1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
mtn. biking 101
2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #51
    Mission possible...
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    Awesome thread guys...all great ideas. What's the best for dehydration? Something with electrolites obviously, but what's good?

  2. #52
    D'oh
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    Hey, in response to previous post, Camelbak do something called Elixir which are water soluble tablets containing essential electrolytes etc. Only available in the USA at the moment but in the UK I use Nuun Hydration Tablets which do the same thing and are very effective. Would also recommend some kind of Carb/Protein drink depending on how long you intend being out on the trail. The following link provides sone basic advice:

    http://www.susport.org.uk/assets/goo...ce%20sheet.pdf it's aimed at runners but the info is still relevant.

    My own pack contains multi-tool, spare tube, patches, tyre levers, pump and a couple of CO2 cartridges, small set of lights and batteries, a whistle, small folding pocket knife, small first-aid kit, mobile phone and a light waterproof jacket. For longer trips I use a Camelbak with more capacity and throw in additional clothing layers in case the weather changes, evergy bars/gels and a map of where I'm going. Being in the UK I don't feel the need to carry a snake bite kit of something to fight off bears with.

    I appreciate what previous posts have said about not needing much stuff if your bike is well sorted (which both mine are) but there is always room for the basics in case you meet someone who is well well prepared. I still see people on the trails I ride most often on a bike they picked up from a department store for the change in their pocket and think they can throw on a track suit and an old pair of trainers and go mountain biking.

    Also, one of the most important things you can take with you is knowledge of the area you are going to. If it's not somewhere you are familiar with, do a bit of research, look at the map of the area before you go and find out where there are facilities to get to should the need arise.

    Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back, especially if you are going on your own.

  3. #53
    Mission possible...
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    [SIZE="2"][/SIZE]

    Hey thanks so much for that information. I'm definitely going to look into the tablets.


  4. #54
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    Great post guys. Thanks for opening my eyes to a couple of things I hadn't thought of. I have been only riding for a month now and I purposely ride in the city with a backpack with my heavy U-lock in it and other stuff. This basically has helped increase the time in building strength in my legs and prepare me for longer wilderness rides.

    Now I didn't see any mention of personal protection. I definitely take a can of pepper spray on my rides just in case.

    Oh, and I didn't see mention of eyewear. I like to wear sunglasses or normal clear lenses during a ride. Between the bugs that fly in your face, the mud that whips off your tires, and the branches that can run across your face, I like to have eye protection.
    Last edited by bmwuk; 02-12-2008 at 08:00 AM.

  5. #55
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    On the frame - a water bottle and a pump.
    In the seat bag: 2 spare tubes, levers, tube repair kit complete with a small bottle of acetone and a piece of cloth, multitool, a small Leatherman-like tool, locking pliers, a few chain links, separate chain tool, spare derailleur hanger, miscellaneous bolts and nuts, a Schraeder-Presta adjuster.
    In the waist bag - first aid kit, including plasters, bandage, glucose pills, a small bottle of alcohol. A head light. Spare batteries. A few cable fasteners. In the summer - 3 half of a litre bottles of frozen water. In the winter, depending on the weather expected, 2 bottles of water and a light coat or 1 bottle and a rain suit.
    On the belt of waist bag - cell phone in the holster of multitool.
    Edit: in both my other languages "plaster" stands for bandaid.......really carrying plaster on me would be a bit uncomfortable............LOL
    My mistake, sorry.......
    Last edited by xenon; 03-20-2008 at 12:08 AM.

  6. #56
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    Just wanted to add that it is helpful to carry a small pack of baby wipes. Good for cleaning but more important for when nature calls.

    The one time I forgot to pack these was the one time I REALLY needed them. I got back to the trail head without my t-shirt.

    My buddies were wondering where it was and that is when I explained that it had to be sacrificed for the greater good.

  7. #57
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    On the subject of space blankets and five inch blades, I recommend a book called "98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping your @$$ Alive!" by Cody Lundin.

    I used to buy lots of Clif bars, but I don't anymore. If I'm on a ride long enough to need more than just a couple of gels, I like to bring a baked potato. I coat them in olive oil and salt and bake them. Try it.

    I used to bring a multitool and a leatherman and a swiss army knife, but I eventually got sick of the convenience and miniaturization. Now I carry regular shop tools in a zippered transparent vinyl bank deposit envelope. Once you edit your kit down to what you need, it doesn't weigh much more than three multitools. Wrapping each tool in obnoxious day-glo tape is a good idea.

