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Are you all excited about the newly acquainted sport and are here looking for how to plan a mountain bike adventure?
Well, you’ve come to the right place.
Here I plan to give a 9 step comprehensive idea about making your first mountain biking trip worthwhile.
How To Plan A Mountain Bike Adventure In 9 Steps
Step 1: Planning
According to the great author Dale Carnegie, an hour of planning can save you 10 hours of doing.
It is essential to plan everything, from the least to the most significant things.
When it comes to mountain biking you need to start from, whether you are going to ride alone or in a group to the trails you intend to ride on, the gears you need to buy, and the accessories you will be carrying for a comfortable ride.
The duration of your trip should also be planned in advance to avoid any confusion later.
Interestingly, most riders plan 18 months or a year in advance for mid-length and long journeys. Planning will give you a good idea about the costs, equipment, and locations.
Step 2: Sort The Finances
At this stage, you should also decide whether you want to travel cheap or be generous with your spending for the ride.
A huge advantage of planning the number of riders in advance is that it allows you to make an estimation of the cost that each person will have to bear after dividing it among the number of riders involved.
For example, long trips will incur lots of expenses such as food and accommodation, which can be shared among the group members.
Step 3: Get Expert Training
If you are trying to figure out how to plan a mountain bike adventure, getting expert training should not be overlooked at any cost.
Before you hit the trails, you must be a confident rider who can seamlessly tackle technical trails.
With the help of an experienced guide, expert techniques that would not only help you seamlessly tackle the challenges on the trails but also give you the adrenaline rush you are there for.
Building your confidence as an adventure rider is extremely important to have fun on the trails. With expert MTB training, you will be able to get rid of your anxieties and intimidations.
Getting help from experts and mentors will also help you decide the type of mountain bike to be used for your adventure.
The feeling of being accepted as a competent adventure mountain bike rider would be as good as the satisfaction that performing techniques would give you.
It is also essential to train on the bike that you will be using for the adventure ride.
A bike that you are acquainted with would make a great companion when you are on the trails.
Step 4: Get Right Fitness
When you think of how to plan a mountain bike adventure, getting fit should be on the top of your list.
Start physical training for mountain biking well in advance and be your best before you set on your mountain bike adventure.
Along with physical exercise, develop a healthy eating habit that would give your immune system a boost.
Riding day and night in different weather conditions could make you more prone to get sick, and your body will thank you for keeping it healthy and less vulnerable.
Along with a physical trainer, you may also want to consider hiring a dietician or a nutritionist who can understand your body’s specific needs.
If you suffer from any conditions, speak to your health practitioner beforehand and take the necessary precautions and remedies that will help you have a relaxing time on the trails.
Step 5: Gain A Deep Understanding of Terrains
From family-friendly trails to expert-level adventurous trails, the landscape of every trail differs from each other.
Having a thorough understanding of the differences between these trails can help you plan your adventure trip better.
Here I’ll give you a basic idea about the four most common types of terrains:
These trails are family-friendly trails characterized by their wide double tracks, which are often graveled for a more effortless riding experience.
Typically, families and kids choose these types of trails for leisure riding.
These are typically single tracks that consist of small challenges like roots and tiny steps. These kinds of terrains may be slightly more challenging than the graveled double tracks.
Moderate trails can be easily tackled with basic technical skills, fair fitness, and some experience. Riders of all ages can be seen riding on these types of trails.
Sometimes these trails may consist of berms, which are the optional banked corners.
These trails can be pretty challenging for those who have always been on beginner or intermediate trails.
The landscape of advanced trails consists of big berms, significant roots and rocks, small drop-offs, jumps, and challenging descents.
The trails are typically rollable, but one can also choose to spend a considerable amount of time in the air.
Mountain bikers who can perform drop-offs and are adept at handling braking and adjusting body positions on somewhat challenging descents may be able to tackle these trails well.
In the most challenging types of terrains, you will be left with no option but to tackle all the jumps and drop-offs.
With long steep climbs, testing downhills, consisting of roots and rocks, and similar other technical sections, expert trails would require you to use up all your strength, skills, and mastery over techniques.
Needless to say, these types of terrains are adventure riders’ favorite.
Most riders prefer complete suspension mountain bikes, with long travels, a full-face helmet, strong tires, and knee and elbow pads to ride on such terrains.
Related: Tips For Climbing A Mountain Bike
Step 6: Think Local
When you ponder over how to plan a mountain bike adventure, you must be able to find out the local as well as informal trails that you may not be able to find on a map.
The lots of trails you see online may be mostly the formal ones, which are generally known to all proficient riders.
On the other hand, local trails are typically known to local riders and usually are not made public due to the exclusivity that the riders like to enjoy on those trails.
Apart from the local trails, there are other informal trails that can take your adventure trip a notch higher.
However, you must check out ways to access these trails and practice jumps and drop-offs to familiarize yourself with the demands of the trails.
Step 7: Decide On The Logistics.
Once you have shortlisted the trails and regions you want to ride, you should have a plan laid out for getting to the starting point with your bike and other gears.
Depending on the distance, you may have to book a flight or use your recreational vehicle, or if the destination is closer, you could even ride it up.
But you must know beforehand as to how you would be commuting to the location.
This becomes more important if you have to fly to reach the destination, as last-minute flight booking may incur more expenses, and in the worst-case scenario, you may even run out of tickets.
Step 8: Practice In The Shoes And Pedals.
If you have been into mountain biking for quite some time, you might already be familiar with the differences between flat pedals and clipless pedals.
