There’s nothing more frustrating than having your bike chain fall off while you’re riding. Unfortunately, this is a common problem for cyclists, especially those who don’t have a lot of experience with bikes. If you’re wondering why your bike chain keeps falling off, keep reading for some possible causes and solutions.
1. Your bike chain has worn out
One of the most common reasons for a bike chain to fall off is that the chain has reached the end of its lifespan. When you are biking, there are all sorts of forces working against your bike chain because it is constantly under pressure and exposed to heat and dirt.
Over time, these elements take a toll on the bike chain and cause it to wear out. If your bike was made before the early 90s, you might not be able to buy a new bike chain and will instead need to replace the entire drive train (which includes the gears and your bike chain).
2. You may need a replacement pin for your master link
If you’re noticing that your bike chain is always falling off, it could be because the pin on your master link is worn down. The master link is the one that keeps your chain together and it can sometimes come loose or break after repeated use. This means that you will need to replace this part before you can put the chain back on your bike. Fortunately, master links are fairly cheap and you can pick one up at your local bike store.
3. The design of your master link could be the problem
If changing out the pin on your master link doesn’t work, then it might be time to upgrade the entire master link itself. Generally speaking, some designs are better than others when it comes to keeping your bike chain together.
If you’re having repeated problems with the master link failing, then you might want to replace it with a high quality master link that can handle regular wear and tear.
When you are shopping for a new master link, look for one made by an established company like SRAM or KMC because they make some of the highest quality bike components on the market. You may also want to consider using a chain tool to remove your old master link and replace it with a new one before you put your chain back on your bike .
4. Your rear gears could be too high or low
Another possible reason why your bike chain keeps falling off is that there’s something wrong with your rear gears. For example, the teeth on your rear gears could be worn out which means that they need to be replaced as soon as possible. If this is the problem, then you might also want to replace the entire drive train (gears and chain) because it’s often cheaper than having to buy new gear sets and a new bike chain.
5. Your drive train needs to be realigned
If your bike chain is always falling off, there’s a chance that you need to realign the rear gears on your bike or replace them altogether. This might sound complicated but it’s actually something that most people can do themselves in about an hour (or less). If this is the problem, then you’ll need a special tool called a chain whip. This tool is only found at your local bike store and it’s what you use to realign your gears.
6. The sprocket on your rear wheel could be worn out
Another possible reason why your bike chain keeps falling off is that the sprocket or cassette on your rear wheel is worn out.
When the sprocket or cassette starts to wear down, it can sometimes cause your chain to slip off or come loose. If this is going on, then you might want to replace the sprocket and cassette as a whole. This means that you’ll need a special tool called a freewheel remover to take the cassette off your bike.
If you’re not comfortable with this level of bike maintenance, then you can always take your bike to a professional bike mechanic for help .
7. Your derailleur could be bent or misaligned
The final reason why your bike chain keeps falling off is that the derailleur on your rear wheel might be misaligned or bent. If this is going on, then you’ll need to take your bike to a professional to get it fixed as soon as possible because the derailleur can sometimes rub against the sprocket and cause unnecessary damage. While this type of damage might not be immediately noticeable, it could cause other problems in the future if left unnoticed.
8. The condition of your bike chain could be the problem
If you’ve tried all of these possible solutions but your bike is still having problems with its chain, then it might be time to replace your bike’s current chain with a new one. Bike chains can last for about a year or two depending on how often they’re used. So, if you own a bike with a high mileage , it might be time to replace your current chain. If not, then make sure that you clean and oil your bike’s drive train on a regular basis .
9. What type of lubricant are you using?
If none of these possible solutions work for you then it could be time for you to use a different lubricant. While some people prefer using standard WD-40, others have had success using 3 in 1 oil or even sewing machine oil . The great thing about these types of lubricants is that they are specifically designed for metal parts so they won’t hurt your bike’s components.
10. Are you putting the chain on correctly?
If you still can’t get your bike chain to stay on, then it might be time for you to take a closer look at how you’re putting the chain back on. The problem with the way that most people put chains back on their bikes is that they don’t put them high enough and this can sometimes cause unnecessary tension and stress. When you put the chain on correctly , it should be high and tight against the derailleur . If this is not happening, then make sure that you check your owner’s manual because most bikes have specific instructions for how to put chains back on their drive trains.
11. Get your bike checked out by a professional
If none of these solutions work for you, then it might be time to get your bike checked out by a professional. A lot of people ignore the problem because they’re not comfortable with doing maintenance on their bikes . However, if you’re having constant problems with your chain falling off, then this is definitely the best way to go in order to avoid unnecessary damage to your bike’s components.
12. Get a chain that is compatible with your specific type of shifter
If you’re still having problems with the chain falling off, then it might be because you’re using an incompatible chain . The great thing about modern bikes is that they come with different kinds of shifters to accommodate for different types of chains. If your bike is compatible with Shimano gears, make sure that you buy a Shimano compatible chain .
