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First Time Mountain Biking

pajarito mountain biking guide

Pajarito Mountain Biking Guide

Every mountain biker remembers their first time: You’re on a bicycle, which makes sense. But you’re riding over all types of different terrain, which (at least at first) feels like it makes no sense at all. It’s fun and exciting, yet nerve-wracking and terrifying all at the same time. It gets easier—and more fun!—with time. But there are a few mountain bike tips every one of us wishes someone had shared when we were just starting out!

We recommend any first-time mountain bikers read through this short guide to make sure they are prepared to shred! Before making your way to Pajarito please check the trail report to see trail conditions and notifications of closures.


Before you get to the mountain you want to make sure your bike has been check over by a professional mechanic and is working properly. At Pajarito mountain, we recommend full suspension bikes with disc brakes. Disc brakes have better stopping power than rim brakes and can handle the steep slopes much better.


Make sure you are wearing clothing that you feel comfortable riding in. Padded cycling shorts may feel goofy at first, but can make riding much more comfortable. Wearing pants may cut down on flexibility and may add to chafing, but can help in case of a crash. Pants are not recommended because the bottom can get sucked into the chain and cause a crash. If you are riding with pants we recommend rolling them up at the cuff. We always recommend bringing a jacket that you can carry in a backpack or tie around your waist. It gets much cooler at the top of the mountain than the bottom and while riding downhill you get cold.


Gloves are a must-have while riding. Gloves protect your hands in case of a crash and help you grip the bars over bumps.

Shoes and Pedals

All shoes must be closed toe and protective and have traction with your pedals.

Pedals with cages are not recommended because they can be challenging to get your feet out of if you need to put a foot down quickly.

If you have clipless mountain bike shoes and pedals, make sure you feel comfortable clipping in and out before using them at Pajarito.


Cycling helmets are necessary for riding the terrain at Pajarito. Cycling helmets are different than other types of helmets and using helmets made for other sports for cycling will not protect your head in case of a crash. Cycling helmets are made of a foam that cracks when an impact takes place, while other helmets are made for multiple smaller impacts. Because Cycling helmets are made out of this protective foam that cracks if the foam is already cracked the helmet needs to be replaced. After every impact to the helmet, check the helmet for cracks. Even the smallest crack can make the helmet useless.

There are two types of cycling helmets. There are the standard helmets and there are full face. Standard helmets are fine for intermediate trails, but we do recommend full face helmets for more advanced riding. Full face helmets protect more in the event of a crash.

Full Face helmets are available for rent in the Pajarito rental shop.

Pads and Braces

Pads and Braces are recommended, but not necessary. Arm and knee pads for first timers can help protect against skinned knees. Spine protectors and neck guards can be helpful for more intermediate or advanced riders. Pads and braces are available to rent in the Pajarito rental shop.

Food and Water

Cycling can be very exhausting. Make sure to drink at least one 8 oz bottle of water per hour riding. Bring bars and snacks to munch on and replenish your energy. Food and drinks are available in the Cafe from 11 am-2 pm.

Pro Tip!

Save time by filling out the mountain bike liability form in advance!

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