After what feels like months of rain, I finally took my mountain bike, Marge, out of winter hibernation a couple of weeks ago to enjoy the spring sunshine. We are sticking to fire roads and singletrack that is in good shape for now in order to give the muddy and highly eroded trails a chance to dry up. Here is some of my favorite gear for mountain biking in spring.
Pearl Izumi LTD Mountain Bike Jersey ($85): Lightweight and moisture wicking, this jersey looks cool, offers sun protection, and gives you three standard back pockets in case you don’t want to bring a pack on your local loop. This is a form fit jersey (sits between race fit and semi-form fit)–my normal medium size fits me perfectly.
Pearl Izumi Launch Capri ($80): For the cooler spring weather and as an added poison oak barrier, I really like wearing these capris. Super stretchy but not loose and baggy, these capris will never get in your way on the bike. They are so lightweight and breathable, you barely notice you are wearing them, which is ultimately what you want in a bike short. The extra-wide waist band is flattering and can be adjusted at the back to dial in the fit. The zippered hand pockets are big enough for your phone or some snacks. Pair them with your favorite liner.
Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch II ($160): I call these my “Wheeler Pass” shoes as they come out when I know there is going to be some hike-a-bike in my future. Cushioning and super comfortable to hike in or wear all day, the carbon fiber injected composite shank means you lose no efficiency in your power transfer. I found the carbon rubber lugged outsole offers great traction in mud, over kitty litter, or scrambling up rocks. SPD compatible, I have had no problems clipping in and out of my pedals. All my bike shoes feature Boa lacing systems now–there is no better way to dial in and keep a steady fit throughout your ride.
These Wigwam socks keep my feet warm in wet, cool spring conditions without getting overly sweaty when the sun comes out.
Osprey Verve ($80-$100): For local rides, this small hydration pack provides just enough storage space for everything I need–tools, spare tube, an extra layer, snacks, my phone, and up to 2 liters of water in the Hydraulics reservoir with magnetic bite valve retention. The LidLock system is nice if you want to stop for a beer after your ride but is a little tricky to work with my Smith Forefront helmet. The mesh and foam suspension system is super lightweight and moves with you as you ride while also helping to cut down on back sweat.
7Mesh Resistance Jacket ($250): For early morning rides or windy trails along the coast, I pull out my ultralight and supremely packable Resistance Jacket. Made from Windstopper Active Shell, this bike jacket blocks the wind while being highly water-resistant. Perpetually open vents at the back and wrists help keep the air flowing so you don’t overheat.
Pearl Izumi Divide Glove ($30): These super lightweight mountain bike gloves are made from a combination perforated synthetic leather palm that is super grippy and a mesh back that keeps your hands cool. The fingertip and thumb are touchscreen compatible so you don’t have to remove them to operate your bike computer or take that mid-ride selfie. I personally love that there is no Velcro strap at the wrist to get stuck on all your other bike clothes in the wash.
And if you are only going to buy one thing this spring for mountain biking (or hiking and trail running for that matter), make it a huge bottle of Tecnu. Because of all the rain, the poison oak is off the hook right now in the Bay Area.