    I also have a small bottle of synthetic chain lube in my tool bag. Crossing a few creeks can clean your bike up pretty well, for better or worse. I like to shut my chain up as soon as it starts talking.

  8. #58
    SSolo
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    Space blanket is a very good idea. Two friends got lost dirt biking in the mountains and it started getting cold, windy and rain showers. They built a small fire but the wind and rain was enough to keep them awake. So they tried to use one of those 99 cent cheapo space blankets and it ripped in two pieces that were almost too small to be useful. They spent the night spooning by a tiny fire with a couple pieces of shredded space blanket.

    The next day they figured thier way out and bought a QUALITY space blanket for under $10. The cigarette lighter, whistle, compass, folding knife (w/tweezers is a life saver), parachute cord, snack bars, GPS, cell phone, hydration tablets, super glue in place of stitches, Leatherman, small light (love my Petzel LED headlamp with the red lense, batteries last up to 80 hours on low setting), etc are all great ideas too! Great thread!

    Link to the Petzel Tikka Plus...their site is slooow...got mine at REI along with the colored lense set:
    http://en.petzl.com/petzl/LampesProduits?Produit=463

  9. #59
    Outback Trail Commission
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    Lesson learned the hard way! While on an 8.6 mile ride in boonies, a ride with my 19 yr. old and 15 yr. old 1st timer nephews turned into a 6 hr. nightmare after 19 yr. old went thru water(2 miles into ride,16 oz. bottle) and was complaining of cramps.I gave him my 100 oz. camelbak to get thru ride but he kept stopping to walk, extremely muddy conditions along with unfamiliar trails ( OH! did I mention that I forgot the map in the truck.)led to a high level of anxiety on my part. Had to be extracted to trailhead by Park Rangers.What I learned from the experiance.
    1. Never make an assumption about the conditioning/fitness of someone you've never ridden with before.(Iassumed because he was 19 and I am 43 ,he would be in at least as good a shpe as I.)

    2. Bring more water than you need.(I never thought we'd blow thru 132 ozs. of water,)

    3.****** ALWAYS REMEMBER THE MAP!!!!!! (even if it's a fairly simple trail)

    4. Toilet paper or wipes.( didn't have to go when we left but after so much unexpected time in woods ,surplus of leaves to do the job only reinforces the rule to plan ahead!)

  10. #60
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    Eyewear

    I noticed eyewear was mentioned to keep out bugs and other stuff. i wouldnt use plain sunglasses though, you should find a set thats shatter proof, so if something happens you dont get pieces of plastic in youe eyeballs out in the boonies. i use a set of safety glasses with differant lens for differant light levels, ou can get them at hardware store for less than 20 bucks and they'll take a good bashing.
    '05 Mountain cycle fury
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  11. #61
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    Great thread! My addition: Spare seat bolt (the one that secures seat to post). I broke 2 before I learned my lesson. I've got a few other nuts and bolts as well. I add to the spare parts bag anytime I brake something small. But I refuse to carry spare big stuff.

    I carry a lightweight bike multi-tool, and a heavy leatherman type multi-tool. I hate carrying that leatherman, but it gets used, so I keep it. I also have a dog-bone shaped tool with 5 allen sizes and a flat screwdriver. I think that gets used the most, both on and off trail.

    Here's a good suggestion I don't think I saw yet: paper and writing instrument (a wooden pencil is the most versatile/repairable), to record names and numbers, addresses, etc. This saved me a lot of trouble after 2 different dog-bite incidents. I call this my dog bite kit.

    I carry a couple tire levers, but I try to never use them. It's good to be able to change a tire without tools, and this is a good way to stay proficient. I keep them in my pack in case I need them to help someone with less cooperative equipment.

    On short rides, I leave the water in the car. That saves a lot of weight! On longer rides, I drink a lot of water beforehand, and carry less.

    I wrap all my tools inside an old rag to eliminate rattling, secure it with a big rubber band, and keep it in my fanny pack. The rag is also good to have for other uses. It makes a good tools/parts tray during the repair, and helps with cleanup after.

  12. #62
    Tahoe Native
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    Great info here. The one thing that I wanted to add is.....Get to know your bike. If you are the one maintaining, fixing, or upgrading then you will know the bike from top to bottom. I know so many others who may be good riders, but don't know the ups and downs of wrenching. When you do break down on the trail, you will know exactly how to fix it.

