Article by Greg Hall
So you went out and picked up a new mountain bike. It was probably pretty overwhelming at first. There were so many designs to choose from, different stores to shop at, and different manufacturers to consider. You finally picked the bike you wanted and brought it home. You forgot something important, though. There are some accessories you ought to consider for your mountain bike and for you.
The first thing you should think about is safety. Safety accessories for mountain bike riders are diverse and plentiful. A key ingredient for rider safety is the helmet. Many riders shun helmets, but no intelligent rider should be without one. Statistics woefully back up the significance of helmets. Helmets save lives: it’s that simple. It’s not just your mortality you should be concerned with but also your long-term health. A serious head injury can leave you with a whole lifetime of health problems. Even a minor wreck can result in serious injuries if you hit your head and you’re not wearing a helmet. Modern mountain bike helmets are light and sleek and do a better job of protecting your head than their predecessors. Cost shouldn’t be a factor as a good helmet can be acquired for around $30. If you want a top of the line model, be prepared to spend over $100.
Another important safety accessory for mountain bike riders are lights. If you’re going to be riding at night you should have a light. Even if you’re riding off-road, it’s pretty obvious that you’re going to want a light for your mountain bike. You want to see the trail, don’t you? And if you’re riding anywhere near traffic you’re going to want to be seen by drivers. Who hasn’t suddenly come up on a bike rider and found themselves thinking, “He’s lucky I saw him.” Mountain bike lights these days are made with cutting edge LED lamps so they almost never need to be replaced and more and more are being made with rechargeable batteries so you don’t have to keep spending money on new batteries. There are also those classic models that are powered by the wheels of the bike. You should invest in lights for the front and the back of your bike to make sure you are visible from every angle.
Beyond safety accessories, there are plenty of other items that will begin to be necessary as you get into mountain bike riding. One such necessity will be a tube repair kit. What are you going to do if you get a flat tire on a trail, miles away from the nearest road? This is when you’ll wish you had a repair kit. Basic repair kits are cheap and will let you patch a tube and may contain a tire boot. Along with patching that tire you’ll want to be able to inflate it again! A small pump that attaches to the bike frame is an excellent purchase. In addition to a repair kit it is a good idea to purchase a small multi-tool that will enable you to repair brakes, fix your derailleur, and perform other simple tasks on the trail.
Another good idea is either a water bottle or backpack hydration system. When riding in the summer heat you’ll be thankful you brought some liquid refreshment with you.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of mountain bike accessories. It is meant to give you an idea of the range of products available at your local bike shop. The more you ride your mountain bike the more you’ll find the need for more accessories.