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
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: shorts Troy Lee Designs
Wear padded undershorts for comfort and tough overshorts for protection. Vented shorts keep you cool.
Knee pads: knee pads Scott Sports
There are a range of pad options that offer extra protection without restricting pedalling.
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: helmet Mavic
Always get the best helmet you can afford. Look for the best ﬁt, good ventilation and a removable peak.
Glasses: glasses Oakley
A sensible addition to help stop you getting grit, mud or insects in your eyes when riding.
Gloves: gloves One Industries Europe
Gloves protect your hands if you fall, keep them warm and improve your grip on the bars.
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.
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 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: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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: 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 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.
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.
Make sure your phone is fully charged: Future Publishing
Make sure it’s charged, and keep it safe and dry.
If there’s a chance you’ll be out after dark, stick some backup lights in your pack: Knog
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.