THE GREAT OUTDOORS — The days are getting shorter, but it’s not time to put the mountain bike away just yet. Some of the best riding of the year in Utah is found in the autumn days ahead. The beautiful fall colors, cooler temperatures and often ideal-trail conditions mean that there are many miles of fun to still be had before winter.
As the sunlight fades and the weather cools, what should you consider carrying with you on your ride? The last thing you want to deal with is fast-fading light and a trailside repair without the tools you need to get you back to the trailhead.
The most popular ways to carry accessories and the necessary tools on your bike ride tend to be a seat bag, the increasingly popular frame bags, hydration packs or fanny packs (yes, they’re a thing again). You can determine what type of pack you want to use based on what's suitable for the length of ride you are undertaking. Shorter rides can mean getting away with taking less and the all-day epic requires better preparedness.
Here are some of the items you should carry for your after-work spins or weekend exploring that includes the all-day epic ride.
The basics for a short ride
The basics for a ride of around an hour (not including the proper clothing and food/water, which you should always have) should include:
- A flat repair items-spare tube and patch kit
- One to two tire levers
- A tubeless-tire plug
- Tire boot
- Mini pump (be sure you have the proper valve-presta or schraeder) or carbon dioxide inflator (but keep in mind that it doesn’t work well in extreme cold)
- A mini multi-tool like the Topeak Hexus X
- Zip ties
- A quick-chain link (in case your bike chain breaks)
- A small first-aid kit
If you are going on a weekend ride where you'll be exploring for a few hours or all day long, bikers should include the basics listed above, plus the following:
- A second inner tube
- A more comprehensive mini multi-tool (the Topeak Alien II is a favorite)
- Shock pump
- A mini pump to back up a carbon dioxide inflator
- Extra tubeless valve
- A small headlamp
- An extra derailleur cable cut to the correct length (here's a tutorial on how to replace it)
- A spare derailleur hanger
- An M4 and M5 bolt
- Emergency energy food
Of course, none of this will help much without the knowledge of how to fix your bike. Spend some time in your local bike shop and ask them for help. Park Tool also has a fantastic series on bike maintenance on YouTube.
This list might sound intimidating, but it’s not as cumbersome as one might think and can easily be managed.
So hit the trails this fall, prepared to ride and make some new cycling memories to carry you through winter.
Kory Pitcher is a lifelong Utah resident and graduate of Utah State University. Preferred habitat is the desert rocks and sand of Southern Utah. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org