What To Carry With You When Mountain Biking In Duluth

Whether you’re an experienced single-track ripper or a curious mountain bike novice, you’re probably well aware that Duluth is quickly becoming the go-to Midwest destination for mountain biking. Mountain biking in Duluth is blowing up – new trails are being added every day and the options are seemingly endless. With the growing number of rideable mountain bike trails in Duluth, folks are tending to embark on longer and longer rides that take them farther from their original starting point. As a result, it’s becoming increasingly important to be prepared for whatever challenges that the trail might throw at you.

In this article we describe some of the key items you should carry with you when mountain biking in Duluth. This advice is great for a day trip or for a couple of hours on the trail. For more advanced multi-day “bike-packing” style expeditions visit BikePacking.com.

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7 Easy Steps to Prepare for Mountain Biking in Duluth

By Dave Grandmaison

1. Carry a Pack
There are a lot of options for carrying the basic tools and supplies you might need when cruising The Duluth Traverse. Saddle bags are a great option. Although space is limited, saddle bags hide beneath your saddle and are just large enough to carry the basics – an extra tube, tire levers, CO2 canister, folding multi-tool, etc. I recommend a larger hydration-pack which provides more space to stash a first aid kit, some snacks and… water. Which leads us to #2.

2. Water is Important – Carry it… Drink it!
Even if you’re just heading out for a short ride… water is key. Days can get longer than expected – especially when you’re having fun and in the groove. Duluth – while known for its cool lake-influenced climate – can come up with some surprisingly hot days on the trail. If you carry a hydration-pack, fill up your water bottle/bladder and stay hydrated. It’s a major bummer when you want to extend your ride but have to head home because you didn’t pack enough water.

Matt Fixing a Flat Tire

3. Must-Have-Don’t-Leave-Home-Without-Em Flat Tire Fixing Tools
These are absolutely critical for avoiding hike-a-bike situations when Mountain biking in Duluth (yes… I’m talking to you Tinga). First off… extra tubes! Carry an extra tube and make sure it’s the right size for the bike you’re riding. A pair of tire levers will be super helpful for changing out punctured tubes. If you’ve never changed a tube… practice. There are lots of helpful YouTube videos out there for guidance. A CO2 inflator or mini-hand pump will help you inflate your new tube and get you back on the trail in no time. It seems like a no-brainer but make sure you know how to use the inflator and/or pump… just in case. And throw a multi-tool in your pack to tighten things up when needed. At the very least, your friends will thank you.

4. First Aid Kit
I always carry a small backpacker-sized first aid kit in my hydration-bag. Its got gauze, medical tape, a few assorted band-aids, some anti-biotic ointment, benadryl, and a set of tweezers. This won’t save your life in a major crash but it has been super handy for smaller accidents that required removing gravel and dirt from small cuts and bandaging up minor scrapes. If you have severe allergies (e.g., bee stings) talk to your doctor about carrying an Epi-pen. That could save your life!

5. Map Your Ride
It’s a good idea to have a pre-ride plan for wherever you’re headed. If you’re riding alone you might consider letting someone know where you’re going and when to expect you back. Either way, there are great mapping resources on the MTB Project webpage that I use all the time. Most smart phones have a GPS built-in and there are lots of apps out there for ride mapping. Use them! Getting lost is a real bummer and some of the trail systems in Duluth can be a little confusing. Do your research ahead of time and you’ll have a much better experience.

6. Wear a Helmet
Do I really need to explain this one?

7. Hire a Professional Guide Service and Ride in Style
You knew this one was coming. But seriously, if you’re new to the sport or want the VIP Mountain Biking Experience then you might consider hiring a professional. All-inclusive guide services provide transportation to/from the trail, advice and guidance on routes, equipment rental, snacks, water, and a local ride-buddy to show you the best lines and provide tips for improving your technique. Plus… you can skip numbers 1 – 6 above because we’ve got you covered.

So there you have it folks. Enjoy a great season of Duluth single-track. With just a few simple steps you can be more self-sufficient and improve your skills as a mountain biker. Plus… you’ll be able to help out those other folks on the trail that didn’t get a chance to read this article.

Cheers! I’ll see you on the trail.

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If you’re interested in learning more about our guided mountain bike trips, please visit The Duluth Traverse Mountain Bike Adventure Page and consider booking your next adventure with The Duluth Experience!

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