13. Be gentle when putting your bike back together
Another thing to keep in mind when you’re putting the chain back on your bike after cleaning it is that you should be as gentle as possible. You’ll also want to avoid using tools that can damage your chain and cause further problems with your bike’s components. Put the chain on by hand and hold it in place while you attach the rear wheel. This will help to minimize unnecessary stress on other parts of your bike .
14. Measure out how much chain you’ll need for shifting
The final thing to do is to make sure that you have enough chain to shift. In other words, try measuring out how much chain you’ll need for shifting and then add a little bit extra to that length . So, instead of putting the chain on the largest sprocket and the rear derailleur’s highest gear , put it on one size down from there.
Cycling is a great way to stay in shape, but if you’re new to the sport or haven’t done it in awhile, then you need to take some precautions before you get on your bike. Cycling has some inherent risks that come with the territory of any sport- some more than others.
Here are some of the most common causes for cycling-related injuries.
Improper bicycle fit
Exceeding your current skill and fitness level
Poor road conditions and sudden weather changes
Misjudging traffic situations and interruptions in flow on the roadway (e.g., construction or an accident)
Carrying too much weight, either on your body or in your bike frame (especially with a poorly adjusted saddle height)
Suffering from overuse syndromes such as arthritis, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome or gout that limit function during prolonged use of wrists, hands or feet; this may be caused by poor maintenance.
Let’s go over some ways that will help keep injuries at bay when you are cycling!
General Precautions to Prevent Injury While Cycling
1. Make sure to set your bike up correctly!
Bicycle fitment refers to how a professional bike fitter custom-tailors your bicycle to suit you. They will take into account many important factors including your weight, height, flexibility and body size.
The process usually takes approximately one hour.
A typical appointment starts with the client being assessed for natural flexibility by doing simple tests which are then graded on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is very flexible and 5 would be considered stiff. After assessing the natural flexibility level of the person consulting them they are asked to do some easy pedaling exercises on their own bike whilst seated in their normal cycling position – demos are shown using real bikes for maximum effect.
Different people have different body mechanics, so make sure that you are comfortable on your bike before hitting the road. If you feel like something is off or wrong with your bike, then it’s time to take it in to get looked at by a pro.
A comfortable bike fit is critical to cycling injury prevention. When your bike fits you well, you’ll experience fewer aches and pains after a ride because fingers won’t feel numb, hands won’t tingle, back pain will be alleviated.
2. Wear Protective Gear!
Wearing protective gear will not eliminate the risk of injury, but it may lower the severity of an injury. Most protective clothing such as helmets and bicycle specific clothing is designed to absorb shock from unexpected contact with a hard surface such as pavement or walls.
Some also feel that it helps them stay safe because drivers take more notice of bike riders that wear protective gear than those who do not. There is no guarantee for this theory and there is much speculation on the topic so you should always call police if you were involved in any type of accident.
A helmet is regarded by some experts as one of the most important pieces of riding safety equipment that can be worn while cycling.
The brain is extremely sensitive, so any bump or blow on it could result in significant brain trauma leading serious permanent damage such as paralysis or death.
Statistics show that one out of six fatalities comes from head injuries sustained while cycling; wearing a helmet will significantly reduce your risk of suffering this fate.
Wrist guards are great for preventing fractures of the radius bone, and knee pads are wonderful for protecting knees during falls.
3. Warm up Before You Pedal!
Most cyclists are familiar with the concept of warming up before cycling. This habit is both a preventer of injury, as well as an effective way to improve your pedaling power.
The idea behind warming up is that it increases blood flow to the muscles, which causes them to pump out more lactic acid. Lactic acid is absorbed by muscle cells for fuel during exercise, so breaking down some lactic acid during a warm-up will help muscles finish long rides without cramping or running out of fuel.
Warming up before a ride is imperative to prevent injury. Make sure to spend at least 5-10 minutes on your bike getting your muscles ready to go before you actually start peddling hard. Stretching out after a ride will also keep you on the road longer without injuries .
It has been estimated that 5-15% of rider injuries are caused by cool or cold muscles.
4. Keep your bike in good condition – check tire pressure, brakes, and gears before you ride
Maintaining a bicycle in great condition is essential for preventing injury while cycling. There are number of simple steps that can be taken to ensure safe and enjoyable rides.
Some way include checking tire pressure, lubricating the chain, ensuring good lighting for night time use, and maintaining brakes in good working order
5. Ease into it!
If you haven’t been cycling in awhile or are taking some time off, then ease back into things instead of starting where you left off all those years ago when you finally decided to give it up. Cycling is a great way to get and stay in shape, but if you don’t ease into it then you can cause an injury .
6. If something hurts, stop!
You’re probably not going to win the Tour de France by taking breaks every time your legs start to hurt or your back starts hurting. But if something doesn’t feel right then what’s the point of continuing? Get off the bike and stretch or just take a little break and see how it feels. The last thing you want is for an injury to keep you from cycling!
