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I wanted this article to give you an idea of who is giving you this advice firstly, and secondly, to impart a little friendly advice on how to choose some mountain bike accessories and gear that I have found essential on my rides.
First of all, I started riding a bike when I was 4 years old which may in itself not seem like that much of a feat to the average person, however, I learned to ride on an adult sized single speed two wheeler cruiser bike. My dad used to push me all around the yard on this monolithic piece of steel with two very big rubber tires and a tractor sized seat. One day, as he tells the story, I just said “Dad, you don’t need to push me anymore – I think I can ride on my own”. Well he laughed at that but reluctantly let go of the seat anyway, running along side of the bike to ensure I didn’t fall. Much to his amazement, I just kept going even though I couldn’t reach the pedals while sitting on the seat. I was in kindergarten then and ever since I have had a love and passion for the world of bikes.
My first few bikes were hand-me-downs from cousins. My first new bike was a bright red CCM bike with a banana seat and chopper handlebars. I received this bike for my 7th birthday – in January! Obviously, I couldn’t ride it in the winter, but I would sit on it everyday in the porch with the kickstand on, tilt it forward so the rear wheel would come off the floor and start spinning. I did this so much that winter that I wore a hole through the linoleum floor in the mud room porch right down into the plywood floor. By the time I was 9 years old, I had probably put over 1000 miles on that bike -it took me everywhere that my dreams could imagine. I was given the gift of mobility and the world was at my fingertips. I rode that bike wherever I could from the local high school where I shook hands with the late Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, to hooking up with my friends, to searching for turtle eggs in the mud, to exploring a ghost town.
When I was 9, we had to move and unfortunately due to the distance, we could not take the bike with us so it had to be sold. I was devastated! However, the following year my grandfather had found a beaten up used Raleigh Stingray in bright orange crate orange – it was my dream bike. I had seen that bike hanging in the bike shop window and had wanted it so badly, but knew that it would be impossible as there would be no way we could ever afford it. My grandfather fixed up that bike and put new tires on it for me and again, I rode that bike everywhere. It was the coolest bike on the block, with a big high back chopper style banana seat, a 3 speed car style shifter and big chopper handle bars.
In more recent years, I have come to love the sport of mountain biking, having done our honeymoon (don’t bring it up with my wife) on a biking/camping vacation through Colorado, Utah, Nevada and Montana – coolest honeymoon ever (for me anyway) although I did have to bring my wife to Venezuela the following winter for what she defined as a “true honeymoon”. Over the past 10-15 years, I have also raced in several fun races from the 24 hours of Adrenaline, to the Niagara Falls Subaru Triathlon series and have probably learned more about bikes than I ever knew before racing.
Which brings me to the topic of what type’s of mountain bike accessories you should have in your pack?
I have learned through the school of hard knocks over the years, what mountain bike accessories you absolutely must have and which ones are the nice to have.
The first and foremost thing that everyone needs is obviously, a helmet for safety plus many states/provinces have made it mandatory and will fine you if you are caught not wearing one plus a good brain bucket can save your life too – believe me, I’ve been over my handle bars enough to know this first hand. If I didn’t wear one, I’d be walking around like a retired boxer by now if not pushing daisies.
Mountain Bike Shoes
You may have been riding a bike for many years wearing just an ordinary pair of running shoes; however, I highly recommend that you pick yourself up a pair of cycling shoes with cleats and proper pedals to clip into. You will be amazed at how efficient your pedaling will become, especially going up hills (in a future post I’ll give you my secret tip on how to conquer any hill on your bike)
In my opinion, this is the next most important mountain bike accessory to own other than a helmet. I personally carry a Topeak Alien multi tool in a small fanny pack under my seat along with a spare inner tube and a small pump that attaches to my water bottle screws. You can check out the Topeak Alien multi-tool on the right hand column of this blog and I highly suggest you make this purchase as your first one.
Other mountain bike accessories you should consider are riding gloves which help reduce hand fatigue, sport sunglasses (in particular, the kind with interchangeable lenses for different weather conditions), and a cycle computer to track things like distance, speed cadence (do yourself a favour and get the wireless kind). I will be posting more product reviews in future for these and many other exciting mountain bike accessories.
Until then, I wish you happy and safe riding to you and your families.
write by Samuel