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Mountain Biking

Basics Catalog The Basics


Eye Protection

The in look for eye protection is the bug like wraparound frames, a little strange and rarely flattering. Some are more extreme than others are. The shape is part fashion and part function. The wrap around effect helps to keep wind, dirt, and bugs out of your eyes. Whatever style you choose, they should provide UV protection and be made with a non-shattering material.

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Bolle Logo

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Oakley Logo

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Revo Logo

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Smith Logo


Bike gloves protect your hands from chaffing and blisters caused by constant contact with the handlebars. They are usually lightweight nylon or spandex with a thicker padding for the palm. They're available at most bike shops.


To get the right fit, you'll need to try them on. They should fit firmly and stay in place. If your helmet doesn't fit right, it will bounce around while riding and won't protect you in a fall. Some of the fancier models come in aerodynamic shapes. They do look cool and will reduce the level of wind resistance or "drag", especially for those with big heads. Joke! Most helmets also come with small openings for vents. These help to keep your head cool. If you're riding in the winter and need to keep your head warm, helmet liners are available.

Giro, Tel. 1-800-294-6098
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Giro Logo

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Specialized Logo


Once you try the clip-less pedals, you will never go back. You need to make sure your cycling shoes are compatible with the clip-less pedal system you're using. One of the features that you should look for in a cycling shoe is a hard toe. This will protect your feet from any branches or rocks you might hit.

Shimano, Tel. 1-800-353-3817
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(Shimano also makes a great snowboarding boot and binding system.)
Shimano Logo


Recently bike seats designed for women have been introduced. They offer better support, which helps your posture and your back. They come highly recommended. Also available is "gel" padding instead of foam. Because gel is denser than foam, it absorbs shocks and bumps better.

Avocet, Tel. 1-800-227-8346, in California, USA.

InMotion, Tel. 1-800-552-2976, in Montana, USA.

San Marco, Tel. 1-970-282-1880, in Colorado, USA.

Terry-Precision Cycling for Women, Tel. 1-800-289-8379, in New York, USA.
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Padded bike shorts are a good thing. They really make the difference on a long ride. That may be the last place you think needs padding, but they're worth it. When riding during the cooler months, it's important to wear clothing that wicks away perspiration. Cotton is not advisable since it traps moisture close to your skin. Look for materials like Capilene, CoolMax, Lycra, nylon, silk blends, Thermastat, and Versatech.

Dirt Designs, Tel. 1-800-269-6641 in Boulder, Colorado, USA.

Pearl Izumi, Tel. 1-800-877-7080.
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Sportobin, Tel. 1-800-424-3843 in Hull, Massachusetts, USA.

Sugoi, Tel. 1-888-239-2851.
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Terry - Precision Cycling for Women, Tel. 1-800-289-8379.
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The high-end models are a real pocket-punch. So for a first time bike purchase, look around for a slightly used mountain bike, a low-end model or last year's models on sale.

As mentioned earlier, biking has taken on many forms. Even mountain biking has many forms and styles. Biking styles range from off-road, to cross-country, and downhilling. Off-road is generally considered riding on dirt paths with limited vertical climbs and descents. Cross-country is both steep climbs and bumpy descents. Downhilling is long, fast difficult descents.

Downhilling is relatively new and being offered during the summer at ski resorts. A chair-lift type service takes you up to the top of the mountain and you take the long wild ride down. Weight is less a factor in descending as it is in climbing. The downhilling bike is beefed up with the best suspension systems, disc braking system, an indestructible frame, and only 8 speeds.

Cross-country bikes are the most popular. An intermediate level bike will be lightweight, with 24 speeds and a front shock. The more advanced equipment includes a rear suspension and v-brakes, which offer more stopping power. It's important to equip your bike with a quick gear shifting system. If the shifting system holds up even a little, you'll loose valuable momentum on an assent.

More and more manufacturers are starting to design women's bikes. They offer different proportions for women. Because men carry more weight in their upper bodies, men only need to lean forward to keep the front tire on the ground during an assent. This is more difficult for a woman with a lower center of gravity. Before you buy a bike, look into demo'ing the women's models, testing them on assents and descents.

Mountain Bike Manufacturers

These manufacturers have some of the best mountain bikes designed for women.

Check them out and let us know what you think,

Battle Mountain Bikes, in Wyoming, USA.
Tel. 1-307-327-5952

Web site:
Cannondale Bikes

Fat City Cycles
P.O. Box 876
Stowe, Vermont 05672 USA
Tel. 1-802-253-6998.
They specialize in women's bike designs and provide some of the best.

Giant, Tel. 1-800-779-BIKE.
Web site:
Giant Bikes

Independent Fabrications
P.O. Box 98
Somerville, MA 02143 USA
Tel. 1-617-666-3609
Web site: Women's bike frames.
Independent Fabrications Bikes

Scott, in Colorado, USA.
Tel. 1-800-292-5875
Scott Bikes

Softride, Tel. 1-800-557-6387
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Softride Bikes

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Specialized Bikes

TREK, Tel. 1-800-369-TREK.
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TREK Bikes

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