There are several apps available to give you all the navigating capabilities needed to ride a route. Additionally, a smartphone handlebar or stem mount keeps the navigation front and center. One great phone mount is the Quadlock, but there are many. This mount will improve your ability to follow the route, as each route typically has many, many turns. Reaching into your pocket at each turn may be impractical and can be dangerous.
Obtaining a dedicated GPS device is a great investment, but they are relatively expensive. So, we suggest starting with the smartphone you may already own.
There are many apps to run the routes offered. These so-called “.GPX files” offered from urban dirt can be downloaded directly to a smartphone used in apps like:
- Gaiamaps (0-$)
- RideWithGPS ($-$$)
There are also many more apps available that handle gpx and other file formats, but these are the ones we use.
Similar to riding bikes on paved roads, we recommend carrying some basic tools to fix mechanical issues. Perhaps the most important skill involves understanding how to fix a flat. Next, knowing how to make other adjustments on your bike, including saddle height adjustment, brakes, and derailleur tuning can help you keep rolling. The following tools are essential for these repairs and adjustments:
- Spare tube, patch kit, and tire levers
- Travel-sized tire pump
- Multitool to adjust or tighten anything that may rattle loose
Bringing a set of front and rear lights will help you stay seen when dusk begins to fall. Urban dirt rides take more time typically, which may come from an extended hang out at a swimming hole. So, if bringing lights is easy, go for it!
Crashing while riding can happen, which is no fun. But, having a basic band-aid, gauze, and disinfectant will help you stay more comfortable as you return home.
Snacks and H20 are the essences of life, particularly while cycling. Forgoing essences is kind of like going to work without any pants on - it is not recommended.