Wearing the right clothes when biking is essential. Proper garments and gears will improve your performance, comfort, and, most importantly, your protection. Choosing your mountain bike attire mostly depends on your personal preferences as well as external factors such as the weather and location. Here are some tips that hopefully will help you get on track and enjoy your ride in the mountains.
What to Wear While Mountain Biking in the Summer
Before you hit the trails on a hot summer day, you should pick the right gear to avoid an uncomfortable, sweaty ride. Remember, protection is key. So, choose light clothing items that prevent overheating and dehydration but also keep you safe. Here’s an overview of the clothing and gear that you will need when biking in the summer.
When it comes to shorts, you might be wondering whether you should wear fitted or baggy shorts for mountain biking. Let us tell you that both are fine as long as they’re not jeans or cotton. Whichever you decide to go with, look for a pair that ensures good ventilation and does not restrict movement.
Your shorts need to be made from a breathable material that allows enough airflow to prevent moisture build-up. Some riders prefer to use padded shorts—chamois and liner shorts—because they offer more comfort on the saddle when riding on rough terrain. Padded shorts also do a great job in reducing fractions and chafing.
Short-sleeved shirts are great for keeping you nice and cool on a blazing summer day. Pick a light, breathable, and moisture-wicking material to ensure airflow and pull the sweat away from the skin. Consider investing in a high-quality, durable material to protect your skin in case of an accident.
Many people shy away from long-sleeves during the summer. While it is true that short-sleeved shirts will keep you cooler, long-sleeved jerseys will offer you more protection. It is easier to get sunburn when your body is exposed. Jerseys keep your body covered so that you’re safer from the harmful UVA and UVB rays. Longer sleeves also give you better protection from the thorns and branches or in case of a fall.
Socks for hot weather
While there’s no law against mountain biking without socks, it is probably not a great idea. Instead, choose an antibacterial moisture-wicking material to prevent moisture building, bad odor, and blistering. Again, avoid cotton socks because they do not offer good ventilation.
Gloves for hot weather
Wearing gloves when riding in summer is as important as wearing them in winter. Your summer gloves should have grippers to allow you perfect control over the brakes and shifters even when your hands get sweaty. Wearing gloves will also protect your hands if you crash. There is a wide range of gloves that you can choose from. Our suggestion would be to get a lightweight pair of gloves that keep the sweat out.
I admit that not wearing a helmet when riding in hot conditions can be quite tempting. But, we can’t ignore the fact that a helmet is the most important protective gear you can wear, especially when you go mountain biking. Mountain helmets are usually extended forward and backward to give you more head coverage and protection.
They often have a visor too, which protects your eyes from the sun rays or the dust. No one likes a miserable, sweaty ride. So, wear a well-ventilated helmet to keep your head cool. It would be best if you didn’t go for darker-colored helmets since they absorb heat even more. So, choose a light-colored helmet so that it reflects more sunlight.
Finally, don’t forget your sunglasses or goggles. They protect your eyes from the sun and dust. Tinted sunglasses are better for riding on hot, sunny days because they reduce the sun glare. Some riders prefer goggles because they are more secure and provide better eye protection.
What to Wear While Mountain Biking in the Winter
Just to remind you, there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. A winter mountain biking can be as fun as a beautiful, warm spring day (well, almost). You just need good preparation. So, let’s start with the basic clothing and gears to make your mountain ride warm and comfortable.
Maintaining your average body temperature on cold days is essential. A good base layer is going to keep you warm and dry. Find a moisture-wicking material to keep the sweat away from your body. You can go for man-made or natural fabric. Man-made (synthetic) fabric is usually lighter but not as warm as natural fabric. The natural base layer (merino wool) is often warmer and feels more comfortable than synthetic fabric, but it can be more expensive.
Again, it’s crucial that your underwear is made from a breathable material that keeps the moisture away and regulates temperature effectively. It should feel snug, comfortable, and warm.
Get a T-shirt that wicks well and keeps you comfortable and warm. Choose your regular size, or go a size up if you want it to look more relaxed. They often have pockets that are perfect for keeping smaller items.
Your winter leggings must maintain body core temperature even on the coldest of days. They should provide protection from the wind and other harsh weather conditions while feeling light and comfortable. There are also padded leggings for those riders that want more comfort in the saddle while mountain biking.
The mid layer’s role is to keep the sweat away and insulate your core. You can wear these clothing items or put them in your backpack for when you feel chilly.
A fleece is an important clothing item that will keep your upper body warm in harsh winter conditions. Make sure that it is well-ventilated so that the moisture won’t get trapped inside.
Your waterproof jacket should be many things. Firstly, it should be lightweight so that it won’t weigh you down or restrict your movement. Secondly, many jackets become sweaty and cold when biking in the winter; that’s why your jacket should be highly breathable as well as trap the heat inside. And thirdly, your jacket must be waterproof and windproof so that it provides defense against the winter elements.
Now finish with a good outer layer to feel snug as a bug. The outer shell will armor you against the snow, wind, rain, and cold.
Pick a lightweight, waterproof, and windproof shell. It will keep the snow and rain out for hours on end. Get the size that fits you perfectly; it shouldn’t feel too loose because that would allow the wind, snow, or rain to get inside. Make sure that it’s stretchy enough so that you feel comfortable in it and you can move freely. It will likely have big pockets, too, where you can put your items.
This one goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway, a helmet is essential for your safety. Especially when you go mountain biking, where the chances of crashing are much higher. A winter helmet protects you and creates a barrier that helps trap the heat in and keep your head warm. There are other benefits of wearing a helmet, such as protection from the snow, rain, wind, etc.
Just imagine the feeling of freezing wet feet. The horror! Luckily, you don’t have to experience it when you’re wearing waterproof socks. They’re a lifesaver during winter. A pair of light, warm, and breathable cycling socks will do a great job in protecting your toes when facing the ugly wet weather. It’s best if you get a pair of winter socks made of wool, but other insulating materials will also work.
Gloves for cold weather
Avoid freezing hands when it’s freezing cold. Good winter gloves provide insulation and protection against the winter elements, and they also protect your hands in case of an accident. Choose full-finger gloves to get fuller protection and insulation.
Mountain biking can surely be an experience to remember. However, with the appropriate attire, this experience will only get better. So, with that being said, get your clothes ready and go mountain biking immediately!