Newbies out here, please check out my article on clipless vs. flat pedal efficiency for a detailed understanding of both worlds.
Whether you choose to ride clipless pedals or flat pedals, you must make sure that you have a pair of shoes that goes very well with the pedals.
It is extremely important to wear the shoes that you intend to wear to the adventure trip and ride your flat/clipless pedals much ahead of them.
In fact, you must practice good rounds on varied types of terrains to get acquainted with your foot gears.
Step 9: Keep Your Gears Ready.
There are some essential gears that you must keep ready way ahead of the commencement of your mountain bike adventure.
These include your mountain bike, helmet, sunglasses, hydration pack, bike lube, bike gloves, power bank, and sunscreen.
Different types of helmets are available for mountain biking.
A full-face helmet with a chin guard, good ventilation, and a visor would be the most apt one for adventure riding.
A full-face helmet with a chin guard would give you better protection.
However, just make sure that the chin guard is designed to break easily in case of a significant crash.
When you choose a helmet, you must also see to it that it is impact resistant.
Sunglasses is part and parcel of mountain biking gear. It is vital to protect your eyes from the harmful rays of the sun.
Another reason to wear sunglasses is to be able to see clearly, by eliminating glares.
The right sunglasses will also help in improving the clarity of the vision.
For day and night rides, photochromic glasses would be the most ideal, as they change brightness depending on light situations in the environment.
If you have prescription glasses, make sure that you carry that too for your ride.
Consider investing in a hydration pack to keep you hydrated throughout. A hydration pack is s better alternative to water bottles due to several factors.
Hydration pack is eco-friendly and are capable to carry between one to three liters of water.
They are lightweight and can be used as a backpack too. Hydration pack enable mountain bike riders to drink water on the go.
Mountain Biking Shorts:
What you wear to the trails can have a significant impact on your performance. A good pair of bike shorts can offer you great comfort and boost your confidence.
Bike shorts are available in different types of materials, and functionalities, catering to diverse personal choices.
It is essential to reflect on what kind of MTB bike shorts would give you the utmost comfort. Female riders should also be aware that there are dedicated mountain biking shorts catering for female.
Mountain Biking Gloves:
Gloves have always been a rider’s best friend. Without the right kind of mountain biking gloves, you might end up having a bitter time on the trails.
Depending on your comfort level, you must choose between full-finger or fingerless gloves.
MTB gloves are available for cold weather and hot weather distinctively. You must select gloves that would be most compatible with the weather condition that you intend to ride in.
First Aid Kit:
While a first aid kit in your bike is an everyday necessity, there can’t be two ways about it when you plan a mountain bike adventure too.
However, some bikers overlook the importance of first aid kits and end up having a bad time on the trail after a crash.
Whether you make a kit on your own or buy a pre-made first aid kit, make sure you are carrying the best with you on your mountain bike adventure.
Make your kit as comprehensive as possible so that you can take sufficient care of yourself or the group members in case of an unprecedented event.
It would be a great idea to get first aid training beforehand.
Training will not only educate you about how to and when to use the first aid components but also make you mentally equipped to handle any untoward situation with ease.
It is important not to get demotivated on the trails, and believe me; first aid training can go a long way in instilling confidence.
Also, never rely totally on another person’s first aid kit as they may not always be close to you on the trail and hence may not be able to take care of you when a need arises.
While it’s a good idea for the group to have a comprehensive kit, it is recommended that every individual carry their own kit.
Mountain Bike Maintenance Tool Kit:
A bike maintenance took kit is super essential and will prove to be a lifesaver when your bike decides to slow down.
As you ride your trail, many times you shall experience your bike either slow down or completely tear apart.
It is an event that happens due to several reasons, and a tool kit can help you fix most of the problems without external help.
It is very important for you to get acquainted with all the tools and how to use them before you hit the trails for your MTB adventure.
When you are on a multi-day adventure tour on your mountain bike, you must lube your bike’s chain once in a while to have it run like new.
Lubing is the best way of expressing your love for your bike and without any doubt, your bike is going to return you all the love during your performance on the challenging trails.
Keeping your mobile phones fully charged would be a challenge since you are riding all day on the trails.
Hence, remember to carry a power bank with you so that your cell phone does not run out of battery.
You would not want to be in a situation where your phone runs out of battery when you badly want to check the map or make a call to a fellow rider (this has happened with me).
While riding in the sun is fun, my answer to how to plan a mountain bike adventure would not be complete without mentioning the importance of wearing sunscreen.
Even though I’m not a fan of using sunscreen for my grocery trips, I would highly recommend wearing them when you are riding for several hours in the sun.
Sunscreen can protect your skin from harmful rays of the sun and would help prevent sunburns and premature aging.
Always keep good quality sunscreen in your backpack to use when you are riding your mountain bike in the sun.
I hope this article has given you a good idea about how to plan a mountain bike adventure.
If you are planning to ride alone, it would be a good idea to check with other riders who have done it solo before you and get their suggestions specific to solo adventure bike rides.
If you are planning for a group ride, it’s time to find more like-minded people using social media or your real-life networks and start planning together.
Today, several apps for finding the best mountain bike routes are in existence, which can be a great aid in making your mountain bike trip more fun.
Speaking to experienced riders would be insightful, as they may be able to give you practical recommendations to make your journey easier and more comfortable.
P.S. If you found this guide helpful, do check out our easy to follow tips for the intermediate mountain bike riders.