What I wear while riding and why – Mountain bike edition

Preparing the head out with a friend for her second-ever ride on her new mountain bike, she texted me an important question . . . “what are you going to wear?” Or, more specifically:

“I’m wearing a t-shirt. Which is so weird. But okay, right? I don’t need to pack jersey pockets, right?”

As I wrote in my last post about what I wear when riding on the road, you can and should wear whatever makes you comfortable – which means a t-shirt is more than okay. But for those who are just starting out, here are some of what I wear when riding on the trails…

Above the waist
Starting from the top – When on my mountain bike, I wear a Vivo Plus helmet with MIPS from Scott. Whatever you wear, make sure it is fairly new and fits properly.

I also wear the same Smith PivLok Arena Max sunglasses, I wear when riding on the road – the lightly tinted rose lenses are perfect for the mottled light that is often found on the trails. We also keep a box of clear safety glasses on hand for when we want protection from flying debris but don’t need shading.

While I have cages on my mountain bike for water bottles, I generally prefer to wear a hydration pack – an Osprey Raven 14 – which not only lets me carry a lot more water, but also has room for snacks, a tool kit, and first aid supplies.

Because of the pack, I don’t need the pockets of a traditional bike jersey, and instead, ride in an athletic t-shirt. While some riders prefer enduro-style shirts (they tend to be looser), I actually prefer tops that fit a bit more closely. And on hot days, there is nothing better than a tank top (suns out, guns out!). One of my favorites is the Wheelie from Shredly.

I prefer full-fingered gloves while mountain biking – they provide a bit more protection not just from the constant braking, but also pushing aside thorny bushes, or scraping up against rocks. The Scott gloves I’m wearing in the photo above are made of very lightweight material, which is nice when it’s hot outside.

And, of course, a face covering. I’ve been embracing the stretchy, moisture-wicking bandana which gives me the protection of a buff, without feeling like a turtleneck.

Below the waist
In the woods, I wear my favorite padded Pearl Izumi shorts under a pair of mountain bike shorts from Shredly which both protect the lycra from sticks and stones and give me a few pockets for snacks and other items I want to be able to get to easily.

The Tina MTB Shorts are my current obsession.

To quote my friend Alex, “In every mountain bike is a built-in hiker,” so my mountain bike shoes are made for walking! (And yes, I have broken a pair of shoes because I had to walk too much in the Alps).

Our daughter and I wear a pair of Scott mountain bike shoes with SPD pedals similar to these – why SPDs? I’m actually not particular about the pedals and cleats, but Steve wanted all of us on the same cleat/pedal combination. Just easier to keep track of things and ensures we are never out with the “wrong” shoes.

Most of the time I do not wear pads, but when I do – particularly when it’s cooler outside, or I’m riding tougher terrain – I love my G-Form knee and elbow pads. And while I don’t wear shin pads, I do wear longer socks to help protect from scratches.

Whatever you wear when riding, we hope you have fun, stay safe and respect the trails!

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