8 Things You Need To Know About Trail Riding
The number one concern among every cyclist should be safety. Whether you are a beginner, or an elite athlete, let’s face it, accidents happen. Thousands of cyclists are injured every year, and hundreds killed in accidents that often are associated with cars and other vehicles. One way to ride safer is to stay off the road, and find your nearest bike trail. Riding on a bike trail has benefits, such as safety, here are the top 8 things you need to know.
SCHEELS Cycling Expert: Mike Ritzer
1. Amenities galore.
Most trails offer maps for directionally challenged individuals. Trails will usually display a map to show you where you will go and how many miles you can ride. If you are lucky, your local trail will have water and restroom stops, and maybe even end somewhere to grab a well deserved bite to eat!
2. Take it easy.
Trails are often narrow and have a lot of twists and turns. Be ready to have a slower average MPH on trail rides.
3. Be mindful of others enjoying the trail.
This is another reason why cyclists cannot often ride too fast on the trail. Be ready to weave around people and other cyclists. Always pass someone on the left if possible.
4. Shade is your friend!
One great thing about riding on the trail is that you will often be in the shade! This can be a win on a very hot day.
5. Be ready to ride solo or single file.
It is nearly impossible to ride in a large group on a trail. In fact, doing so will turn trail riding into a more dangerous situation than on the road! If you plan to ride in a group, try to keep the groups small and be sure to ride single file. Let those behind you know if an obstacle is up ahead or someone is passing.
6. Communication is key.
Cycling lingo is just as critical on the trail as on the road. Become familiar with these terms for passing and when to use them on the trail: “Bike(s) back”, “Bike(s) on your left” and “Bike(s) passing on your left”. Become familiar with these terms when riding with your friends to avoid an accident: “Runner (or walker) up”, “Dog up”, “Squirrel, rabbit, deer, etc.” and “Slowing”.
7. Beware of the dog.
Dogs spook very easily and I have heard horror stories of cyclist getting caught up in a leash. Don’t assume the dog knows you are passing, if they are friendly, or that they don’t want to chase you. Slow down and let the dog owner get control of their dog before you safely pass.
8. Enjoy it!
The trail system is a great way to enjoy the outdoors! Whether you are biking, running or walking, keep it fun and safe!