    Just my .02

  13. #63
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    I thought it was crazy...

    when I first started riding a year ago and read these posts, I thought, "that is a ton of stuff to take". Now I have gotten my feet wet, and want to take longer and longer rides, as well as ride in new places farther away from the safety of "home" (i.e. close to my LBS) I realized I needed to get some of the stuff listed. Also what changed my mind; I never took my cellphone with me or ID card/License. It was late and I had no way of letting anyone know I was ok. So, I stocked up:

    -Camelback 3 liter with plenty of pockets
    -Crank brothers muti-tool
    -Spare tube
    -Master link
    -Tire lever
    -cell phone
    -Driver's license
    -Tire Guage

    Once I did this, I also found my riding improved. I didn't have to ride as "scared" as I did before to avoid flats and such. Worse case scenario I could fix it.

  14. #64
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    Tduro...good call on the extra nuts and bolts...I've been there as well. Did anyone mention a locking mechanism (chain, etc.)?

  15. #65
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    Guys that are allergic to stings... bring that EpiPen! It saved my grandfather's life more than once.
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  16. #66
    MOUNTAIN BIKE JUNKIE
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    One thing I doubt Manu people carry is a wistle one reason is of I fall off the trail and brake both my legs I can get someones attention if they are close and also where I ride there is a lot of bear and I can scare them off by blowing on it. And it is easily stowed hanging from sternum strap on my CB
    Life without danger is a waste of oxygen.

  17. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by JDougherty07
    One thing I doubt Manu people carry is a wistle one reason is of I fall off the trail and brake both my legs I can get someones attention if they are close and also where I ride there is a lot of bear and I can scare them off by blowing on it. And it is easily stowed hanging from sternum strap on my CB
    Yea this is a must if you ask me. I carry a whistle on every ride, hooked to my camel back's shoulder strap. I also use a "safeTband" this is a red band with a first-aid cross on it. Inside it contains my blood type, info about what I'm allergic to... in my case Bees and people to contact if I'm injured.
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  18. #68
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    I'm a relative newbie to cycling far from civilization, maybe not in years, but in actual experience.
    But I'm an Eagle Scout and learned to be prepared.
    I've spent a lot of time in the outdoors, hiking, camping, backpacking, hunting, fishing, canoeing, etc. I've had ample opportunities to say "I should have brought a . . . " (The Boy Scouts don't just tell you to "be prepared," they give you plenty of chances to learn the hard way )

    Looking over your lists, there are a lot of good ideas that I need to add to my gear. Some of it I never would have thought of until I needed it, some that I should have thought of long ago because it's basic stuff I'd carry on a day hike, so it should go on a bike trip too.

    I usually ride solo. That's not necessarily by choice, just no one around here to ride with except a doctor who rides long-distance road trips and would smoke me in about ten minutes. I wouldn't even ask to go with him until I'm in much better shape and/or have a faster bike for highway riding. (Then again, having a doctor along could be handy when things go wrong. )


    Helmet, Oakley sunglasses, and at least half a liter of water are things I ALWAYS take.
    I usually, but not always, have riding gloves too.


    My junk bag goes everywhere the bike goes. It has a shoulder strap so that I can pull it off and carry it in with me if I have to leave the bike locked up outside somewhere.


    The cable lock is absolutely wasted weight on most trips out in the boonies. But it comes in handy when leaving the bike outside the store/mall/gym and expecting to find it when you come back. Might be left at home when not needed. (But might be needed when left at home.)


    Ancient air pump still works great and weighs practically nothing. Has built in pressure gauge. Doesn't work on the newfangled valvestems my current bike has without an adapter that could be easily lost. I've been meaning to get a new one that I won't need the adapter for.



    Little tool kit. I have fixed a few flats on the trail. If there's a thorn in the area, I'll find it.
    I usually carry a spare tube too. But I seem to have used mine and not replaced it. (Put that on my "to get" list.)


    More toilet paper than anyone could reasonably expect to need. But some people say I'm full of sh!t.

    I also usually carry a Swiss Army Knife and/or Leatherman Tool and/or a good size lockblade knife.

    Drivers License, if not the whole wallet also goes in there along with a key to my truck.
    Lately, as much as I hate to be on a leash, I've been packing a cell phone too. (It can be turned off until needed.)

