Mountain Biking in the Wild: Safety Advice and Useful Tips

02
Aug
2019

Cycling in the wild is an excellent way to get in touch with nature in its rawest form. Nothing challenges the body more than being taken out of its comfort zone and nothing is quite as uniquely exhilarating as meeting the open air as cold wind stings your cheeks and finding solace in the wilderness without the need to compete for a designated path. Well, as exciting as it sounds, this is the most dangerous form of biking so far. Whether mountain biking alone or with your buddies on holiday, it is always important to remember the basics that will keep your cycling both fun and safe.

Here are some safety tips for you on your next destination.

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Before heading out on a bike ride, there are a few things you should do to make sure that your bicycle is safe. There are qualified bike mechanics around who could perform these steps to avoid further problems on the trail. It is important to check that the tires are properly aligned and the pressure inside it is correct. This can be done by observing the feel of the tire and how much it bulges against the ground. The brakes are equally important. Make sure they can hold firmly without slipping or squealing. The chains should be in perfect condition too. Should there be some surface rust, cleaning and re-lubricating it can easily solve the problem. You may try by spinning the cranks in different directions and observe if the chain moves freely. Ideally it turns quietly without grinding. If it doesn’t, apply some lubricant. Check the weather forecast before finally deciding to leave and you may not push if the condition appears unfavorable. There’s always another day.

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Some people feel that wearing a helmet can be itchy or uncomfortable except that it protects our head. It is your first line of defense against road accidents so it is wise to invest in a good quality helmet that does not slip through the head very easily. A good helmet is one that perfectly fits the head and the side straps are easily pulled or loosened to give enough space for comfortable breathing and movement.

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Biking unfamiliar destinations can be unpredictable. The choice of accessories will depend on factors such as the weather, terrain and time, among others.  You may need a pair of durable and high-quality gloves to protect your hands because vibration and friction between the hands and bicycle’s handlebars can lead to blisters and sweating. A pair of gloves can reduce irritations and discomfort. Since you are not in a competitive biking race, check the laces of your shoes that they are well tucked in to avoid accidents. Wear several layers of clothing, including waterproof ones. Depending on the location, elbow pads and knee pads will make good a protection in the mountains.

Bring Plenty of Water

Good hydration is important before, during and after strenuous activity. Because your body will lose water through breathing and sweating, you need to rehydrate by drinking plenty of liquids. Water helps to regulate your body temperature and lubricates your cells, organs, tissues, muscles and joints. You don’t want to drink any water out there. So make sure you have enough for the duration of your biking to avoid dehydration.

Presence of Mind

Whether you are biking alone or with some friends, inform your family where you are going and when you will be expected to be back. Familiarize the paths along your routes and have a contingency plan in case of emergency. Bring some medicines, compass, flashlight and a fully charged mobile phone with extra batteries. Pay attention to warning sign boards, trail closings and openings, and maintain presence of mind. Plan your routes ahead of time so you can avoid nightfall in case you encounter problems along your path or with your bike.

Are You Ready

You just bought a bike and all of a sudden, you thought you were ready to go mountain biking next week. Not that fast. A good biker gives enough time for physical and mental preparation. You may have to evaluate the risks involved and its consequences. Breaking some bones far away from medical facilities may not be worth it after all. Additionally, riding in a group may cause some delays for others too. Know your strengths to minimize the risk you will give to yourself and the group.

Biking is a wonderful form of exercise and doing it in uncharted locations makes it even more fulfilling. With safety in mind and adherence to established biking rules, no doubt you will be making yourself proud in the end.

Photo c/o https://unsplash.com/photos/pa0rr3rVB-U

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