South Africans are spoilt with loads of epic mountain trails to venture along and if mountain biking is your sport of choice you might already know that there are certain dangers out there to be prepared for.
Whether you’re a novice or a pro mountain biker, the guys at Arrive Alive have shared some important safety advice to help you avoid any troubles…
Preparation for riding the trail
The first steps to safety start long before you get on the bike! It is often said that being smart and using common sense can go a long way to preventing injury! Advice during the preparation phase should include:
- Be aware of the weather. Check the latest reports and determine how the weather will affect the trail.
- There is strength in numbers – Don’t ride alone, particularly in remote areas. In case someone is injured, it’s best to be with at least two other people, one to get help and one to care for the injured rider.
- Fellow riders will also help to protect against possible criminality and bike-jacking.
- Always study a map of the trail before you go riding, know the possible challenges and how long your trip might be – don’t get caught unprepared for a steep incline, tricky terrain or darkness.
- Know where you are and where you’re going – inform friends or family where you will be riding and when you expect to return.
- Plan a ride to finish before nightfall just in case you have bike problems or you go a little off route.
- Plan exit routes as well, so if there are problems at any of the stages of your trip, you are able to confidently decide the quickest and safest way to services that you need.
- If it is a new trail it is more important to take a map, compass and / or GPS unit. If the weather changes, things can look very different in the fog or rain.
- Plan for a worst case scenario – always carry a mobile phone or another type of communication device for emergencies. Make a note of the relevant telephone numbers for emergency services.
- Check that batteries are charged or that you have spare batteries.
- Be well prepared with enough food, water, and equipment to last in case of emergency.
- Keep the trail safe for others by letting those who maintain the trail and other riders know when conditions change or new hazards appear.
- Emergencies could leave you stranded on the trail, so carry a pack with a first aid kit, a light, spare bulbs and batteries, rain gear, a reflective blanket and your bike repair tools: a pump, wrench, Y-socket tool, multi-tool, Allen keys, tire levers, and spare tires and tubes.
For more tips and advice to stay safe on your mountain biking adventures, check out Arrive Alive’s website.