    The back pouch is supposedly a water bottle holder. But in my experience, water bottles don't stay in there very long on anything but paved roads. I can also carry another bottle inside the bag. I usually chug a half liter before setting out and carry one or two water bottles on the bike, and maybe another in the bag depending on how long I intend to be out.

    There's room left over for a light jacket or a trail lunch, possibly both.

    After reading this thread I need to add:
    Basic first aid gear.
    Lighter and/or matches.
    Duct tape. (Seems like I had duct tape in there once-upon-a-time.)
    Bandanas. (Useful for many things including bandages or emergency toilet paper.)
    Baby wipes. (How many times have I had to mess with the chain and then had no way to get the grease off my hands?)
    Space blanket is a good idea. (For longer rides anyway. And doesn't weigh enough to justify leaving it home on short rides.)
    Pencil and paper.

  19. #69
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    For those of us who wear contact lenses...

    A spare contact case with extra lenses waiting in solution...or at the very least, a small bottle of eye drops or something comparable. I've had two incidents of contacts falling out while biking, both in the past month! Not fun, especially for people with horrendous vision like me. On my last major trip, a buddy loaned me her water bottle cap for cleaning the offending lens. I owe her one, that saved my trip.

  20. #70
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    here is wut i would do

    pack water and gloves and go

    u dont need a helmet

  21. #71
    responsible zombie owner
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    >u dont need a helmet

    Make sure you pack your Donor Card instead so others can benefit from your choice.

  22. #72
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    I have yet to ride (venturing out today) but I don't think anyone mentioned garbage bags. Either use them as a poncho, or make a tent by cutting holes in the corners and using rope.

    Or even buy a good colored poncho just incase.

  23. #73
    OnTheTrailAgain
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    The Ten Essentials

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Essentials

    The Ten Essentials is a list of essential items hiking authorities promote as recommended for safe travel in the backcountry.

    The Ten Essentials were first described in the 1930s by The Mountaineers, a hiking and mountain climbing club. Many regional organizations and authors recommend that hikers, backpackers, and climbers rigorously ensure they have the ten essentials with them.[1] However, many expert hikers do not always carry all the items.

    According to the Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills, the ten essentials are:
    Map
    Compass (optionally supplemented with a GPS receiver)
    Sunglasses and sunscreen
    Extra food and water
    Extra clothes
    Headlamp/flashlight
    First aid kit
    Fire starter
    Matches
    Knife

    The textbook recommends supplementing the ten essentials with:
    Water treatment device (water filter or chemicals) and water bottles
    Ice axe for glacier or snowfield travel (if necessary)
    Repair kit, including duct tape and a basic sewing materials.
    Insect repellent (or clothing designed for this purpose)
    Signaling devices, such as a whistle, cell phone, two-way radio, unbreakable signal mirror or flare.
    Plastic tarp and rope for expedient field shelter.

    Not every expedition will require the use of an essential item. Carrying these basic items improves the chances that one is prepared for an unexpected emergency in the outdoors. For instance, if a hiker experiences a sudden snow storm, fresh clothes and fire starter may be used to keep warm, or the map and compass and headlamp will allow them to exit the wilderness quickly; otherwise hypothermia becomes a prominent possibility, perhaps even death.


    Details
    A map and compass prevents one from getting lost in the field. Losing one's bearing in unfamiliar terrain raises the risk of anxiety and panic, and hence, physical injury. Maps that cover the relevant area in sufficient detail and dimension (topography, trails, roads, campsites, towns, etc.) and the skill and knowledge to use them are indispensable when traveling through the outdoors, especially when the place of travel lacks signage, markings or guides. Even a basic compass can help an individual find his way to safety.

    Flashlights and headlamps protect against physical injury when traveling in the dark. A flashlight is also useful for finding things in the pack, observing wildlife in dark crevices and folds, and for distant signaling. Extra batteries and bulbs are highly recommended. Lamps using LEDs have become very popular, due to their robustness and low power consumption.

    Extra food and water can prevent or cure hypothermia and dehydration, common illness that can be serious risks in the backcountry where immediate medical response is not possible. These items also minimize the likelihood of panic. It is not recommended that one eat food when there is no water, as the body requires water to metabolize food.

