The following equipment is required for safety. Don’t ride without them!
* Bicycle — For off-road riding, it is recommended that you have a true mountain bike, not a hybrid (one way to tell is that true mountain bikes should come with fat, knobby tires).
* HELMET — Buy one that fits right and wear it. Not only is a helmet required in many local parks, but it will save your life.
* Water — Carry one or two water bottles and cages, or one of the alternative water systems (such as a CamelBak). You will lose a lot of water as you ride. Drink water to prevent dehydration.
* Appropriate clothing — Dress for the weather and riding conditions. The weather on the trail is often much different than where you live. Be prepared.
It is recommended that you carry some or all of the following equipment. The clothing listed will significantly improve the comfort and enjoyment of your ride. The tools (along with the knowledge of how to use them) will let you keep riding should something go wrong.
* Pump — get one to fit your valve type (Schraeder or Presta). Compact pumps are light, popular, and fairly efficient. Many adapt to either style of valve.
* Gloves — these will keep you from compressing nerves in your hand, getting blisters, and in the event of a fall, save your skin.
* Padded bicycling shorts — these are not only more practical on a bike than loose fitting shorts, the chamois prevents (ouch!) chaffing.
* Windbreaker or light jacket — for spring, fall or winter riding.
* Mountain bike shoes — you can ride in tennis shoes, but the soles are not stiff enough to provide enough comfort (pedals dig into soles) or power transfer. Try cycling shoes.
* Spare tube(s) — for when you get a flat on the trail, it’s easier to replace the tube, then patch the flat one at home where it’s cool and there aren’t any flies.
* Patch kit — carry this for when you use your spare tube and later get another flat!
* Tire irons — you’ll need these to help take your tire off in order to change your tube.
* Bike specific Multitool.
* Rag — for wiping the grease off your hands.
* Chain tool — for fixing a broken chain. If you don’t have it and you break your chain, you’ll be walking.
* Sunglasses — to protect your eyes from both the sun and dust.
* Seat bag, fanny pack, or backpack — to keep all this stuff in.