If you’re into mountain biking, it’s a safe assumption that you’re already comfortable with a baseline amount of danger. But it’s important to know what potential hazards you might confront and how to prepare for them. You want excitement but not injury, calculated risk, not recklessness, an adrenaline rush, not a rush to the Emergency Room.
1. Don’t Skip the Gear
When you’re sporting outside, there is always an element of unpredictability. You might encounter an unexpected change of weather, a sudden confrontation of wildlife, or any random obstacle across your path. It is never a good idea to forego your standard mountain biking gear. At a minimum, you should be outfitted with goggles, a helmet, and pads for knees and elbows. These items will prevent you from some of the most basic types of injuries that you could incur relating to the unexpected hazards in your path.
2. Know Your Trail
When it comes to the sport of mountain biking, there have been many pro cyclists who have suffered severe injuries or even death. This shows that even the most experienced and skilled riders can still find themselves in unfamiliar territory, and the consequences are dire. One way to attempt to avoid any surprises is to do preliminary investigations of the trial. Find out if there are any sudden drops, precarious corners, or tricky turns. Knowing what to expect is a valuable precursor to managing the difficulty with ease.
3. Mind Others on the Trail
Unless you’re biking at the crack of dawn on a random weekday, you’re linking to cross paths with others using and enjoying the same trail. Pedestrians may be reasonably easy to navigate, but other cyclists have the disadvantage of also coming in your direction at speed. Respect the rules of trail sharing and be considerate of others. You may be right about who has the right-of-way, but it doesn’t matter how right you are if you end up in a collision.
4. Embrace the Elements
While it may seem elementary, any outdoor activity requires participants to make accommodations based on the weather. If you’re expecting a sunny day, make sure you are supplied with a sufficient amount of water and sunscreen. If there is rain, be sure that you are dressed appropriately. For colder climates, carefully adapt your clothing so that sweating doesn’t lead to hypothermia. You’ll need moisture-wicking materials to pull the sweat away from the body while also keeping you warm.
5. Maintain Your Equipment
Before embarking on a ride, it’s a good idea to take a look over all your equipment. Remember that the force, vibration, shock, and pressure placed on the bike and the equipment can cause the equipment to grow weak over time. You want to discover any problems in advance of the ride, not as your taking a blind turn with a sudden drop. Any discovery of failing equipment should be taken seriously. Never dismiss a discovery of failing equipment as something to worry about before the next ride. The time to address the failure is immediate.
Now that you’ve had a chance to play through the potential likelihood of encountering these five dangers on your next ride, hopefully, you’ll be better able to adjust, adapt or avoid them, as the situation calls for. Mountain biking qualifies as an extreme sport, but it doesn’t have to risk your safety, only your sanity. “