7. Don’t Drink & Ride
Drinking alcohol while biking increases the risk of fatal accidents as alcohol impairs judgment and reflexes as well as slows reaction time. This can lead to a variety of trips and falls that could cause long lasting injury such as broken bones or head trauma.
The more we know about how alcohol affects the body on a molecular level, the more we see that drinking leads to decreased brain power and memory formation, not just impaired ability to walk and speak clearly. There is mounting evidence that moderate amounts of drinking will increase your chances of injury when biking due to poorer judgement skills (even without worrying about drunk driving). Alcohol also increases dehydration rates making one more susceptible for heat related risks such as heatstroke and dehydration.
8. Be seen!
This is especially important if you ride during hours when it’s dark outside or at dawn or dusk. Having a front light and rear reflectors will make you much more visible to cars and other vehicles, which will help prevent accidents and injuries .
9. Remember: your responsibility!!
Cycling is a sport that requires the cyclist to be responsible for his or her own safety. You are wearing what amounts to wheeled armor, but there are no reinforcements covering your neck and head, which leaves those parts exposed.
Prevention of Specific Injuries While Cycling
Preventing Numb Toes
Particularly common in enduro racing, injury to the anterior tibial nerve can occur when cycling downhill. This results in numbness and pins-and-needles sensations in the toes, with simple tasks like removing socks or shoelaces proving very difficult owing to lack of sensation.
The two main causes are compression of related nerves or compression along the blood vessels that supply nerves to the foot – this is most commonly caused by pressure on the top of the sole where it connects with pedals connected to cranks.
Prevention—aside from getting into better form—involves raising saddle height so that there is clearance between ankles and front wheel at all times; adjusting cleats so they diverge slightly more than usual; redistributing weight in the saddle to move it forward; increasing the size of shoe cleats, using special shoes for cycling, or wearing stiff hiking boots when descending.
Preventing Saddle Sore Injuries
Another common injury among cyclists is saddle sores, caused by contacting the bicycle seat with one’s buttocks over prolonged periods.
Padded shorts are frequently used to prevent this type of irritation during bicycling.
Special ergonomic seats are also available that attempt to decrease pressure exerted on certain areas of the body while riding. These seats vary in width and design, but they often have a high nose which reduces pressure on the soft tissue located within the pelvic area.
Sores can be avoided further through proper posture when sitting—sitting upright relieves any existing shear force which abrades the skin during rotation of the pelvis. Saddle sores can be prevented by rotating one’s hips, moving about on the saddle, or standing up while cycling to relieve pressure for short periods of time.
Preventing Knee Pain Injury
Patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS) is an umbrella term used to describe pain which affects the knee and is caused by a problem with tracking of one’s kneecap. This can be caused by mal-alignment of the foot or problems with the contour of the bicycle seat.
PFPS has many potential contributing factors but most often, it is attributed to degradation of articular cartilage on one’s knee cap.
Prevention—when cycling—involves regularly standing up out of the saddle to stretch and ensuring that proper form is used when applying pressure down into pedals; this means resisting the urge to reach forward with knees while pedaling, as this will cause them almost inescapably to come forward too much in relation to feet attached to pedals and in so doing strain patellofemoral joint and increase problems related to PFPS.
Preventing Achilles Tendonitis and Tibialis Posterior Tendinopathy
Achilles tendonitis and tibialis posterior tendinopathy (also known as posterior tibial tendon dysfunction) are injuries caused by overuse of the aforementioned structures; they cause pain which ranges from mild discomfort with exertion to severe pain at rest, and can sometimes be debilitating for cyclists.
Prevention—when cycling—involves reducing the amount one rides and increasing time for recovery between workouts; ensuring that one’s seat is high enough that knee remains straight when foot is at bottom of pedal stroke; using toe clips or straps to reduce pressure exerted on feet during pedaling; ensuring proper form when applying pressure to pedals; using correct cycling shoes with stiff soles but which aren’t excessively heavy; and ensuring that cleats are correctly aligned on shoes.
Preventing Cervical Spine Injury
A study concludes that cyclists were less able than non-cyclists to look backwards as far as 180°, demonstrating a considerable blind spot compared to those who do not ride bicycles.
Riding with one’s head continuously angled over one’s shoulder in order to see behind results in muscle fatigue and pain and eventually headaches and upper neck injury—the result of cervical facet joint impingement on the superior articular process of atlas.
This particular kind of injury can be avoided by making sure head is positioned so that line of vision is in line with one’s shoulders and in so doing, avoid neck pain and injury.
Preventing Lower Back Pain and Injury
Lower back pain and injury can be caused by stress placed on lumbar spine during cycling when someone leans too far forward when riding; another potential cause of this type of injury comes from muscle imbalances in the torso—specifically between abdominal muscles and hip flexors.
