Ride and Seek

Essentials of mountain biking in Cebu

By Chyrel Pableo Gomez
Photos: Bal Marsius Valdehueza

group-bike

MOUNTAIN biking, in its purest form, is all about the feeling of freedom the adventurous biker gets. It allows him to commune with nature while having fun and getting fit in the process.

Biking on a concrete road is fun, but nothing beats the rush of riding the awesome trails. And while mountain biking for some is synonymous to being hard core, difficult and dangerous, it’s also a great experience of self discovery and of exploring one’s limits. You start riding your bike and suddenly you find out you’re capable of doing things you’ve never thought before.

There are so many ways to enjoy mountain biking. Like cruising through single tracks or overcoming heart breaking climbs. You learn how to focus. You even learn to laugh at yourself. But most of all, you not only enjoy what you’re doing, you learn to love every moment of it.

Solo-biker

What Bike should I get?

Before you get too excited in planning your first mountain bike ride, it’s important to find yourself the right bike. The city has a lot to offer when it comes to bike shops, some of which are owned by cycling enthusiasts who can happily answer your questions.

You can choose to buy a whole bike or invest in building and customizing. The type of bike you’ll get will heavily depend on where you’ll be riding: on pavement, trails or both.

There are three main types of mountain bikes: rigid, hardtail, and the full suspension bike. Rigid bikes have no suspension and are ideal for uphill climbs. As the name suggests, a hardtail bike has a hard back end and front suspension fork, perfect for cross country riding. Full-suspension bikes have suspension at both the front and rear, which helps you tackle a more aggressive terrain.

No matter what type of bike you choose, it’s important you get the right bike fit for comfort and proper handling. That’s also to avoid any unnecessary injuries as you progress with your riding.

What bike accessories do I need?

Water Bottle / Hydration Pack

Keep yourself hydrated and bring with you a water bottle or a hydration pack for longer rides.

Sunglasses

Protect your eyes from bright sunrays, dust pollens and other foreign objects by wearing sunglasses. Many riders would choose to buy glasses with interchangeable lenses for overcast or poor lighting conditions.

Pump and Repair Kit

The last thing you would want is to walk your bike home. Everybody experiences having a flat tire so it’s better to bring a pump attached to your bike or a repair kit in case your tires have a leak or goes flat. A repair kit usually has a tire lever, patch and spare inner tube.

What Should I wear?

Seeing cyclists on the road is a common sight and normally, they wear their cycling uniforms. For novices, you can wear ordinary clothes for your bike ride. However, if you are considering getting serious with mountain biking, there are bike-specific outfits that you can try:

Helmet

Always wear a right fitting helmet and never go out on a ride without one. This goes out to everyone: seasoned rider or not.

These are outfits that most cyclists would wear and it’s still up to you to decide. It’s always better to dress over comfort than form and dressing for the destination rather than the ride.

Gloves

Try them on and make sure they are the right fit. These are worn to protect your sweaty palms and for better grip on the handle bar.

Bike Shoes

Your bike shoes will depend on the type of pedal you have for your bike. If you have a flat pedal, rubber shoes or anything comfortable will do. If you go clipless, a shoe-pedal combination allows you to clip your bike shoes to your pedal. This makes riding even more efficient because there’s a steady flow in pulling the pedals up and pushing the pedals down.

V12 shorts

If lycra and tight fitting bottom is not your kind of thing, you can choose to wear these baggy type of shorts. They’re less revealing and normally have multiple pockets that should serve its purpose.

Three quarter leggings/Tights

This is perfect for the ladies who want to avoid cycling tan lines with their legs. Most are made of special material that helps reduce soreness from long rides and even absorbs the heat of the sun.

Sports Bra

For women cyclists, extra support is needed for the bumps on the road.

Cycling Jersey

Compared to the normal tee shirt, wearing cycling jerseys reduce air resistance when on the road. They don’t flap and whisk away the sweat from your body. It has a back pocket for easy on-the-go access, front zipper for maximum ventilation when your temperature goes high from a long ride. The bright seams also serve as a reflector for night rides.

Cycling shorts

Bikers are often called men in tights, but this is something you have to get accustomed to. It may be a bit strange or funny to some, but cycling shorts are made for flexibility and movement. It has strategically placed paddings for better riding performance.

Socks

It’s as important as gloves. It protects your feet from blisters.

These are outfits that most cyclists would wear and it’s still up to you to decide. It’s always better to dress over comfort than form and dressing for the destination rather than the ride.

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