After 16 years of professional road cycling on the UCI World Tour and 10 Tour de Frances, Mark Renshaw, owner of Renshaw’s Pedal Project, also knows a thing or two about getting equipped for a ride.
With bike stores in the regional NSW towns of Bathurst and Lithgow, Mark has seen a big uptick in the popularity of cycling for all ages and abilities, particularly through the Covid-19 pandemic.
As well as recommending, renting and selling bikes, bike equipment, and maintenance services, Mark’s team offer a personal bike fitting service to make sure their customers are set up with the right gear for their needs.
“Having the right bike with a good warranty is important. You should also make sure you get it serviced every 6 months, depending on how often you’re using it of course.” – MARK RENSHAW
“With kids often building fundamental skills and confidence on their local pump track, some people are now buying a jump bike. These are custom-made to make the most of jumping and pumping on pump tracks.”
Apart from a good quality bike, Mark reckons the most important pieces of equipment for MTB and pump track riders are a good quality helmet (Australian Standards approved), protective gloves, and covered footwear.
According to Mark: “Getting the right helmet is really important for safety. There’s a huge range to choose from. Some people baulk at paying anything from $150 upwards, but if you come off your bike, it’s worth it.”
Richard Bruce from Over the Edge is a long-time mountain bike enthusiast. Based in the thriving MTB hub of Melrose in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges, Rich advises both recreational and competitive MTB riders on which equipment will work best for their needs.
“When we’re selling a bike or gear, it comes down to thinking about where you’re going to be riding for 70% of the time.” RICH BRUCE
“If you’re riding MTB, then get a bike that suits your local terrain,” explains Richard. “If you use it to commute and occasionally ride some trails, then get a hardtail. That will be great on the commute and also ok on cross country and riding trails.
“This translates to gear also. A mountain bike helmet is great in all situations but it can be a little heavy for all-day riding. Always look at what the bulk of your riding is going to be and make a decision based on that.
“Lastly go with your instincts. If you like the colour of a bike, then get that one! This will inspire you to ride more. The more time you’re on your bike the happier you will be!”
Parkitect Australia’s two young riding ambassadors Zoe Cuthbert and Ryan Gilchrist also had a few things to say about how to get the most from your riding experience.
Zoe Cuthbert’s top riding equipment tips
Zoe, better known as the ‘flying raccoon on a bike’, has been riding since she was little. One of Australia’s most successful young cyclists, she loves to push the limits while at the same time, always considering all aspects of safety while she rides.
(Check out Zoe’s latest wins here: as at 9 June 2022. First Euro podium in the Windhaag Raiffeisen Grand Prix! Third behind the incredible @laura_stigger and @haley.batten)
Zoe has three main tips on choosing the best equipment when you’re riding:
Invest in an Australian Standard helmet.
According to the ACCC Product Safety Standard AS/NZS 2063, your helmet must be designed to adequately protect your head and absorb any impact in the case of an accident. A bike helmet should consist of a shell, a liner, and an adjustable retention strap that fits securely along your lower jaw. A helmet has a limited lifespan, so make sure you replace it when it shows obvious signs of wear.
For extra protection, look for helmets with MIPS technology. I use Lazer* cycling helmets and I really like them. (*Note: Lazer is one of Zoe’s sponsors)
Wear protective gloves.
Riding gloves help you maintain a good grip and can also soak up any sweat. Plus, they cushion your hands from the vibrations passing through your bike’s handlebars. Choose ones where you’re still able to easily move your fingers when you brake.
Keep your knees covered.
If you do come off your bike, it’s often your knees that are most vulnerable. When riding, make sure you wear either durable long pants or knee pads. Knee pads come in various sizes and they add a little extra protection, especially useful for kids learning to ride.
Zoe also had a few ‘optional’ suggestions for riders including elbow pads, riding glasses, and full-face helmets.
For specific product recommendations, Zoe suggests looking at AMB website and pink bike reviews. “They’re they are usually in-depth and non-biased”, explains Zoe.
Ryan Gilchrist’s top cycling gear tips
Ryan is one of Australia’s most highly-ranked Enduro racers. He began competing in BMX competitions in his early teens, where he mastered the bike skills needed to help him qualify for state and national finals.
(Check out Ryans latest wins here: as at 9 June 2022. Pro Stage Results from EWS Tweed Valley 2022 – see Under 21 Mens results for Ryan Gilchrist)
“Whatever your age or riding experience, I always recommend going to your local bike shop and chatting to someone there. It’s better than buying online.”
Like Zoe, Ryan also endorses wearing a helmet that complies with Australian Standards. For riders who want to pick up speed and tackle more challenging tracks, he also recommends wearing knee and elbow pads.
Ryan had a few extra suggestions:
Wear the right footwear.
Shoes are really important. Strong, enclosed shoes with some way of tucking the laces away are essential. Thongs and crocs are not an option, and barefoot is the absolute worst!
Check that your bike brakes are in good condition.
They don’t need to be flash but the bike has to have good brakes. The best are hydraulic disk brakes, but pretty much any brakes will do the job on a Parkitect pump track.
According to Ryan, for young riders: “the sooner they’re off backpedal brakes the better”.
Choose a bike that fits the rider.
Make sure your bike fits properly and suits the riding environment. Any good bike shop will help with that. Flat pedals are best on a pump track. Make sure they have good, sharp pins – you’re less likely to come off them in the first place. Spank Spike pedals are great if you want to plug.
Keep your bike well maintained.
Store your bike out of the rain and lube your chain regularly to keep it in good working order. Make sure your bolts are tight. A regular service might cost a lot upfront, but it’s cheaper than replacing the whole bike if it’s been neglected.
Whether you’re riding on a local pump track or heading out to more challenging mountain bike tracks, it pays to have the right riding gear. That way you’ll make the most of your ride, have fun, and stay safe.
Need to know more about Parkitect’s unique Modular Pumptrack system and how to get one for your neighbourhood, community or holiday park?
Call Shaun on 0411 423 773 and discuss your next project.