Outdoor Pursuits - Mountain Biking
Mountain biking is a recreational sport that uses specially designed bicycles for riding on off-road tracks and rough terrain. Mountain bikes have enhanced durability and give high performance over unforgiving ground, compared with ordinary bikes.
Mountain bikes usually have front fork or dual suspension, pronounced tread patterns in their tyres and a flat or upwardly rising handlebar. Low gears facilitate climbing steep hills and traversing obstacles, and they often use disc brakes and have a small, reinforced frame. Mountain bikes tend to be heavier than touring bikes due to their off-road capabilities and enhanced durability.
The International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) has a set of rules that are designed to minimise environmental impact, as well as promote good relations between all trail users. These rules are recognized throughout the mountain biking world as the standard code of conduct:
Mountain Bike Tips
1. Ride On Open Trails Only. Do not trespass, obtain permits and avoid closed trails/roads.
2. Leave No Trace. Practice low impact cycling and try to cause as little damage as possible.
3. Control Your Bicycle. Obey all speed regulations and recommendations.
4. Always Yield. Slow down, establish communication, be prepared to stop if necessary and pass safely.
5. Never Scare Animals. Give animals extra room when passing and don’t startle them. Leave gates as you find them or as marked. Sheep or cattle worrying can be an offence, as can disturbing wildlife.
6. Plan Ahead. Know your equipment, ability and the area in which you are riding. Carry supplies for changes in weather and other conditions.
Remember, mountain biking can be very dangerous so safety is always your number one priority. Follow these tips written by experienced mountain bikers to ensure your safety:
- Get and wear a helmet. All serious mountain bikers wear one and, it could save your life. Also invest in mountain biking gloves, a hydrating system (or at least a water bottle), sunglasses or goggles, bike shorts with padding and a basic repair kit with a multi-tool, mini-pump and a puncture repair kit.
- Never ride beyond your abilities. Walk sections of the trail if you don’t feel confident to ride them.
- Use appropriate equipment for the terrain. Some bikes are better for different situations.
- Keep your speed in check. Always ride at a speed that allows you to adjust for any unforeseen obstacles or changes in trail conditions.
- Know the trail. If you don’t know a trail don’t push your limits.
- Slow down for blind corners. If you can’t see, then you don’t know what’s there.
- Stop and look. If sections look challenging, stop and take stock for a moment.
- Plan on the crash. Think about how a crash might end on any given section of trail.
- Start small, go big. Work your way up to obstacles and stunts. Try easier or slower versions first.
- Play it smart. Trust your instincts. If you think what you are doing is stupid then don’t do it as it probably is.
The Forestry Commission have lists of many, beautiful trails throughout England, Scotland and Wales on their website.
Cycling / Cycles and Bike Products click here for a full list.
Manufacture of Bicycles click here for a full list.
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