Even though mountain biking is one of the most fun and risky sports you can participate in, it’s essential to take the proper safety precautions. We’re confident that most mountain bikers would agree that taking chances is a big part of making the sport so enjoyable. It is, nonetheless, essential for beginners to learn fundamental mountain biking safety. We’ve compiled a list of the most crucial mountain bike safety guidelines that all riders, regardless of skill level, should keep in mind at all times.
Always wear a helmet.
Wearing a helmet is the most critical piece of mountain biking safety advice. If you lose control of your bike, crash, or misjudge the height of a branch, your helmet is an essential safety item you own because it lowers your chance of catastrophic head injury by over 70%. Mountain biking is a dangerous sport that can result in life-altering brain injuries, so you must wear a helmet to protect your head.
Irrespective of how unpleasant or irritating it may be, you must wear a helmet whenever you’re riding your bike.
Wear the proper riding gear.
It would help if you considered purchasing additional items in addition to your helmets, such as the best riding gear for your needs and extra safety gear and accessories. As far as mountain biking gear is concerned, safety and comfort should be your primary considerations, so use whatever aids you in focusing on your ride.
Your hands will be protected from scuffs and cuts, thanks to some gloves.
It’s important to wear the right shoes to have a good grip on your pedals and don’t get your laces caught in the chain.
Safeguard your eyes from the sun and flying debris while riding by wearing protective glasses.
Even if you don’t plan to ride on rough terrain, you’ll be glad you have padded shorts, knee pads, elbow pads, and body armour when you do fall off your bike.
Carry a first-aid kit.
The possibility of head injuries such as fractures or severe gashes is an even stronger reason to always wear your helmet while cycling over rocky or forested terrain. According to anecdotal evidence, mountain bikers don’t always bring their first aid kit. A triangular bandage can be utilized to make a sling if you break your collarbone, which is common among mountain bikers and other outdoor athletes. Aside from bandages and plasters, additional first aid supplies such as antiseptic wipes, latex gloves, and pain relievers can also be beneficial.
A mountain biker’s ability to perform basic first aid in an emergency can mean the difference between life and death. There’s no reason to be ignorant when numerous courses and books on basic first aid are available, both in print and online.
A small first aid kit can be kept in your bag or even attached to the frame of your bike, so you don’t have to worry about it getting in the way while you’re on the go!
Riding within the range of your abilities is the best way to go.
If a section of the trail seems too tricky, rely on your judgment rather than the advice of your companions. There is no shame in making wise decisions, mainly if they help you and other mountain bikers stay safe. Skill recognition improves as you walk through more trail sections. You’ll eventually be able to ride all of those previously forbidden sections. It’s not the place to see how far you can push your abilities. To ride safely, you must always be aware of your limits. Stop and reflect when you come across a trail section. You don’t have to follow the advice of your friends who constantly push you to your limits. Consider walking if this is something you have never done before. Make no secret of the fact that you’re protected.
Consider Your Hydration Needs.
During the entire trip, make sure you stay well-hydrated. In the summer, water becomes a lot more critical. Ensure that you have enough water on you at all times. Hydration packs are preferable to traditional water bottles in this day and age. More water can be carried in them when compared to bottles. With the help of your bike’s frame, these hydration packs can be attached. Make sure you’re adequately hydrated before you begin your ride.
Get familiar with the trail.
First-timers should proceed cautiously on the trail. Be careful not to be swayed by others into taking risks that could endanger yourself or your friends. If your riding skills aren’t up to the challenges that lie ahead, it’s a good idea to take some extra precautions if you come across any rocks, roots, drops, or other hazards. You can learn more about this trail by taking it slow, looking around blind corners, and always keeping an eye on the path ahead of you. If you’ve never ridden the course before, you should never assume you know what to expect.
Bring a few tools and learn the basics of bicycle maintenance.
When you’re out riding, it’s always a good idea to have a small tool kit and a pump on hand if you get a flat, break your chain, or need to adjust your brakes or gears. It is possible to carry a basic tool kit, including a puncture repair kit, spare inner tubes, tire levers, allen key set, spoke key, chain link extractor, in a saddle pack or a backpack.
Use your common sense.
The best way to avoid situations that aren’t ideal is to use your common sense and intuition to avoid them. With good riding habits and a realistic assessment of your abilities and potential limits, mountain biking can be enjoyed safely, like many other physical activities. Any ride you complete and return from is a good ride because of your riding abilities and trail knowledge.
Avoid getting lost.
Keep your phone, GPS device, or compass handy when riding in an unfamiliar area, just in case. Let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to be back if you’re going solo. It’s best to ride at a moderate speed on unknown sections, so you have time to react safely if anything unexpected happens.
Check to see if your bike is up to the task.
Prevent yourself from getting into trouble by thoroughly inspecting your mountain bike before heading out on the trail. Top of the list should be your brakes, as the ability to stop swiftly and safely is critical. To keep your bike running smoothly, regularly inspect the tires, chain, and mechanics for loose or broken parts. Be aware of changes in the road, and if something seems amiss, stop and investigate. Having some essential spares and a puncture repair kit with you will ensure that you aren’t stranded and forced to walk a long way home.
Prof. Stuart Willick, MD, heads a sports medicine research team at the University of Utah Orthopaedic Centre that tracks hundreds of injuries sustained by mountain bikers who number in the tens of thousands. Research conducted by Dr. Willick’s team has identified many factors that contribute to injuries. Being aware of these hazards can help you stay safe while riding your bike.
More injuries occur on downhill sections of the trail than on flat or uphill sections of the course, so use extra caution on those. Crashing is frequently linked to driving too fast. When a rider falls over the handlebars and hits their head, they can sustain some of the most severe injuries. On the other hand, flat and uphill trails can still be dangerous, so you can’t let your guard down.
Many crashes occur on turns, especially on a downhill and loose soil or loose rock sections of the track. To prevent “washing out” on bends, practice good riding tactics and keep your tires properly filled.
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