“Any sport that involves high levels of inherent danger is an extreme sport. An extreme sport may involve height, speed, or tremendous physical effort.
One such sport is mountain biking. It is a sport that involves riding the bicycles off the road, on rough and uneven terrain more often than not. The bikes used in this sport are specially designed to withstand the toughness that a mountainous region offers you. They have specialized features that resemble other bikes, but the purpose of incorporating them in the bikes is to enhance durability and performance in a rough terrain.
Mountain biking involves highly specialized gear, professional experience in riding bicycles and a high level of physical exertion. Depending upon the type of terrain chosen, mountain biking can be classified into various categories that include the following
- Cross country– Cross country cycling is the most common type of mountain biking. It is also an Olympic sport and doesn’t involve extreme levels of dangers. The bikes used in Cross Country Mountain biking are very light, and the trail of cross country is a blend of rough forest pathways and single track.
- Trail Riding– Trail Riding involves riding the bicycle on forest roads that do not have any motorized traffic, bridle paths, and trails. Trail riding can extend up to any number of days and up to any distance. Trail riding can also be coupled with other activities that include camping, fishing backpacking, etc.
- Downhill– Downhill cycling is a type of mountain biking done on steep slopes and rough terrains. It is particularly dangerous because it involves jumping, dropping and obstacles that include rock gardens. Bikes used for downhill cycling are heavy and strong as compared to other mountain bikes.
- Freeride– Freeride, as the name suggests, is a genre of mountain biking that involves riding on natural terrain without any defined route, goals or rules.
- Dirt jumping– Dirt jumping is a specialized genre of mountain biking that involves riding the bicycle over cement type jumps of soil or dirt and becoming airborne. There are specialized dirt jumping bikes for the purpose of dirt jumping.
The types of mountain biking mentioned above, all require high levels of professional training, endurance, balance, physical as well as mental strength, ability to handle the bikes in rough terrains, and self-reliance. If you have all the mentioned attributes, then the most important factor underlying this extreme sport that you definitely must have is preparation.
Mountain biking is an extreme sport, and it requires you to prepare for any and every situation. If you are an extreme sports enthusiast, then you must consider the various circumstances that might befall you while you are out on your adventure. Riding bicycles through rough and secluded routes of nature requires strength. Many times people go on trips that involve mountain biking that last for several days altogether. There are many nature enthusiasts who want to explore the depths of nature and get a first-hand experience of how dangerous it can be.
To pursue your ambition of undertaking this extreme sport, you must consider the risks that it entails.
One of the most eminent factors that come into play while considering mountain biking is personal responsibility. It is important to consider the risks that mountain biking involves. There is a high possibility that you might lose track of where you are heading, you might get lost, or you might fall short of food or clothing during your biking trip. At times, the trail is not clear, or the signs are not properly put up. There can be faults on the map you are following, or maybe the search and rescue team that you have been waiting for might not arrive in due time. In all such cases, it is important that you prepare yourself thoroughly with all that you think you might need instead of depending on anyone else. You might file a lawsuit against whoever you think is responsible in case there is an accident, but you have to remember that winning that lawsuit won’t undo the accident and the loss you suffered.
For something that has extreme in its name, your preparation must also match that level. Here are a few accessories that you must have before you set out on a biking trip
- Gloves– The gloves used in mountain biking are different from those used on roads. They are thoroughly padded, especially on the knuckles and have covered thumbs and fingers for the overall protection of the hand.
- Shoes– Biking shoes have gripping soles. These soles make it easier for scrambling over surfaces that are rough and uneven. Shoes used in mountain biking are similar to hiking boots.
- Glasses– Glasses are important while mountain biking to protect the eyes from the falling debris while riding the trail. They have specially filtered lenses and are yellow in color or shades to protect the eyes from cloudy and sunny weather respectively.
- Clothing– Before setting out on a mountain biking trip it is necessary to choose clothing that promotes comfort to withstand the physical exertion. You must avoid wearing clothes that have a delicate fabric.
- GPS Navigation– It is important to recognize the possibility of a flaw in the maps you follow while mountain biking. Therefore, you must carry a GPS navigation device with which you can always be sure of being on track. Try to use a GPS device that has a colored screen and is rugged and waterproof.
