For those who will be experiencing the thrills of mountain biking for the first time, keeping yourself safe and protected should be first and foremost in your mind. Until you develop the experience, your focus should be on safety first. Mountain biking is a great deal of fun, but it can also be quite dangerous if you get outside your comfort zone and start taking unnecessary chances.
Taking safety seriously in mountain biking is not just for your protection, but also for those who are on the trail as well. A single mishap can turn into a dangerous pile-up if riders are too close together when something goes wrong.
What follows are simple, but highly effective safety tips to help keep your first mountain bike run as safe as possible. Even with all of these safety precautions, it is still possible to slip, fall or even crash when riding, but at least you will be more protected from serious injury.
Wear All Appropriate Safety Equipment
Helmets, knee pads and shoes should be worn at all times. Plus, if you have a particular weak spot like an often injured elbow or ankle, then you’ll want to protect that as well. If you fall, expect a few cuts, scrapes and bruises they will happen, but wearing your helmet may prevent a serious injury in a collision.
Keep Within Yourself
Basically, this means keeping your speed in check at all times. Remember that you are not on a straightaway, but riding across rough terrain with innumerable objects that can cause your bike to go out of control. Obviously, you’ll want to go just fast enough to keep your bike under control, but not so fast that you cannot stop or turn quickly when needed.
Get Familiar with the Trail
Here, riding with a group helps, but until you’ve been on the trail before, you’ll want to keep things at a slower speed. In fact, if you don’t feel confident enough about certain parts of the trail, then go ahead and walk them first. Whatever “shame” you may feel should be more than offset by the fact that you are still safe.
Plan the Trail
If there are maps of the trails that you can take, take a moment to go over them to see if there are sections that may pose a real challenge. You’d rather be prepared beforehand than caught unexpected when reaching that part of the trail.
Use the Right Bike for the Trail
Not all mountain bikes are the same. If your bike is considered inadequate for a particular trail, then don’t ride on it. Stick to the trails that your bike is built for and don’t fall into the temptation to take risks.
Be Careful on Blind Corners
Since you cannot see around a blind corner, slow down and be a little more cautious since you have no idea what might be on the other side.
Stop for Downed Bikers
If you come across someone who has clearly crashed, stop before you reach them. Almost all of the time they will be okay, but you don’t want to take any chances by riding through until they see and acknowledge you.
Following these tips will help keep you safer when mountain biking. Experience will make these skills second nature, so be sure to start off thinking safety first when riding.