A cyclist who lacks flexibility in hip flexor muscles, will overuse the rectus femoris or quadriceps femoris. This can lead to tendonitis at either end of those muscles.
The best prevention for general lower back pain while cycling is to ensure that bicycle seat puts minimal pressure on perineum area—the space between one’s anus and genitalia—and that it is tilted at a downward angle of roughly 20° from horizontal.
Preventing cyclist’s nipple
Cyclist’s nipple is is caused by the continuous rubbing of clothes against the nipples. It is most common to cyclists, runners and those who wear tight compression gear.
Prevention begins with wearing cycling jerseys made of fabrics that wick moisture away from skin as rapidly as possible. Two examples of such materials are polyester and spandex, which allow perspiration to evaporate rapidly. This prevents the clothing from sticking to the skin or producing a clammy feeling. Wearing a water-resistant sunscreen on nipples can help prevent them becoming sore during a ride..
Preventing Shoulder Pain When Cycling
Shoulder pain in cycling typically is the result of poor riding posture and is caused by repetitive motions in which shoulder is held forward in order to hold onto handlebars; this causes strain on muscles and tendons in front of shoulder, specifically pectoralis major muscle.
Preventing injury includes practicing holding onto both bar ends. This will ensure that both arms are in a comfortable position and allows one to cycle longer before it results in pain.
You can avoid injury while cycling by ensuring that your bike fits you properly, wearing a helmet, realizing your limits and not cycling outside of them, replacing the chain periodically (every 3-6 months), observing traffic laws (don’t say hi to oncoming motorists!), and never cycling when you are sleepy.
In the glamorous world of workouts, exercises are divided into either aerobic and anaerobic exercises. Both forms of exercise are essential to your overall health and fitness.
However, if you’re a biking enthusiasts or you’re considering taking it up, you might have wondered whether biking is aerobic or anaerobic exercise. We’ll get into that later on.
First, let’s critically examine the difference between aerobic and anaerobic exercises.
What is Aerobic Exercise?
According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), aerobic exercise is any activity that increases your heart rate. It also involves continuous and rhythmic muscle movements over an extended period of time, which improves your lung’s capacity and the efficiency of your cardiovascular system.
Aerobic exercise promotes cardiovascular health, which includes lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure. The goal with aerobic exercise is to increase your heart rate in order to get the most out of the body’s oxygen usage.
In general, it’s safe for most people to do at least some aerobic exercise every day, which can help you shed pounds and lower your risk of diabetes and other conditions.
Aerobic exercises also helps you sleep better and improve your mood.
The most popular aerobic activities are running and cycling – two forms of cardiovascular exercise where people use their legs for power instead of their arms like they would when swimming or using an elliptical machine.
For best results with aerobic exercises, aim for 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity such as brisk walking or water aerobics. You can break this up into three 30-minute workouts each week if that’s more convenient for you.
What is Anaerobic Exercise?
The University of Michigan Medicine notes that strength and speed activities like weightlifting and sprinting are examples of anaerobic exercises because they don’t make your heart beat faster.
Instead, they only break a sweat by using the phosphagen system for energy – which is very limited. You also might feel like you can’t breathe! Only do one or two sets of such high-intensity exercises (e.g., fewer than 5) before taking a rest break; otherwise, you may risk cramps and fatigue.
Strength training at the gym will burn calories and build muscle mass, but it is not aerobic activity.
Anaerobic means ‘without oxygen.’ Anaerobic exercise provides energy for short bursts of intense activity and can increase muscular strength and endurance.
There are two types of anaerobic exercise.
1. Isometric Exercise is when the skeletal muscles contract but no visible movement occurs, e.g., you are pushing or pulling against something that’s not moving.
2. Isotonic Exercise which involves the contraction and extension of muscle groups without any change in the length of those muscles involved, e.g., you push or pull on an object with a fixed resistance, like weightlifting or doing sit-ups to strengthen your core muscles
This form of workout is best for improving strength and tone, as well as enhancing bone health because it targets large muscle groups in the body such as the biceps, triceps, thighs, buttocks, chest muscles and abdominal.
Is Biking Aerobic or Anaerobic?
There are two schools of thought on whether biking is strictly aerobic or anaerobic activity.
The answer lies in how you pedal-if you’re making an effort to push up with your legs, then it is considered aerobically challenging. Cycling a bike aerobically is when you pedal your bicycle in an efficient and steady fashion, with minimal exertion.
One of the most popular ways to cycle a bike aerobically is by using the heart rate monitor on your wrist to measure how hard you’re working out. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that cyclists work their way up from aerobic exercise to more intense workouts, so if you’re just beginning this type of activity it’s important that you don’t overdo it or else injuries may occur. As always, consult with your physician before starting any new workout routine!
The most important thing to remember when doing aerobic cycling is to keep pedaling at the same rate of speed throughout your workout session.
