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Attack the Singletrack!, Issue #004 -- Bicycle Tools and Gear Essentials for the Trail
April 15, 2010

Catch the Buzz on Playing in the Dirt

Attack the Singletrack! Issue #004 -- Be Prepared! Bicycle Tools and Gear Essentials for the Trail

Attack the Singletrack brings you mountain bike tips to help you become a better rider and enjoy mountain biking more.

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In this Issue...

1) Tip of the Month -- Do you want to have more power and control on your mountain bike? Click here or scroll down for an essential tip...

2) Do you have the right bicycle tools and gear with you as you hit the trail? -- Are you wondering what you need to take with you on your ride so you can be prepared for the unexpected?

Click here or scroll down to find out what tools and gear you need to take with you on your mountain bike ride...

3) What's New on Mountain Bike Buzz -- Click on the links below to learn about new information that has been recently added to the site...

Mountain Bike Stems: How to Choose, Adjust, and Change Them
- Information on mountain bike stems, including threadless vs. quill, length and rise of stem, and how to adjust or change your bicycle stem...

Does your Mountain Bike Fit you Properly?
- Tips on mountain bike fit, including mountain bike frame size, handlebar and seat adjustment, and adjusting shock preload...

Cross Country Mountain Bikes: Information and Tips
-- Information on cross country mountain bikes, including the difference between xc race and xc trail bikes. Tips on where to buy an xc mountain bike. Do you have a sweet xc bike? Send us a photo...

Tip of the Month:

Want to have More Power and Control? --

Hang Loose! If your muscles are tight and tense while riding, it is a waste of energy. Keep your body loose while riding and avoid tightening up your muscles. This can be difficult mentally while approaching tough technical sections because we get nervous and our body tightens up, but try to relax and let your mountain bike do its thing.

Slightly bend your knees and elbows so they help absorb the bumps and obstacles. With tight arms and legs, it's easy to get catapulted off your mountain bike. Staying loose also lowers your center of gravity.

Keep your elbows out and up. This helps you get more air into your lungs and also gives you more power and control

Do you have the Essential Tools and Gear for the Trail?

There have been times when I have been so excited to hit the singletrack that I have forgotten to bring along an essential bicycle tool or something else that is important, like food or sunscreen. I have found that helps to keep everything organized in a hydration pack, which is basically a backpack that has a water bladder with a tube connected to it.

Another option for carrying your tools and gear is to get a bicycle seat bag and a couple of water bottles if you have room on your frame for a couple of water bottle holders.

It is always a balance between how much weight you want to carry with you and what needs to come along on the trail. It's good to get lightweight gear, but make sure it is also functional and that you know how to use it before you get stuck in an emergency on the trail.


This is a good item because it reduces the weight of carrying a bunch of tools. It should have various sizes of allen wrenches, hex wrenches, and both types of screwdrivers. Many multi-tools also include a chain tool and a spoke wrench. If your multi-tool has all these tools, you don't have to worry about bringing these tools separately.

Chain tool:

A bicycle chain tool is necessary for repairing a broken chain. You may also want to bring along a couple extra links and pins for your chain.

Spoke wrench:

If you wheel starts wobbling, this can be unsafe and cause your bike to malfunction. A spoke wrench is useful for tightening up the necessary spokes to straighten out the wheel.


Having water along is a necessity. Hydration backpacks are handy but a couple water bottles work fine too.

Energy snacks:

Mountain biking burns a lot of calories. Try to eat a good meal before riding and wait an hour or two after eating before hitting the trail. It is also important to bring some food along when riding, such as energy bars, gel shots, energy drink powder, fruit, and other lightweight snacks.

First Aid Kit:

It's a good idea to bring along a first aid kit with basic essentials like bandages, medicine packets (such as ibuprofen, antibiotic ointment, and corticosteroid cream), and antibacterial wipes.


Don't forget the backs of your calves!

Cash and ID

It's a good idea to bring an ID and a little cash. You never know when you may need it. You can also use a dollar bill to temporarily patch a sidewall cut in your tire.

Warm Clothing:

It's important to be prepared for changes in weather, especially in areas of high altitude. I have often run into cold or rainy conditions after beginning a ride in sunny hot weather, so now I always bring lightweight rain gear and extra layers of clothing. Cycling leg warmers and arm warmers are convenient because they are lightweight and easy to keep stashed in a jersey pocket, seat pack, or hydration backpack.

An extra pair of cycling socks is also good to have along in case your feet get wet. For cold weather conditions, full-finger mountain bike gloves and a cycling cap are good to have along since our head loses heat quicker than any part of our body in cold weather.

For more clothing tips, please visit our page on Mountain Bike Clothing

Click here to see previous issues of Attack the Singletrack!

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