Crank up the safety for trail rides

Things started out well on Jim’s mountain bike excursion. He cranked through the first few gentle, rolling hills with ease. Then, the trail narrowed to single-track. Trees and low-hanging branches got closer, and Jim gripped the handlebars a little tighter. On a steep incline that featured a mixed bag of roots, ruts, and rocks, Jim came to the conclusion that he was in well over his helmeted head.

With safety being a focus this month (May is National Bicycle Safety Month), it’s important to note the unique safety precautions trail riding requires. At the top of that list, as our friend Jim can attest to, is a firm understanding of the trail and what it demands from riders. Choose trails that match your riding abilities. Highly technical
trails require many more skills from riders than just pedal power.

Other tips to ensure your trail experience is a good one:

•  Wear a helmet. This is non-negotiable for any ride, but particularly on trails.

•  Make sure all equipment is in good working condition and tires are inflated to the correct pressure. Loose or worn bike parts can quickly lead to broken body parts.

•  Plan accordingly. Make sure to have all the supplies needed for the length/type of ride you have planned. Items to consider packing are simple bike tools, water, food, cell phone, trail map, and compass.

•  Be aware of the trail conditions. Recent rain or snow can have a major impact on trails. Know what you’re in for before saddling up. It’s always a good idea to chat with riders coming off the trails to hear what they encountered.
To find trails in your area, visit the sites below.