At the other end of the spectrum, if you’re riding your bicycle as fast as possible, pedaling very rapidly and using strength to power through hills – this is called interval training, which results in short bursts of high-intensity energy. If you do this for more than two minutes, it’s considered anaerobic activity (not good for burning calories).
Also, if you cycle with the sole intention of building leg muscles, then it is anaerobic activity.
Both aerobic and anaerobic activities provide benefits such as burning calories to help you lose weight or maintain your ideal body mass index (BMI).
However, only aerobic activity will improve your cardiovascular system and decrease body fat levels. The trick is finding a workout plan that mixes both types of exercises together so you get the most out of every minute spent working up a sweat. So go ahead: hop on your bike and pedal with purpose!
Anaerobic exercise increases strength and speed which includes weightlifting, sprinting.
Aerobic exercise uses oxygen for energy, like running or biking.
Both types of activity provide benefits such as burning calories to help you lose weight or maintain your ideal body mass index (BMI).
However, only aerobic activity will improve your cardiovascular system and decrease body fat levels. The trick is finding a workout plan that mixes both types of exercises together so you get the most out of every minute spent working up a sweat. So go ahead: hop on your bike and pedal away.
To make sure you don’t overdo it on the bike (and risk injury), there are some things you should know before starting out:
You’ll want to start with an easy ride that lasts around two hours or less
It’s important not be too hard on yourself when biking for the first time; if at any point during your ride you feel lightheaded or nauseous stop immediately. Your body needs time to adjust to the new demands you’re putting on it.
You don’t want to lose interest after one or two sessions either – so you might want to try biking with a group of friends or joining a local cycling club, which will allow you to ride at your own pace and experiment with different routes. The key is to find something you’ll enjoy doing!
What Muscles Does Riding a Bike Target?
Riding a bike targets the whole body. It especially focuses on the thighs and calves, but also works the arms and upper back as well.
Riding a bike causes you to use your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, adductors, abductors and even your pectorals. The other muscles that are used when riding a bike include the rotator cuff muscles of your shoulders, which hold up your arms as you cycle along efficiently.
The other muscles that become engaged when riding a bike include those secondary shoulder muscles called “the trapezius” muscles – both the upper traps and middle traps as well as those lower traps in addition to those big strong scapular stabilizers known as your rhomboids.”
As with any kind of activity, you want to make sure you start out slow and work your way up.
Also remember that nutrition is important for muscle strength and growth and energy and endurance. If you already ride a bike regularly, congratulations!
How Many Calories Do You Burn When Riding a Bike?
The amount of calories you can burn when riding a bike depends on a number of factors.
Body size and composition
Incline or hill grade
Approach to workout – eg how many days a week for what time durations, etc…
All of these factors will play into how much caloric energy is required for each individual. For this reason, it is impossible to give an exact number of calories burned per minute or mile traveled during cycling unless you know all relevant information specific to that individual.
For instance, someone who bikes three times a week for 20 minutes might be burning more calories than someone who bikes five times a week for 10 minutes each day over the course of the entire year.
Addressing both the duration and frequency of exercise is important to consider when trying to evaluate your caloric expenditure from cycling in comparison with others.
Also, your rate of caloric expenditure will increase the faster or longer you ride.
Why You Should Ride Your Bike More Often
There are many health benefits to cycling. Cycling provides a low-impact workout for your heart and lungs, which is great for people with joint pain or injuries who cannot participate in other forms of physical activity.
Biking has also been shown to increase muscle mass in some areas better than walking or running, though it does not provide as much total body fitness as jogging or using an elliptical machine at the gym.
Unfortunately, people who cycle to stay fit often face the dilemma of whether their activity is aerobic or anaerobic.
So which is it? Is cycling aerobic or anaerobic? The answer depends on how you ride your bike.
Let’s take a look at the physiological effects of riding your bike for transport and fitness, as well as some training tips that can help you find out just how aerobically challenging biking can be for you.
On a purely physical level, pedaling your bike is an anaerobic activity and builds muscle strength and endurance.
Your muscles produce energy in two ways: through aerobic respiration, or breaking down glucose without oxygen to create ATP molecules that provide quick bursts of energy; and through anaerobic respiration, which uses glycogen to quickly break down glucose into lactic acid. This process produces energy for short periods of time, but leaves the muscles exhausted until they can rebuild glycogen stores by burning fat instead.
Sustained cycling requires constant pedaling at a moderate pace through aerobic respiration to keep up with the body’s demand for sufficient energy production.
When you pedal too slowly or stop pedaling altogether, your body relies on anaerobic respiration to power your muscles.
Your heart rate will increase in order to send more oxygenated blood to the muscles demanding it, and you may begin breathing heavily in response.
Warm-Up for Biking
Warm up before biking by pedaling slowly for five minutes with slight resistance on the pedals. This stimulates the muscles used while cycling without straining them so you can get accustomed to what they feel like when working hard.
