So you're heading to your first bike park and you're SO STOKED about it, but hang on, how do you even prepare for it? How much stuff should you take? Ahhhh.
Well, at Shred Like a Girl, we're bike park fiends (#ionlyridepark anyone?) but we know how daunting it can feel to go to your first one. So to help you feel confident before the big day we’ve made a list of all the things we do beforehand and what we chuck in the car so you know where to start and can live your best life shredding down the trails..
Do your research
Check out the bike park’s website and see what minimum equipment you need to ride there. Most bike parks will want you to wear a full face helmet and knee pads as a minimum, but some may require more than this. Have a look at what facilities they have onsite too; toilets, a cafe, water tap, and pack accordingly. Lunch, snacks and a water refill in your car will keep you shredding for longer.
Check the directions
Check the directions and the parking situation. Is it free? Can you pay by cash or card, or do you pay via an app? Is there phone signal? Having an idea of this can take away any additional stresses on the day.
Check the weather
If our familiar friend La-Rain is making an appearance, a waterproof jacket and some spare riding clothes for if you do get soggy could keep you happy and out on the trails for longer. We’ve all done it where we have turned up and froze to death because we didn’t know the ice wind was around. If you have the space, chuck a few extra layers in. These hoodies are a great mid layer for the British winter and will keep you snug and looking fly.
Take any additional protection that you want to ride in. For example: body armour, elbow pads, gloves. We always wear our body armour when we head to a bike park, even the familiar ones. Typically you'll be hooning around at a much higher speed than at trail centres, so it’s best to play it safe when it comes to the protection that you wear. Consider long sleeve tops and trousers too. Gravel rash hurts. Check out our new winter long sleeve jerseys, great for protecting your skin if you do go OTB.
Spare bike bits
Bike parks are super tough on bikes. You're much more likely to wear through brake pads or damage components than on a general trail ride. Most bike parks have a place to purchase bike bits but they tend to be more costly than your local bike shop and won’t stock EVERY part for every bike.
To save your pennies and any faff if things do need replacing we recommend grabbing these basics to keep in your car just in case (it will vary based on your bike setup): Brake pads, derailleur hanger, a quick link, spare inner tube and a spare tyre.
If you own a bike you will also need to own some basic bike tools. This is what we keep in our car, or at least have available within our riding group on the day. Track pump, multi tool, allen keys, shock pump, lube, spare valve, sealant, a rag, pressure gauge, tyre levers, and zip ties.
Bike maintenance knowledge
Knowledge of how to use the tools and some basic bike maintenance, would not go amiss, or at least the confidence to ask someone else to help you if you do get stuck. Some bike parks will have a designated bike mechanic onsite to help you with your bike woes, however it's best not to count on this. Learning how to be self sufficient if your bike does play up will not only give you loads of confidence, but it will save you time and endless faff and will mean you can stay on your bike for longer.
It might seem like a lot to think about but if you shove all the bikey bits in a tub and keep it in your car you will always be prepared. Chucking in protection and clothes is easy and remember you are likely to be miles from home so think about soggy bottoms and wet feet and pack some dry, warm things, including shoes and socks for your journey back.
It is so worth the effort, bike parks are life.