- Bike tools– Carry bike pump and extra bike tubes because you never know when and where you might need them. You must be efficient enough to be able to handle any mechanical defects that might occur in your bike.
- High-power lights– If you are out on a mountain biking trip that is supposed to last for a few days then you must have high power lights to guide you in the dark. You will also need some camping gear to set up a camp when you need to rest.
- Hydration System– There is a high level of physical exertion involved in mountain biking accompanied by the possibility of losing the right track. Therefore it is extremely necessary to maintain an adequate hydration system in terms of consuming lots of water and fluids while you are mountain biking.
- Helmets– Helmets are extremely necessary as they provide the much-needed head protection. There are different types of helmets that you can buy that include rounded skateboarder style and full face. Prefer lightweight helmets so that they don’t add extra weight that can lead to exertion.
- Body armor and pads– These accessories are important as they provide the necessary protection to the limbs and trunk in case there is a crash. You can go for simple shells covers for your elbows and knees accompanied by chest plates, abdomen protectors, and spine plates. Considering the intensity and extremity of risks involved in the sport, you must make sure you have protected your body in every way possible.
- First Aid– First aid kits are extremely necessary because riding bikes in mountains, extreme sport by definition, brings injuries, big and small as an integral part of it. There is a high possibility that help might not arrive just when you need it possibly because it takes some time to locate you in the mountainous regions. Also, you need not call paramedics for every small scratch and cut. So prepare a first aid kit with enough itineraries to help you treat cuts, bruises, abrasions and splint broken limbs.
- Food– If you are planning to go on a long biking trip then it is extremely necessary to pack the right amount of food. Mountain biking is heavy on the body in terms of the physical input it requires from a person. Riding off the road, through rough terrains and rocks, uphill and downhill is not everyone’s cup of it. This extreme sport is only for the ones who dare to dare.
So if you are planning a long trip then apart from being ready with all the preparations above you need to make sure that your energy level remains up at all times. The best way to do that apart from proper hydration is packing the right amounts of food.
Deciding what kind of food to pack and how much food to pack is very crucial. You cannot pack canned food for two simple reasons:
- They will not last for long
- Packing canned food will add extra weight
With the added weight of the cans, there is only so much distance you can cover. Apart from packing all the other necessities you cannot in any way even think about adding any unnecessary weight. Also, you cannot be sure about the nutritional value of canned foods.
While mountain biking, you need to consume food that provides your body with the right amount of nutrients that help energize you instead of making you lethargic.
It is in conditions like above that MREs also known as “”Meals Ready to Eat”” come into play.
MREs are as self-contained, individual field ration. They are incredibly light weight and are very high in nutritional value. You can easily consume them, and they do not require any warming or heating on fire or stove. These qualities make MRE the perfect option of food when setting out on mountain biking.
A single packet of MRE contains the ration of the entire day. It consists of three meals including light snacks. It also has utensils to eat the food in including a fork or a spoon. Each meal contained in an MRE consists of high levels of calories. It has 1,250 calories on an average and is packed with a high content of vitamins, minerals and energy that help you cope with the tough surroundings.
The high levels of nutritional content, their light weight and the ease with which you can consume them are the prime reasons why they become the perfect food partner when setting out on a long mountain biking trip.
There are various kinds of MREs available to suit your needs and requirements. If you like to have a warm meal after a tiring biking session, then there are self-heating MRE packets available for that. As soon as you open these self-heating packets the internal water activated heating system is activated. So there is no need to set up a fire.
The sport of mountain biking requires strict maintenance of the hydration of the body. Carrying water bottles is not a feasible option as they add a lot of weight and cannot last for a trip that lasts a week. For that, there are MREs that come with hydration fluids and water.
The best part about MRE is that they last for a long time, so you never have to worry about deteriorating nutritional value. The technology involved in making and packing MRE make sure that they remain nutrient rich for a long time.
While mountain biking, there is also a possibility that you might get lost, and your trip may last longer than you had decided. In worst come worst situations, there is a possibility that help might not arrive on time, and it may take days for the rescue team to track you down. MREs will play an extremely crucial role in making sure you survive until then.
When you are undertaking a sport that puts your life in danger, you cannot afford to be unprepared at any point and for any circumstance. MREs play an important role in ensuring preparedness, and so you must make sure that if you are undertaking an extreme sport, you have packed MREs with you.”