Whether you’ve been mountain biking a few times or starting your very first hike, you’re definitely not alone. Since the cycling craze in 2020, more and more women are entering the world of mountain biking and trying out this fast-paced outdoor sport.
“Now everyone wants to try [mountain biking] and I think it’s super awesome, âsays Ashley Duffus-Jambor, longtime mountain biker and founder of Cosmic Dirt. âOver the past year, the general outdoor population has changed dramatically. “
However, like many outdoor sports, the entry price can be steep when you count the bike, helmet, tools, and other essentials. It can also be difficult to decipher what is absolutely necessary for a ride and what you might be able to do without as you get to know the sport.
To get you started, we spoke with several female mountain bikers who have spent countless hours on the trails. We had their advice on where to start when it comes to the trail and your ATV gear.
On the track:
Due to the recent increase in women’s mountain biking, all of our sources mentioned trying a women’s riding group, a lesson, or finding good people to ride with. More and more women’s riding groups are popping up everywhere, so if you don’t see one near you, ask your local bike shop if they know of any in your area.
While everyone has their own preferences, these groups of riders can help you meet a community, share knowledge, and inspire you for what you can do as a rider.
âRunning with fun and supportive people is the key! Says Brooklyn Bell, pro rider, artist and advocate. âRiding with the right people helps keep things safe and gives new riders a space to learn and progress. “
On the equipment side, co-owner of You Bet! Bike sales and service and five-year mountain biker Carrie Levine says, âRun what you brought. In other words, you don’t need the latest track bike or a lot of fancy new gear to ride.
âAs you get into the sport, you can use what you have, figure out what works and what doesn’t, and get what you need as you go,â says Levine.
That being said, there are a few pieces of equipment that are essential and some that will greatly improve your driving experience. The most important? A helmet and a bicycle. If you are looking to invest a little more in your ride, we suggest that you start with: knee pads, a chamois (butt padding or “shammy”), a saddle, shoes, pedals, sunglasses and a backpack.
All of our sources have pointed out that a new, well-fitting helmet is the most important piece of equipment you will use.
âYou can wear whatever you want, but you shouldn’t be riding a bike without a helmet,â says Duffus-Jambor. âI just saw too many serious injuries. “
If you want to splurge on anything when it comes to your mountain biking gear, your helmet is the part for you. Many riders recommend investing in an ATV specific helmet with MIPS (Multi-Directional Impact Protection System) as these helmets add a bit more protection to your head.