Essential kit for trail centre riding

What to wear and what to put in your pack

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.

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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

Jersey

A mountain bike jersey should have a fitted but loose cut
Mountain bike jersey: mountain bike jersey
Gore

You’ll need a wicking jersey and possibly a base layer too. A fitted but loose cut will be most comfy.

Shorts

Choose shorts that are made from a light, durable fabric
Shorts: shorts
Troy Lee Designs

Wear padded undershorts for comfort and tough overshorts for protection. Vented shorts keep you cool.

Knee pads

Look for knee pads that offer protection without restricting pedalling
Knee pads: knee pads
Scott Sports

There are a range of pad options that offer extra protection without restricting pedalling.

Shoes

Mountain bike shoes that offer protection around the toes and ankles can be a godsend on trails
Mountain bike shoes: mountain bike shoes
Giro

Look for shoes that give good support, protection around the toes and ankles and will keep the elements out.

Helmet

Always get the best helmet you can afford
Helmet: helmet
Mavic

Always get the best helmet you can afford. Look for the best fit, good ventilation and a removable peak.

Glasses

Riding glasses will help stop grit or bugs getting in your eyes
Glasses: glasses
Oakley

A sensible addition to help stop you getting grit, mud or insects in your eyes when riding.

Gloves

Wear gloves to protect your hands and keep them warm
Gloves: gloves
One Industries Europe

Gloves protect your hands if you fall, keep them warm and improve your grip on the bars.

Waterproof jacket

A waterproof jacket is a sensible top layer for rainy weather
Waterproof jacket: waterproof jacket
Dakine

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.

Waterproof shorts

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

Riding pack

Take a riding pack and make sure you put some trail essentials in it
Take a riding pack and make sure you put some trail essentials in it:
Camelbak

Take a sensible sized pack to carry your keys, wallet, and these essentials to help you keep rolling.

First aid kit

Take a basic first aid kit
Take a basic first aid kit:
Future Publishing

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.

Tools

Take a multi-tool for trailside repairs
Take a multi-tool for trailside repairs:
Lezyne

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

Latex gloves will make repairs less messy
Latex gloves will make repairs less messy:
Future Publishing

Rubber/latex gloves can be useful too, to stop your riding gloves getting soaked or covered in grease during trailside repairs.

Inner tube

A spare inner tube will always come in handy
A spare inner tube will always come in handy:
Future Publishing

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.

Pump

A pump will enable you to reinflate your tyre after a puncture
A pump will enable you to reinflate your tyre after a puncture:
Topeak

Take a pump so you can reinflate your tyre after you get a puncture.

Spare layer and hat

Take a hat to keep your head warm if you get stuck in the cold
Take a hat to keep your head warm if you get stuck in the cold:
The North Face

Always carry a spare layer and a hat to stop you catching a chill if you get stuck out in the cold.

Energy gel/banana

Energy gels will give you a boost when you're tired. A banana will do the job too
Energy gels will give you a boost when you’re tired. a banana will do the job too:
Future Publishing

When you get tired, you’ll be grateful for these. Both provide an energy boost.

Water

Take water, either in a bottle or a hydration pack
Take water, either in a bottle or a hydration pack:
Boardman

Either in a hydration pack or in a bottle attached to your bike with a bottle cage.

Phone

Make sure your phone is fully charged
Make sure your phone is fully charged:
Future Publishing

Make sure it’s charged, and keep it safe and dry.

Get-me-home lights

If there's a chance you'll be out after dark, stick some backup lights in your pack
If there’s a chance you’ll be out after dark, stick some backup lights in your pack:
Knog
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 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.