Mountain Biking

Whether you ride Downhill, XC, All Mountain/Enduro, Dirt Jumps, Trials, or Urban/Street, you've experience the excitement, challenges, pains, and victories that we know as mountain biking. There are many styles of bikes and many disciplines associated with them, each one with its own communities but every one filled with a passion that starts with getting on a bike.

Mountain biking is fast gaining popularity with people of all ages, genders, backgrounds, and athletic abilities. Young children are finding new adventure on small trails and local pump tracks. For many young adults, it's a hobby that allows them to get outside and cover some ground, while getting some good exercise, and feeling the adrenaline pumping in the process. There's no age cap either. Senior citizens alike are taking to the trails, often outdoing their younger competitors as they enjoy a pastime that provides recreation and keeps them young.

Cities and counties are jumping on the bandwagon turning dormant property into mountain bike parks and trail systems that provide recreation for those in their community and even bring in tourism. All of that for the cost of clearing some brush and moving some dirt.

Etiquette

Never modify trail features. Trails were built how they are for a reason. Difficult spots for you may be features for somebody else. People enjoy riding chunky trail, huge drops, small berms, and often even logs on the trail. If you think you have an exception to this rule, find out who manages the trail and get permission before you "fix" somebody's favorite feature.

Always ride at your appropriate level. Riding a trail you're not ready for is dangerous to you, others, and even the trail. Check trail maps and signs to know what to expect and make sure it's something you can safely do.

IMBA trail difficulty levels

Courtesy of IMBA

Ride trails when they're dry. Riding trails muddy often leads to deep ruts cut into the trail where they shouldn't be.

Stay on the trail. Leaving the trail creates new trails where there shouldn't be trails. Going around a mud hole just creates bigger and bigger mud holes for future riders. Ride what's there and don't be afraid to walk if you can't ride it out.

Don't block the trail. Taking a break or just getting out of the way is the exception to the rule. It's okay to get you and your bike off the trail for a minute to clear the trail for others.

Speak up. When you see others on the trail, let them know you're there. Be friendly and greet people and expect that somebody may be around any blind corner. Mountain bikes move fast and if you're not expecting it, can be quite scary. What would you think if you were on a peaceful hike in the woods and all of the sudden some big dark object comes barreling out of nowhere?

Share the Trail. Mountain bikers yield to hikers, horses, and uphill traffic of any kind. Yielding means you that you slow down or stop to allow others to pass easily. Slow down, communicate, and be prepared to stop if needed. This may kill your flow, your Strava time, or your land speed record but having a good relationship with others on the trail means more access to more trails.

When passing

Hikers:

  1. Greet hikers early
  2. Slow down to about the same speed as the hiker
  3. Pass slowly and be prepared to stop if necessary
  4. Expect the unexpected. Humans and animals can be unpredictable or easily spooked by cyclists.

Cyclists:

  1. Announce your intention to pass with a friendly "Let me know when it's safe to pass."
  2. Use the singletrack yield on narrow trail — stop to the side, put one foot down, and lean away from the trail.

Horses:

  1. Stop at least 30 feet from the horse.
  2. Greet the equestrian and the horse to demonstrate that you are a human, and not a predator.
  3. Ask for instruction on how to pass safely. Offer to get off your bike.
  4. Pass slowly and steadily, but only after the equestrian gives you the go-ahead. Sudden movements can spook a horse.

Courtesy of ridgetorivers.org