Mountain Biking UK
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How you can help everyone have a good time outdoors
We’re thrilled by the boom in mountain biking over the past year or so, but that does come with consequences. Local woodlands and other natural spaces are being accessed by more people than ever before – not just higher numbers of folk on bikes, but dogwalkers, runners, horse riders and walkers, too – and that can easily lead to conflicts of interest. Most people are happy to share outdoor spaces, but there are always going to be a few curmudgeonly sorts. And with fresh tracks being dug in all over the place and more riders on the trails, arguments over access and incidents of trail sabotage seem to be on the rise. Which makes it all the more important to maintain a good relationship with fellow riders and other outdoors types. This comes down to being friendly and considerate, really, and using a bit of common sense. Overleaf we’ve set out a few of the unwritten rules for freshly-fledged mountain bikers when out and about in the great British countryside...
MTBDO’S 01 RESPECT PEOPLE’S HARD WORK
If a trail feature is too di cult for you, don’t change it to suit you, and if you find a sculpted berm, don’t session it to death until it’s destroyed.
02 TAKE YOUR LITTER HOME WITH YOU
Your tyre tracks should be the only sign left behind – food wrappers or anything else you’ve carried in need to be taken home with you.
03 EXPECT NON-RIDERS ON THE TRAILS
Unless you’re at a dedicated trail centre or bike park, other people have as much right to be there as you, even if they’re on tracks used primarily for riding. Slow down, say hello, and if you need to give way, do so politely. It’s not just your trail, even if you made it.
04 STICK TO THE TRACK
Riding around puddles just widens the hole and causes more trail erosion, giving us MTBers a bad rep. And what rider minds a bit of muddy water anyway?
05 BE CAUTIOUS AROUND HORSES
Horses are easily frightened and can rear up or back away if startled, potentially injuring themself or their rider, which is one tricky situation to argue your way out of. Also, you don’t want to spook the animal and get kicked. Call out to the rider and ask if it’s safe to pass. Remember – horses and walkers have right of way on bridleways.
06 STOP AND CHECK
If you see someone with a mechanical or other problem, always ask if you can help.
07 LAUGH AT YOUR MATES’ MISERY
If your mate crashes and they’re unhurt, it’s totally acceptable to laugh at their misfortune. Just expect them to return the favour when it’s you crumpled in a pile on the ground!
MTBDONT’S 01 BLOCK THE TRAIL
If you need to stop for a rest, drink or trailside repair, move to the side of the track and leave space for others to pass. The same applies if you’re waiting for your mates at the start or end of a trail.
02 LOOK TOO SMUG ON YOUR E-BIKE!
Especially when you’re overtaking other riders uphill.
03 RIDE FULL-GAS ON TWO-WAY TRAILS
Save that for bike parks or one-way trail centres. The same goes for path crossings – slow down for them.
04 CUT CORNERS OR TAKE STRAVA LINES.
Not only are you doing a disservice to your riding skills, you’re also creating more damage to the trails and undoing someone’s hard work.
05 PARK LIKE AN IDIOT
If you have to drive to the trails, there often isn’t much space in woodland car parks or laybys so be considerate and leave room for others.
06 ‘TAILGATE’ SLOWER RIDERS
It can be intimidating and even make them crash. Maintain a healthy distance until they pull over or it’s safe to overtake.
07 RIDE CLOSED TRAILS
This is less of a problem outside of bike parks, but it’s probably closed for a good reason.
08 TAKE THINGS TOO SERIOUSLY
You’re essentially playing on a kid’s toy in the woods!