Unexpected bike mechanical failures, unpredictable weather changes, unmarked trails that may make you ride for a number of unplanned miles/hours are just some of the mis-adventures that may require your emergency preparedness planning before you hit the trails. For these reasons, you need to be self sufficient and prepared to fix any problem that you may encounter on your bike ride. Carrying the necessary supplies on your journey to the woods or desert will ensure that your day remains safe and above all fun, no matter what happens.
No matter the distance you intend to ride, carrying survival food is the ultimate act of preparation. Hunger causes loss of energy, which leads to a lack of concentration, which in turn may cause you to make costly mistakes. You don’t necessarily have to pack a picnic basket, a few fitness specific foods such as energy bars or an assortment of dried fruits in a zip locked bag should suffice. Even if you don’t plan to be out long enough to eat, carry them with you anyway.
This is a no brainer, even the bike manufacturers know this, which is why most if not all mountain bikes will come with a water bottle or a bottle holder on the bar. Fill this bottle up or carry some hydration packs in your backpack. Just make sure you have enough to keep you hydrated.
Tools are only useful if you know how to use them properly. It is best to go on rides as a group, or at the very least with a partner. If you end up going deep into the woods, a basic knowledge of first aid, and how to make minor repairs on a bike will come in handy in case anything happens. Minor bike repairs include knowing how to:
- Install a tube
- Patch a tube
- Lubricate a chain
- Fix a broken chain
- Replace or repair a spoke
- Adjust front and rear derailleurs
- Realign disc brake calipers
The time of day and location of your ride should play a role in deciding how much extra clothing you should pack. If you plan to be out all day, those bike shorts that were oh, so comfortable in the afternoon will not feel so great when it starts to get cold in the evening. Light jackets and vests are clothing items that can easily be thrown off or on as the day progresses allowing you to ride in any type of weather.
Smart phones are great gadgets and will come in handy on those long rides. They can be useful if you need to know where exactly you are: GPS (assuming you have cell service) or as entertainment, just put your head phones on and enjoy nature as you listen to your favorite tunes. They will also come in handy in case of an emergency.
Long summer days means sun exposure, so be sure to re-apply your sunscreen as and when needed. Mountain biking allows you to go much further, a lot faster than you ever would hiking. This means that in the event that anything goes wrong, help will take a longer time to arrive and so it is necessary that you have the ability to address whatever problem may arise.
Ride safe, ride smart, be prepared, and HAVE FUN!!