Pedal very lightly throughout the rest of your workout at a moderate pace that allows you to speak short sentences comfortably while riding. If you’re not sure if your effort is aerobic or not, just talk out loud about how tired you are
It’s time to find out! Cycling is one of the best ways to stay in shape and increase your fitness levels, but there are two schools of thought on whether it is strictly aerobic or anaerobic activity. The answer lies in how you pedal-if you’re making an effort
Perhaps most importantly, cycling allows you to enjoy the outdoors while getting fit!
We hope this article helped you answer the question on whether biking is an aerobic or anaerobic exercise. If not, we want to hear from you in the comments!
We would love to help clarify any misconceptions and get a discussion going about how biking can be both types of exercises depending on your intensity level.
Please share with us what type of bike rider you are – do you prefer a leisurely ride around town after work? Or maybe your favorite pastime includes long distance rides up steep hills? Share below so that others know what they’re getting themselves into before trying it for themselves!
Mountain bikers are a passionate bunch and they care about what they wear.
The right gear can make or break an experience for them. In this post, we’ll go over the basics of what to wear when mountain biking so you’re prepared for all conditions.
Whether it’s a short bike ride on your local trail or an intense backcountry excursion, there are some important considerations that need to be made in order to fully enjoy your next adventure on your two wheels.
You might not know how much clothing is necessary until you get out and start riding; but having the right clothes will help keep you safe and comfortable even if things don’t go as planned!
The right gear is key when mountain biking. This article will teach you how to pick the right gear for your mountain biking adventure. Let’s get started!
The first part of the process is picking out a good mountain biking helmet. There are many different styles of mountain biking helmets, but they all have one thing in common: protection from head injury.
A good helmet should protect your head from rocks, plants, and falls upon impact.
The most important factor in picking out a good helmet is that it fits snugly and securely on your head.
Try on the helmet before you buy it to ensure that it fits properly. If you can’t get the helmet close enough to touch your temples or jawline, it isn’t safe enough.
The next thing you will want to consider when picking out a helmet is the budget.
When checking out helmets, try not to go for the cheapest one- they don’t offer as much protection as more expensive ones.
If you’re pulling your hair up into a pony tail before biking, take a look at helmets with vents on top- they are great for hot weather!
2- Mountain Biking Shoes
The next step in picking out gear for your mountain biking adventure is sneakers.
When riding a bike you will most likely be on the ground at some point, so make sure your shoes are sturdy and durable.
Since mountain bikes tend to have gears and shifters, it’s important that your shoes aren’t too slippery. Most shoes made just for bicycles have an anti-slip technology.
Nothing ruins a good ride quite like a tumble because of misplaced footwork. Check out the complete list of the best mountain biking shoes.
Another thing to consider about shoes is their “climbing” ability; if you’re going up hill with speed then loose gravel can cause loss of control when attempting to gain traction back onto the riding surface.
Shoes or Boots?
This is another thing that depends on you and your personal preference because it all boils down to what feels better for the rider.
Personally, I prefer wearing boots with a sturdy sole to protect my ankles from sprains or twists during rough rides. Also, if they slip off then at least I still have them on my feet (not in my hand!).
I would recommend sticking with either sneakers or riding boots when going mountain biking; however, there are some shoes made specifically for cycling which have special soles, laces, vents, etc. for comfortability and grip while pedaling. So just pick whatever feels more comfortable for you!
3- Shorts or Pants?
This is a tough question to answer because it all depends on you and your personal preference.
Personally, I prefer to wear shorts when mountain biking because they are easy to adjust while riding (pulling down to relieve soreness). Also, if the weather gets cold then many shorts are designed with a zipper or clasp that will allow you to tuck in your shirt underneath for warmth.
There are also certain types of pants that can be used as an alternative.
Most common types of mountain bike pants have padded knee protection and chamois padding at the crotch area (to prevent chafe). Some even have special ventilation for quick drying and breathability after a rain shower.
What you choose depends on what you like and comfortability, but I would recommend wearing either shorts or pants when mountain biking.
Vests are a great thing to wear when mountain biking, especially if the weather is hot. A vest has many pockets for holding valuable items such as food, water bottles, and tools (tire pump & patch kit).
Most vests have reflectors for high visibility at night or early morning. Some even have safety whistles in case of emergencies.
A good way to keep cool during your ride is by filling up a bottle with ice cold water and putting it into one of the extra pockets on your vest. Trust me; that will feel amazing after miles up hill or down hill.
If you’re wearing a helmet then I would highly recommend using some sort of headband or protective cap to prevent sweat from pouring down into your eyes.
5- Cycling Gloves
Since mountain biking is an outdoor sport, I would highly recommend wearing gloves to protect your hands from branches, thorns, and even the cold weather.
You don’t want to push yourself too hard during a ride and end up with thorns stuck in your hand because you forgot to bring gloves along for protection!