    Extra clothes protect against hypothermia. Multiple layers of clothes are generally warmer than a single thick garment. By having the ability to simply take off a layer of clothes, one can avoid overheating, which can cause sweat and dampen clothing. Moreover, a change into dry clothes is the fastest way to become warm. Extra clothing is also useful for protection from the elements, including thorns, insects, sun, wind, and often cold. If necessary, they can be cut into bandages, used as a tree climbing aid, made into hotpads, pillows, towels, or makeshift ropes. For overnight trekking, one should keep one set of clothes dry for wear in the evening. One can wear the "day" clothes during the next day's hike when they are drier.

    Sunglasses help prevent snowblindness. Sunlight, especially when reflected in snow, can seriously limit visibility, and jeopardize one's ability to travel safely.

    A first aid kit usually contains items to treat cuts, abrasions (blisters), punctures and burns. Additional items might address broken fingers, limbs, cardiac conditions, hypothermia, frostbite, hyperthermia, hypoxia, insect and snake bites, allergic reactions, burns and other wounds. If applicable, include any personal medications.

    A knife is useful for opening packages, building shelter, shaving wood for tinder, eating, field surgery (after sterilization), cutting rope and clothing, etc. A larger knife (machete) might be essential when one needs or desires to go off trail into thicker growth. A heavier ax or knife is more effective when one has larger needs for construction or for collecting firewood.

    Matches (or a lighter) and fire starter (typically chemical heat tabs, canned heat, or magnesium stick) to light a campfire is useful for preventing hypothermia and to signal for aid. In an emergency, a fire increases one's psychological will to survive.

    A water treatment device (filter or chemical treatment) makes water potable. All water, including that from streams, lakes, or pools, needs to be treated for bacteria and viruses in order to ensure safety. Most backcountry travelers carry a water filter: low end models are inexpensive and provide protection against many pathogens, but not viruses. Some more expensive filters and improved chemical treatments get rid of most health risks, including giardia and other protozoa and viruses. Treating the water reduces the likelihood of gastrointestinal diseases. Since some chemical treatments such as iodine or chlorine may leave a bad taste, many suggest mixing in a flavor to hide the taste. These include powdered lemonade or fruit drinks, Tang, Gatorade, or Crystal Light.

    A whistle is a compact, lightweight, and inexpensive way to signal for help. Although a person cannot shout for a long period, he can whistle for extended amounts of time. Moreover, the sharp sound of a whistle travels over longer distances than the human voice, and provides a much more distinct sound. Although environmental factors such as wind, snow, and heavy rain may drown out a voice, the sound of a whistle is clearly distinguishable in the field.

    Other "ten essentials"
    Other outdoor organizations have variations of the Ten Essentials pertinent to local conditions. For example, Utah's Wasatch Mountain Club lists extra water in place of food, as Utah is mostly desert terrain, and water is more difficult to find.[citation needed]

    The Spokane Mountaineers list "thirteen essentials," which supplement the list with emergency shelter such as a space blanket, signaling device, and toilet paper and trowel (for sanitary disposal of human waste. The toilet paper also doubles as tinder for starting a fire).

    The "Ten Essential Groups"- an alternative approach to essential gear selection. Items from each group should be chosen depending on the season, geographic location, and trip duration.

  24. #74
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    My pack normally contains the following:

    1. Windstopper/waterproof
    2. First aid kit
    3. Multi tool (Topeak 18+)
    4. Oil
    5. Gear and brake cable
    6. Rear mech hanger
    7. Spare chain links
    8. Zip ties
    9. Map and compass
    10. Spare contact lenses
    11. My Epipen injections!
    12. Money
    13. Mobile phone
    14. Lights and batteries
    15. Spare tubes (2) and tyre levers (3)
    16. Mini pump (a decent one)

    With the exception of the phone I leave the items in the camelbak so that there's no need to keep looking for stuff in the last minute before leaving.

    I also add some SiS in the water for those summer rides in the heat. In terms of food I normally have a sandwich, banana and a couple of energy bars.
    Last edited by captured; 08-07-2008 at 03:13 PM.

  25. #75
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    This is what I bring with most of the time.

    100oz of water in hydration pack (or less depending on amount of time planned to ride+temp)
    gloves
    glasses (clear or tinted lenses)
    spare tube
    mini-pump
    pressure gauge
    small 3"-4" folding knife
    tire levers (2)
    multi-tool
    patch kit
    map of trails
    peanuts
    and depending on forecast- a light windbreaker (water proof)
    and for extra hot days- a water bottle on the bike.

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