Bike Code: Trail etiquette for mountain bikers
How often do you spot rude or selfish bikers on the trails of Richmond? How about teaching them some manners? Here is a trail etiquette synopsis from the International Mountain Bike Association and the Southern Offroad Bicycle Association, as translated by Blue Ridge Outdoors: Yield Appropriately. That means you need to be warning people that […]
How often do you spot rude or selfish bikers on the trails of Richmond? How about teaching them some manners?
Here is a trail etiquette synopsis from the International Mountain Bike Association and the Southern Offroad Bicycle Association, as translated by Blue Ridge Outdoors:
Yield Appropriately. That means you need to be warning people that you’re about to come flying up on them while they are quietly photographing dragonflies. By the way, all pedestrians have the right of way, whether on the road or in the woods. You, being a high-speed weapon, doesn’t mean they better “watch out!” Know to watch out around the turns. Look for oncoming traffic, just like you would in a car.
Bicyclists traveling downhill should yield to ones headed uphill, unless the trail is clearly signed for one-way or downhill-only traffic. I think I’m going to make bumper stickers and jerseys that say this. People seem to be very confused about this simple and obvious rule. When someone is sucking wind, why ever would you expect them to stop, let alone restart on an incline?!
Try not to ride the trails when they are too wet. It causes erosion and damages the trail. This means that even if the day after flooding is sunny and warm and you’re itching to ride, either hit the road or some high elevation where it’s not likely to be a quagmire. Take note that well-built trails will drain quicker.
Ride in the middle of the trail and learn to pedal over the obstacles – fallen trees, roots, rocks, etc. Going around that stuff means the trail will become wider, because the next lazy rider will do the same thing. Getting off the bike is the way to go if it’s too technical, but why not take a learning opportunity and go back and do it again until you’re able? And God forbid, don’t go ripping out vegetation that happens to be in the way of your minimal skill level.
Do not create a bypass trail around a fallen tree. Land managers hate this. It’s far more fun to fall off the top of such a tree, precariously teetering across your big ring. It’s especially useless to reach the ground at this point. However, it’s a great idea to lift and fling your bike over it. After all of that, just call a trail advocate to report it.
Ride on open trails only. No poaching. Even if you’re ultra-cool.
Control your bicycle. If you can’t stop to greet the other trail users, you’re far too cool of a punk and deserve a spanking. SORBA goes on to say, “Good balance and proper braking are essential mountain biking skills.”
Always yield the trail. Slow down, establish communication with the people you meet, and pass safely. Flinging sweat on them as you scream past bouncing high-speed rocks against their shins is definitely a form of communication, but not the most polite one we’re looking for…
Never scare animals. It doesn’t matter if it’s a horse, fox, cow, deer, elk or mountain lion. Are you kidding me?! Just who’s house do you think you’re in, anyway? Remember that people and animals who are scared do not offer stellar behavior.
Leave no trace. That means, no skid marks, no flung dirt, no gel wrappers, no deep tire marks, no banana peels and apple cores. DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS.
Plan ahead. Treat your hydration pack like your lifeline. Not only should you always have a spare tube and pump, but you should have a rain jacket, which is also a great wind barrier should you end up spending the night, antihistamines for stings, solid food, a set of Allen wrenches, a navigational tool, and a whistle.
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