Safety first, always. Regardless of what kind of activity you practice or how often you do it, you need to make sure you’re always in line with what is required to ensure your safety. You can think of it this way: even if you’re completely certain your skills and level allow you to disregard some requirements, you’re most likely not doing it alone. While mountain biking, for instance, you will certainly meet other riders on the trail, and there is no way of knowing how well or poorly they will handle the passing-by. Next thing you know, you’re both on the ground, and you end up hurting yourself because you weren’t wearing any protection! While you can’t necessarily avoid accidents, you can make sure you’re protected when they occur, so follow these tips and you can rest assured you’ve done your part when it comes to safety.
You will crash
First things first, prepare for the worst and expect the best! Crashes are unavoidable in mountain biking, and that’s the attitude you should bring to ever since mountain bike ride with you. That way you can make sure that you’ve not only taken all necessary precautions when it comes to wearing the right gear, but also are able to properly judge the situation. Good piece of advice – look at everything with a “risk vs reward” approach. Is that steep and crumbling part of the trail really worth a shot? What happens if I fall? This brings us to the next section.
Scout the trail
A big part of why mountain biking is so appealing is that you can put in everything you have when it comes to strength into that ride. But before you do that, you need to make sure the ground can support it. Mountain bike trails are notorious for being extremely narrow at times, which is completely understandable. That’s why before any serious mountain bike ride you should first either hike or slowly ride the trail and take notice of the surface area, dangerous drops, fallen objects or blind corners. When you get a clear picture of how safe or risky the trail is, you can make judgements on how want to proceed.
Ride what you can
Don’t overdo it. Some trails might seem perfectly easy from the first sight, especially when you see all those mountain bikers racing down the hill, but there is always a chance they have years of experience under their belt and compete in international mountain biking competitions. Bottom line, if you’re any kind of new to the sport, stick to trails that get maintained often, are officially mapped out and their difficulty is announced either on a brochure or a stand at the starting point.
Get the right gear
There is probably no way of being exciting about this, but you must wear a helmet. Even if you don’t think its cool, everyone who’s serious about any sport knows that protection is in fact the coolest thing you can do because it is evident, you’re learning something new or trying some serious rides. On top of that, get a mountain bike that was designed for the surface you’re riding on and get knee, elbow protections as well as an appropriate outfit.