If it’s hot, then gloves will also absorb sweat from your palms.
There are many different types of gloves; some are designed for warmth while others are thinner for better grip on the handlebars or brakes. Just make sure they fit comfortable and snugly to prevent slipping and sliding.
Mountain biking can expose you to both heat and cold so it would be wise to wear glasses or goggles that have a thermal barrier for sunscreen.
This will prevent your eyes from the wind fatigue caused by dirt, dust, and sunlight.
Also, if you’re wearing prescription glasses then I would recommend getting sunglasses especially if it’s very sunny outside.
If you plan on going at night then I recommend wearing a light headband or cap to prevent loss of control due to low visibility; plus wearing something that lights up (for drivers to see) is an added precaution against accidents or injuries.
7- Fitness Tracker
A great way to track your progress is by using a fitness tracker such as the FitBit. This can track how many calories you have burned, how far you have gone, and even how high up in elevation you are (according to GPS location).
It will also make sure you’re pedaling at the proper resistance according to your heart rate because it has an adjustable alarm that tells when to speed up or slow down.
In addition, if it’s hot out then this device can alert you of any nearby water fountains so that you don’t get overheated while riding.
Choosing a fitness tracker can seem like a daunting task, but thankfully there are many different options. You want to start by knowing what your budget is and what you’re looking to get out of a fitness tracker.
Fitbit Charge HR- This is an affordable option that tracks the following stats: steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, and heart rate.
Garmin Vivoactive- This is more expensive than the FitBit Charge HR but it also has GPS function and is water proof. It features the following stats: steps, distance, calories burned, floors climbed, elevation gain/loss (via barometric altimeter), and active minutes (based on continuous heart rate data). The battery lasts around 3 weeks.
Apple Watch- This is the most expensive option but it has the most features. Once synced with a smartphone, this watch allows you to control your music and send/receive iMessages or text messages without pulling out your phone. It also comes equipped with built in GPS and a heart rate monitor (if you opt for the model that’s made specifically for fitness). The battery lasts up to 18 hours of usage.
A bandanna is good stuff to have when mountain biking because it will protect your neck against cold winds and rains.
It’s also good to have a bandanna handy if you want to wipe the sweat from your face, clean off smudges of dirt or grease on your glasses/goggles, or even use it as a sling in case of an injury.
The best thing to do is find a bandanna that is made out of breathable material or has a mesh lining. It would also be wise to find one that is light weight enough so it doesn’t cause your neck to feel too hot and uncomfortable. The last thing you want to worry about while mountain biking is worrying about how uncomfortable your bandanna is!
9- Cycling Balaclava
A balaclava is a type of headwear that can be used for either winter or summer sports. It’s normally a one-piece that wraps around the neck, covers the mouth and nose, and extends to cover most of your forehead.
The purpose of using this type of headwear is to protect your neck from cold winds or rain when mountain biking during the winter months. It also provides protection for your face from heat exhaustion in the summer or if you’re sweating profusely when biking up hills.
I would recommend wearing a balaclava that has breathable material such as mesh or open holes for ventilation so it doesn’t cause you to sweat. The last thing you want is to wear something too thick that causes you
You can also find a balaclava helmet which is like a normal helmet, but it covers your face and head.
This is great for keeping warm during the winter months when you don’t want to wear a full hooded ski jacket or snow pants.
If you go mountain biking in the weather that gets above 90 degrees then this would be an excellent thing to have handy because of how comfortable it is. It’s easier than wearing a hat because it doesn’t sit on top of your head where sweat collects, but instead just under your chin area so that your neck and ears are still covered up.
10- Reflective Vest
Wearing a reflective vest can be very useful for riding a bike especially in the dark or when it is not possible to rely on light. A good vest should have 3 main qualities: provide 360 degrees of reflection, fit comfortably, and properly contour around your body.
There are a number of ways to tell whether or not you have purchased the right reflective vest for mountain biking. One way is to ask yourself these three questions:
Where will I be riding?
What times will I be out?
What’s my personal style?
Based on these answers, choose a bicycle vest that has visibility in both daylight and dusk conditions. If you’re riding during twilight hours, it’s best to pick something with high reflectivity designed specifically for low light cycling conditions.
The quality of the material should also be considered when purchasing a bike vest so that the garment can withstand any wear and tear while still maintaining its functionality. And finally, consider your style before picking what color to buy.
The bright colors on reflective vests will reflect off car lights and make them more visible to approaching traffic. Plus it’s a great way to stand out if you’re riding with a trail partner who is wearing similar colored cycling gear (i.e.: yellow/gold for mountain biking).
One vest that I would recommend is the Joe Rocket Phoenix Vest with a 3M Scotchlite Retro Reflective Fabric. It utilizes a three-panel design that combines mesh and polyester fabric for maximum breathability, while still providing the protection you need for your safety. Additionally, it provides a great deal of pockets for storage, so you can carry all of your essentials in one convenient place.
