Get Started with Trail Cycling
Photo: Emrik Jansson
Are you eager to start trail riding, but are a little unsure of what you need? Here are some tips you’ll need to get started and to experience Åre’s fantastic trails.
A bike with front and rear suspension is the best choice to experience Åre’s varied trails to the fullest. How much shock length and stroke you’ll need and can handle depends on the type of biking you’ll be doing. If you wish to explore Åre’s supply of Bike Shops, click this link.
If you’re mostly pedalling uphill, a bike with a 120–150-millimetre suspension fork back and front is recommended. These are bikes that prioritize pedalling and climbing, but still have good downhill capabilities.
If you’re also eager to take your bike up Mt. Åreskutan and do some lift-borne cycling in Åre Bike Park in addition to trail riding, you should aim for a suspension fork around 140-170 millimetres together with slightly heavier and coarse tires. It’s a good compromise between downhill characteristics and pedalling efficiency.
One of the biggest changes on bikes in recent years is the height-adjustable seat posts that are controlled from a control on the handlebars. You can easily adjust the height of the saddle depending on whether you’re riding downhill or climbing uphill and thus getting better control, more fun and safer biking.
Your helmet is definitely not something you should cheap out on. However, you do not need an integral helmet for trails. A “regular”, open bicycle helmet is enough. On the other hand, avoid the lightest competition models and invest in a helmet that instead goes down properly to your neck to provide optimal protection. Try it out and find a model that fits well on your head, in some cases you will have to adjust the fit with the help of pillows that you usually get in the box when you buy a new helmet.
A pair of thin and light knee pads can be nice to have when (not if) you fall. It is not a must for trail biking, but extra protection never hurts. However, if you like more technical trail biking, it is a must. Find a light and slim model that allows you to pedal unhindered.
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Trail Cycling in Björnen.
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A cotton T-shirt is of course comfortable to wear but gets slightly damp and sticky when you get hot and sweaty during exertion. Instead, get a functional cycling jersey in synthetic material or merino wool that breathes well and dries quickly.
A pair of knee-length cycling shorts in a slightly heavier material is perfect for trail cycling. Cycling shorts often have a pair of smart pockets for things like your car keys, wallet or trail pass.
If you’ve ever been bumped down there from cycling, you know you never want to experience it again. Get a pair of thin bike pants with padding in the crotch that you can wear under your shorts. Your sensitive body parts will thank you; we promise!
A pair of cycling gloves with long fingers both gives a better grip on the handlebars when you get sweaty, or if it’s wet outside and they protects your hands from scratches if you happen to bail on the slopes.
Cycling shoes and pedals
A pair of sturdy, cycling shoes is a sensible investment if you plan to ride a lot. They have a sole that is both made to attach well to the pedal and won’t bend when you pedal hard. Which cycling shoes you should choose depends on the type of pedal you use.
A “regular” pedal with a large platform that is also equipped with small pins to give a better grip. To work optimally, you need a sturdy shoe with a relatively smooth and grippy rubber sole that provides good friction against the pedal. This combination works well both for trail biking and if you want to ride more downhill.
SPD pedals consist of a system similar to ski bindings where a small bolt is screwed into the sole of the cleat which attaches to the pedal. There is a plethora of different variants of both pedals and shoes, but aim for a pedal with a platform around the pedal mechanism itself that provides a little extra support and which you can stand on if you miss to click in. Combine with a shoe with a medium to stiff sole and you have a good combination for both pedalling and downhill.
Tools and spare parts
You don’t need a full workshop at home to get started, but a couple of repair tools are good to have to keep your bike in shape. Head to one of the village’s bike shops if you need more advanced help.
Get a multi-tool for cycling with the most common Allen keys (2.5-8 millimetres) torx wrench (T25) and a chain tool. With these you can easily make sure that bolts are screwed on and can perform simple repairs on your bike ride.
Air in the tires is always a good thing. Get a small hand pump to ensure that you always have the right pressure in your tires and in this way, prevent unnecessary punctures and have better riding comfort.
Chain Quick Link
If your chain breaks when you are out cycling, you’ll need a chain quick link to fix it. Your bike shop has a variety for your particular type of chain.
Spare hose and tire levers
On longer trips, it’s good if you have an extra hose and a tire lever with you so that you can fix a puncture if bad luck occurs. Try it out at home first so you know what to do it.
Must – Haves
It’s important to maintain a fluid balance when cycling. Get a water bottle to attach to a bottle holder on your bike or bring a hydration (bladder) pack in your backpack. And remember, if you drink only when you are thirsty, it’s usually a little too late.
Your phone is not only fun to have with you to take pictures of your friends (don’t forget to tag #åresweden on social media!) but also, as for your safety if an accident occurs. Enter the number of the bike patrol in your phone before heading out, it’s written on a sign at the start of the route.
Things that are not a must but that can be nice to have.
A pair of sunglasses or sports glasses is nice as protection against the wind, dust, branches or flying insects.
If you plan to go on a longer trip, it can be nice to have a backpack of 10-20 litres packed with repair tools, spare hose, a rain jacket and some snacks.
Want to explore Åre’s vast supply of biking trails and more? Go to Åre Trails to find your favorite route >>
Last updated 5 July 2021