Mountainbike in Umbria
Compared to sealed roads, going over dirt surfaces requires more than just knowing how to ride a bike, at least as far as medium and hard itineraries go. It means negotiating tracks which sometimes go over irregular surfaces, with rough stretches and various obstacles such as stones, trunks and roots.
The size of the roads can vary too, from wide, unsealed roads to narrow, stoney tracks, called “single tracks” in technical jargon, because only one bike can pass at a time.
An ordinary mountain bike, even without fork suspension, is perfectly suitable for the easy routes described in this guide, none of which require particular technical or athletic skills. Otherwise, if the harder routes are chosen, a more suitable bike (and better training) is necessary.
People who do not cycle regularly should avoid the longer trails, especially the ones that involve steep climbs, otherwise a day’s fun will become a fatigue that will kill the pleasure of biking. To avoid this, it might be a good idea to start with the easiest trails, then move on to the harder ones once confidence with the bike has been established.
Ordinary tracksuits, shorts and tops are fine for the easy trails, but a pair of specially padded bike shorts, will help make the trip more comfortable and enjoyable. A pair of sunglasses to protect eyes from glare, dust and insects, and of course a helmet, are a must. Extra light, reasonably priced helmets are available on the market.
If cycling is going to be a regular habit, it’s worth getting the full equipment. Transpiring t-shirts and shorts, gloves for hand protection and better grip, cycling shoes that can be used for both traditional pedals with clips and the newer clipless kinds, now a standard for regular bikers.
WHAT TO TAKE WITH YOU
A water bottle is essential, as biking is hard physical work. Also something to eat, especially if the ride is going to last for several hours. Fruit, biscuits or cakes containing jam or honey and energy bars are fine.
As far as the bike is concerned, a small repair kit, especially for punctures , should be part of the equipment. It should contain a spare tube, a pump and all that’s needed to remove a tyre, and sealing liquid for tubeless tyres. Usually, the kit is kept in a small bag below the saddle also containing a screw driver and spanners for mechanical repairs.
As the trails are in the country and through the woods, ointment for insect bites and a waterproof jacket in case of rain are a good idea. It is also wise to take a few euros and the emergency telephone numbers in the area, just in case.
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