13- Mountain Biking Knee Pads
Do you love mountain biking but hate the scratches and bruises on your knees?
The truth is, knee pads are one of the most important parts of your gear. Knee pads protect you from injury when biking on rocky terrain or rough trails. If you plan to ride down a trail that is full of roots and sticks, sharp rocks and stumps, you will want knee pads that run all around your knees for maximum protection.
When picking out kneepads, look for ones that are made out of dense foam or gel- they will keep you safe from the impact of a fall.
Additionally, knee pads should fit snuggly around the area of your leg that will come in contact with rocks upon impact (the fleshy part of your knee).
The best way to ensure a good fit is to try them on in advance or use a sizing chart online before purchasing anything. If you’re trying them on, make sure they aren’t too tight- don’t want chafing when you’re biking!
12- Hydration Pack
Don’t let thirst make you lose sight of what’s important: going as fast as possible down the trail.
Hydration packs are specially made backpacks or pouches with water bladders inside that can hold enough water and nutrients for long distance rides.
This allows you to go farther distances without having to stop because your thirst has temporarily gotten the best of you.
If you’re going on a mountain bike ride, it’s important to stay hydrated. You can take water with you in bottles or use a hydration pack.
Hydration packs are lightweight and convenient, but they should be packed carefully for safety reasons. Here’s how:
1) Put the bladder inside an outer pocket that is large enough to hold it comfortably–this will keep the bladder from rubbing against your back as you ride so that it doesn’t feel like someone is riding next to you!
2) Fill up the bladder with water before starting your ride so that there won’t be any leaks when you start pedaling hard!
3) Make sure all of the straps and buckles are tight- this will make sure everything stays
Knives and multitools are items that you should always have with you while mountain biking whether it’s in your pack or on your body (preferably both).
You never know when you can use them for emergencies or if they come in handy when you need to fix minor bike malfunctions.
Not only are knives good for removing thorns from tires/rims but they’re also good at cutting things such as food and ropes. This allows you to eat healthier meals than just eating junk food during long bike rides without having to take the time to snack on pretzels or chips.
Once I was mountain biking and my chain broke while riding downhill, but luckily for me I had a knife on hand that I used to remove the front tire from getting stuck in my rear wheel.
What Not to Wear When Mountain Biking
Now that we’ve looked at what to wear when mountain biking, let’s quickly go over a list of what not to wear.
1- Flip Flops
Flip flops are the worst thing to wear when mountain biking because they’re not safe from being caught in between the chain and front crankset. While pedaling down hills at a fast pace, your shoes can easily be caught on the chain and possibly rip a hole through them or tear off your toe nails.
Just like flip flops, sandals don’t provide you with enough protection for your feet if you’re trying to jump onto things such as rocks or logs or if you need to walk
2- Shoes With Little Traction
Shoes with little traction can easily slip out from underneath you if you’re trying to jump onto something such as getting over a log or branch or landing after doing tricks on your bike.
I’ve seen this happen countless times where kids would come into our local bike shops either looking for new shoes, but then leave with tears in their eyes just because they can’t handle the way their old shoes slip around during fast antics.
3- Long Pants/Skirts
Not only does it make you look funny when you’re riding a mountain bike in long pants or skirts, it can also make it awkward when trying to go fast because you’re constantly having to pull them up.
Short shorts and skirts with too much bulkiness are a sure way of getting hurt in the long run.
A lot of times I see girls wearing these, but they don’t realize that they cause themselves more harm than good by wearing them because they ride slower, take longer breaks from riding, and end up not being able to land tricks correctly due to their bulky bottoms making it harder for them to stand still on one foot easily.
5- Strapless Shirts/Dresses
Strapless V-neck shirts and dresses are a huge problem when riding down hills at fast speeds. The shirt or dress will easily lift up from the wind blowing against them, which causes you to have to pull it back down every other second.
This is very distracting in the long run while riding because you’re constantly having to stop what you’re doing (such as going fast on your bike) and making sure that your shirt/dress isn’t flying up in the air all of the time.
If your shirt isn’t short enough where it won’t fly around then consider wearing an undershirt so nothing can go “up in the air” except for your arms holding onto handlebars, not your chest.
6- Jewelry/Expensive Watches
Jewelry are things that you obviously do not want to wear while mountain biking, but specially when you’re riding downhill.
The best thing to have on while riding downhills is a sports watch with an anti-glare screen (which most smartwatches provide).
Also, having jewelry can be very dangerous if they fly off your body because those small objects will go flying towards people’s faces or bodies and cause them harm. This isn’t something you want happening to yourself or to others
Your expensive jewelry is also more likely to get lost if you’re mountain biking.
If you plan on wearing a watch with an anti-glare screen then make sure the strap is tight enough so it will not easily fall off of your wrist during riding.