ll appreciate the increased range of motion and confidence that a short stem delivers.
– Set up your brake levers for more control. Position it in such a way that allows you to use just your index fingers for braking as the other fingers are mainly for grip.
#2 Know how to perform repairs
It’s essential to know how to fix a puncture, a broken chain and how to change your brake pads. Keep all the moving parts moist (with oil) – if you’re unsure, ask your mechanic to show you how.
Have your repair kit ready for emergencies. Some essentials to have in your repair kit:
– Tire levers
– Chain Tool
– Multi Tool
– Small hand Pump
– Spare Tube
– Tube fix
Be sure to know how to fix a slipped bicycle chain as well!
#3 Have proper outfit and gear on
When riding in sunny Singapore, you should always have sun protection and always wear eye protection. Here’s a pro-tip: long sleeves are actually cooling.
For cooler rides just after a rainy weather (or if you’re riding abroad) remember to put on windbreakers.
Beginners and double black diamond rides should wear elbow and knee protection.
For better power transfer, wear clip on shoes.
Don’t forget your gloves!
Most importantly, NEVER RIDE WITHOUT A HELMET ON.
Bring enough water.
Electrolytes are good but should not be more than 25% of your water intake to avoid crystallization in kidneys.
For long rides, Coke or 7UP are good alternatives due to high sugar content.
#5 Don’t forget about nutrition
Bring a banana, raisins, dry mango or power bar to keep you going.
#6 Have proper maintenance
After every ride, wash your bike properly and oil the chain as well as the moving joints.
Best is to blow dry the bike, especially the chain and the joints before applying oil. This will give the ball bearings and chain a longer life
Tubeless tires need to have the sealing liquid replaced/added every 1 to 2 months. You can do that in many ways. You may use a normal Injector you can buy in any pharmacy.
#7 Always have a first aid kit at the ready
To carry small first aid kid is always advisable.
First rule: if you have it with you, you will probably never use it. If you don’t have it you surely need one…
Have a good supply of wound wash handy.
A sling, some big plaster, wax plaster and a bandage or two will do the job. Perhaps a painkiller would come in handy.
Always remember: Going off-road isn’t a scary thing if you’re always prepared (for the worst)! 😉
Author: Heinz Iten
Mountain biker. Mountain climber. Founder of Swiss Club MTB Riders.