Mountain biking is considered a sport and a hobby for a lot of bike enthusiasts. Considering that you have to traverse different terrains to travel to different trails, it takes a lot of skill, endurance, balance, and strength to navigate a mountain bike. Although they are specially designed to handle different kinds of rides and treks, safety concerns are still the top priority for veterans and especially for beginners.
With that said, there are inherent risks that come with mountain biking, like many other sports do. This can be especially intimidating to first-time riders as the learning curve can be different for everyone according to their skill level and capability. Practice and exploration are always good ways to get better at it, though.
Before anything else, heed these basic mountain-biking safety guidelines for beginners.
Wear Your Helmet Always
Those who ride their bikes on the street always wear a helmet, so this should go without saying for mountain bikers. Wearing a helmet is not optional, but mandatory.
The helmet should properly fit your head, and if it doesn’t, it should be adjusted well because it is one of the most critical safeguards you have when you encounter an unfortunate accident on a particularly difficult terrain.
Familiarize Body/Seating Positions
The key to enduring long trails on your bike is knowing how to utilize body positions to help you go through it. There are two major body positions, neutral, which is useful for more flat sections of the trail, and the ready position for the rockier and steeper parts. Knowing how to use and transition to these positions will greatly help you in your mountain-biking adventure.
Your seating position can also influence how smoothly you can execute the needed body position. Positioning your seat correctly can allow you to ascend steep slopes or descend them. It is encouraged to experiment with different seating positions so you can see which ones work the best for you.
Wear Correct Gear
There are certain kinds of biking gear that will help protect you from injuries, especially as a beginner. There will be times when you would fall off the bike or suffer from scratches here and there because of the terrain, so it’s best to be protected. The protective gear you will need includes gloves, protective glasses, riding shorts, and shoes.
It is important for you to have the items that are specifically for mountain biking, specially designed for riders. These items are also tested with the conditions of biking in mind. It is also important to have water on hand with you always to prevent dehydration.
Know Basic First Aid
Having first aid knowledge is definitely something that everyone should have because it will come in handy in certain situations. As you know that biking has its risks, it pays to have this skill because you never know when the situation calls for it.
There are courses you can take and basic books and guidelines you can read so you’ll learn how to do first aid. It is also necessary to have a first aid kit with you when you bike as well.
Mountain trails can be busy on their own with thousands of trees and foliage everywhere, and it can be pretty easy to get lost and/or lose sight of your companions. It is recommended to wear bright clothing when you’re out in the woods because it helps other riders and those who are in the forest see you better. You can make yourself even more visible especially at night by wearing a LED safety belt as it reflects any light as well as give you some vision of wherever you are going.
Before Anything Else
Mountain biking is a huge undertaking for any cyclist, pro or not. It is important to train yourself first so you know your limits while traversing through the landscape. A good way to know your output as a cyclist is to use a decent power meter. They’re handy devices that can be easily installed on your bike so that it can gauge your power as a cyclist. The data collected can be used for your training as well.
Awareness Is Important
It’s easy to get overwhelmed especially if you’re not very used to the hobby or sport. Practice mindfulness, and always be aware of your body, your surroundings, and what happens around you. Always ride with someone or a group if you lack experience, because accidents may happen at any time.
What are the most important safety guidelines that mountain-biking beginners should know? Share your thoughts below.