- Parent Category: MTB in Hong Kong
- Published on 28 May 2008
And you thought only scouts were "prepared"
The key to any successful ride is knowing that you can seal with any problems that might occur on the trail, that is why it is important to know what to carry and when to use it
The following is a list of things every biker should have for safe riding in HongKong.
The camel back (hydration system)
Originally conceived by Camelback this backpack has a soft polyvalent water bladder tucked away inside a pocket in the backpack. A flexible drinking hose exits a vent in the shoulder strap. By squeezing the nipple on the end you can drink while on the move, revolutionizing the way we ride today.
There are now many brands that provide similar options. When choosing yours, look for a bag that has the capacity to hold 2 to 3l of fluid, some food, spare clothes, basic first aid kit, bike spares and other personal items. Do not be tempted to buy too large of a bag, as inevitably you will only fill it, and remember 1l of water weighs 1kg!
The bag should sit low on the hips this will lower the centre of gravity and take most of the weight from your shoulders. Ensure the shoulder straps are at the right length and sit evenly in the centre of the shoulder, too tight they will restrict movement and transfer weight back to the shoulders, making for an uncomfortable ride, too loose and the could snag on a branch or drop off the shoulder. These backpacks also give limited protection in a fall. As mentioned some backpacks now come with a built in back protector.
A good alternative to the backpack is the bum bag, slightly smaller in capacity this waist bag usually has a pouch for your trail gear and optional bottle holders on the side. Some now come with a built in hydration system. They are comfortable to wear, not being as restrictive as a backpack, sits low on the hip and keeps the body cooler as the back is exposed to promote heat loss. Ensure the hip belt fits securely over the waist so that it does not slide down over the hips.
You may prefer to carry the weight of the water on your bike frame Most cross-country/trail bikes have two dedicated bolt sets for bottle cages. This is a very efficient way to carry a limited amount of fluid. Make sure that the bottles fit tight in the cages and do not hinder you when you carry the bike.
The downsides of bottles are: limited capacity, the drinking nozzle becomes caked in dirt and you will probably have to stop to drink.
It is inevitable that you will have a mechanical at some point in your ride and that you will have to do some trail side repair to get you home. For this occasion it is essential that you have a basic tool kit.
A set of tyre levers
To get the tires on and off the rims
Spare inner tubes
Carry1 or 2 spare tubes. Make sure that they are either new or have been repaired. Ensure that they are the correct size for your tyre. The standard mountain bike tyre is 26 inches in diameter and 2 to 2.3 inches wide. If you are a novice don't buy extra-light ones it will make getting pinch-flat punctures easier.
The trails in Hong Kong can be very rough on tyres and tubes. It is important to have a fully stocked repair kit, for that time when you’ve just been hitting all those sharp rocks and you’re out of tubes. Check to make sure that the glue has not solidified. Either repair the bust tube on the trail or take it home to fix later, you do not need to throw away a tube after one puncture
They come in all shapes and sizes with many different functions, be practical about the choice you make, it only adds weight in the backpack. You can now buy a basic multi tool that has practically all you will need on the trail. A good multi tool will have the following;
Allen keys, ranging in size up to 5mm, Philips screwdriver, Flathead screwdriver, Chain breaker/ spoke wrench
Alternatively you may consider taking individual tools, these are generally stronger than a multi tool, but weigh a whole lot more.
A set of Allen keys
Make sure that you can tighten all the different bolts on your bike with it. Most of the bolts you'll need to touch are 4 and 5 mm.
A spoke wrench
In case you bend your wheel big time and have to straighten it back by loosing-tightening the spokes
A chain tool
Chains can break, you'll need this tool to remove the broken link and shorten the chain.
A set of short screwdrivers
Philps (cross shape) and flat. You'll use them to adjust the derailleurs and brakes. Also good for clearing mud stuck around your shoe's cleats .
With all this additional weight, especially if your using bottle cages and not carrying a backpack, you may want to consider a saddle bag that you can place all your spares in Strapped behind the seat this handy bag will accommodate all your spares.
Most pumps come with an additional clip that can be fixed to the side of your frame via one of the cage mounts. It’s a good place to store pumps but during the rainy season water can leak inside the pump and rust it or clog it up with dirt.
For longer rides you may want to consider taking a few spokes, some spare links of a chain, some cable ties, duct tape and one of each.
Everyone has there preferences to oil. Take a small bottle with you. If conditions are dry then your chain will soon collect dust and not roll freely. Similarly if conditions are wet your chain will soon get clogged with dirt and jam. By keeping the drive chain well lubed and clean means easier gear changes and less chance of a break
First aid kit
Cuts and scratches are inevitable when mountain biking whether its by from a big crash or simply from being whipped by branches. Your likely to see some blood each ride. A basic first aid kit and the knowledge of how to use it is important. The kit should compromise of:
Ace Bandage: 3" wide roll, Sterile Wipes, Pain Killers (Aspirin or Tylenol: 12-24 tablets), Band aids: 6-12 of various sizes for minor cuts and grazes, Butterfly Stitches: 6-12 various sizes or Steri-Strip bandages. Used to close wounds, Tweezers: for cleaning out wounds, Duct Tape - 12" - 24" water proof- deal for blisters, and taping up wounds in an emergency, Gauze Pads: 4"x4" 6-12, 4"x8" or 5"x9" 2-3, Latex Gloves, Razor Blade: single edge or Scissors: small pair, Sterile Ointment or iodine: small tube or packs. To kill any potential infections, Surgical Tape: 1 roll
Telephone numbers: List of emergency numbers
Optional first aid
Shringe: for irrigation, 3m self adhesive bandage: ideal for sprains and breaks as it creates a semi hard dressing, Cotton Swabs: 20-30 in waterproof container
The outer case for the first aid kit should be waterproof otherwise water may contaminate what is inside, alternatively you can put everything in zip lock bags or a waterproof contianer
Where you ride there isn’t always phone coverage a whistle is the ideal thing to draw attention to yourself
Although slightly bulky this thin silver foil blanket has a multitude of uses, from temporary sun and rain shelter to an insulating body wrap that prevents heat loss, exposure and shock.