With Mountain Bike riding season quickly approaching, I’d like to take a moment to give you some pointers on what to wear when you go bicycling in the woods.
Here in New England, we get a wide range of temperature and weather conditions; so if you’re riding here, you’ll need more than one outfit. Personally I find it helpful to have apparel for most of my activities in a bag ready to go, so for biking I would have my helmet, clear glasses and my riding sneakers with a good pair of thin socks and full finger gloves. In the summer and warmer days, shorts are always best, giving you freedom of movement. Wearing long pants makes resistance with every movement – hardly noticeable, but after a while, you get prematurely fatigued.
This winter I treated myself to a thermal riding outfit and right away I noticed the ease with which I could move over the rocky, wooded trails, and my endurance also increased, allowing me to enjoy even more of the wildlife, trees, and views from the peak. For years I mocked spandex and biking outfits, but I have to admit here that I was wrong. Not only is it easier to ride; but the respect I got from hikers, dog walkers, and other cyclists was noticeable. I used to joke that the only reason people wore those outfits was so that they could distinguish themselves from adults who were on bikes as a result of having lost their driver’s licences due to DUI offenses! The spandex wearers, I contended, wanted to ensure that people knew they were riding a bicycle by choice NOT by necessity!
For summer riding, I strongly suggest a full shirt with shoulders (because you will rub a branch or the bark of a tree with your shoulder), and a light pair of shorts (make sure they are not so baggy that you will get caught on your seat when going down steep hills, but loose enough to move freely) and sneakers or hiking boots to taste. A backpack with a water bladder is essential and also a good place for a snack, your cell phone, a spare tube for your tires, a pump, and a minimal amount of tools to do basic repairs. It’s funny- if you have it you will not need it, but I carry it.
KEN BURBANK, President & Founder
Zest for Life, Inc.