My mountain biking stuff alone occupies several totes full of absolutely necessary (to me!) items that I need to have a fun, safe and successful ride. Yes, I’ve had years to accumulate my vast assortment. But, folks new to the sport often buy the bike, then overlook the fact that they should have a few other things before they get out and ride.
Your First Purchase After Your Bike
I can tell you from unfortunate experience, the first item you should buy before you set out to ride the trails is a good mountain bicycling helmet. To put it bluntly, shit happens out on the trail. Things you can anticipate: you’re bombing down a rocky, rooty, twisty, singletrack you’ve never ridden before – there’s always a good chance you could hit something wrong and go down for a spill. Then there’s the spills you just never see coming – in my case doing a routine 8 foot drop into a creek bed I’d done hundreds of times before. Later, waking up in the trauma ward at Parkland hospital, I learned that my front wheel had failed. I suffered a nasty concussion and other injuries. But, after a few months I was back on the bike riding again. I can tell you unequivocally, I would not be here today, living to ride (and buy things for my beloved bicycles again!) had I not been wearing my helmet. Don’t mess around with this one! Helmets these days are comfortable and stylish. And, for the protection they provide to your health and well being, a very small investment.
Selecting A Helmet You Will Wear
Now that the personal plea to your good sense is complete, let’s look at a few things you might consider when selecting a helmet, like – How does is look when you’re blazing down the trail?!! Just kidding. There are much more important considerations than what you look like while out on a ride. For me, the most important factor is simply the way the helmet fits. If it doesn’t fit properly, or isn’t comfortable, it will become a distraction during your ride. The best thing about helmets these days is that they are well designed. They provide great ventilation at the slower speeds that mountain bikers ride (as opposed to road bikers), they have visors to keep the sun out of your eyes, and various systems of adjustment to ensure a good fit. At costs starting as low as $25, there is absolutely no reason to ride without one.