Trail centres are great places to ride, as they offer a guaranteed mountain bike buzz for riders of all abilities, no matter what the weather is doing.
If you're new to riding trail centres, you might need a few pieces of clothing or tools to help you get the most out of them.
Get kitted out in the right gear and you'll be able to handle whatever the trail throws at you.
What to wear
You’ll need a wicking jersey and possibly a base layer too. A ﬁtted but loose cut will be most comfy.
Wear padded undershorts for comfort and tough overshorts for protection. Vented shorts keep you cool.
There are a range of pad options that offer extra protection without restricting pedalling.
Look for shoes that give good support, protection around the toes and ankles and will keep the elements out.
Always get the best helmet you can afford. Look for the best ﬁt, good ventilation and a removable peak.
A sensible addition to help stop you getting grit, mud or insects in your eyes when riding.
Gloves protect your hands if you fall, keep them warm and improve your grip on the bars.
A recommeded top layer for when it's wet out. Get a quality jacket that ﬁts well and look after it. Never wash it with fabric softener or too much detergent, and reproof it every year.
If the weather is bad, go for waterproof shorts and three-quarter lengths instead of your normal shorts. They'll make riding on even the foulest days far more enjoyable.
What to take with you
Take a sensible sized pack to carry your keys, wallet, and these essentials to help you keep rolling.
First aid kit
Make sure that you at least have the basics so you can patch yourself or a friend up. Plasters or bandages, antiseptic or disinfectant cream or wipes, and so on.
Don't over-burden yourself with tools, but do take a decent multi-tool with a Torx T25 driver and a chaintool. It’s also worth taking a plier-type multi-tool, a puncture repair kit, a SRAM Powerlink, a spoke key, tyre levers and some spare parts and useful items such as cable ties, insulating tape and M4 and M5 bolts.
Rubber/latex gloves can be useful too, to stop your riding gloves getting soaked or covered in grease during trailside repairs.
If you get a flat, fitting a new tube will be quicker than mending the puncture. Make sure your spare has a Presta valve – it’ll fit both Presta and Schrader rim drillings.
Take a pump so you can reinflate your tyre after you get a puncture.
Spare layer and hat
Always carry a spare layer and a hat to stop you catching a chill if you get stuck out in the cold.
When you get tired, you’ll be grateful for these. Both provide an energy boost.
Either in a hydration pack or in a bottle attached to your bike with a bottle cage.
Make sure it’s charged, and keep it safe and dry.
If you’re not going to be back before dark, or think you’ll be cutting it fine, stick a set of basic trail lights in your pack.