Have you ever stopped to think about why there are so many incredible mountain bike trails in popular riding destinations? The answer is in the PEOPLE! The spine-tingling descents, beautifully banked berms, and treed loamy ribbons are all likely due to people mountain biking responsibly. These mostly volunteer stewards are maintaining and building the future of our sport.
It’s up to all of us to mountain bike responsibly and choose to represent our sport positively, especially the organizations involved in making our riding so great.
Why Mountain Biking Responsibly is SO Important
Trail usage has grown in popularity, making it more critical than ever to be responsible mountain bikers. As a result, the time has come to work together for the love of riding if we wish to maintain our future access. Our conduct as a user group can open the doors for needed trail maintenance, new trails, and better access. Working together, we can have the trails of our dreams without congestion, mud pits, and with never-ending good times!
Our integrity as riders is imperative if we desire continued access to the best mountain bike trails.
We’ve got to step up together to send the right messages. By working as a united group, the future of having fantastic places to ride can be a reality. I mean, who doesn’t like riding a super fun, well-maintained epic backcountry loop? Being involved with local advocacy groups and mountain biking responsibly is key to the future of our sport.
Responsible Mountain Biking 101
- Be nice. Saying hello and have a nice day goes a long way!
- Ride in control, slow down/yield to other users, do not skid. Other trail users are often startled by bikes and think we are out of control. Slow down without skidding and give them plenty of warning. It only takes a few seconds.
- Choose appropriate trails or dirt roads when conditions are wet. You contribute to erosion and accelerated wear on your bike when riding in the wet.
- Join your local advocacy efforts! If you care about your trails, advocacy is super essential. Becoming a member, volunteering for events, or trail work are great ways to start! There are plenty of ways you may not have thought of to become involved.
- Be respectful of your local advocacy group. In most cases, people advocating and working on the trail are volunteers and trying to do the best they can. Be positive and boost their efforts, even if they are not executing on 100% of your objectives.
- Do NOT cut trails; build new trails or CHANGE trails to suit your desires. You are not the only user, and those turns, rocks, and roots are there for a reason! Just because you think a trail should be a certain way does not mean it should be.
- Ride trails that are only open to mountain biking. Riding illegal trails significantly impacts our sport and likely causes doors to close future trail expansion for mountain biking. (See #5 and learn how to get trails built where and how you want them!)
- Know the rules. Know the rules on unleashed dogs, e-bikes, yielding to other users, passing, not wearing headphones in addition to the IMBA Rules of the Trail.
- Leave No Trace. Preserve the experience for the next person.
Be nice, slow down and say something nice!
Most of us are out on the trail to unwind, relax, or get fit. Controlling speed and positive interactions go a long way toward being a steward for our sport and the future of trail access. A hostile confrontation can significantly impact the positive ride vibes, so be nice!
Notice the people who make this sport unique, including your fellow trail users. Together we can create great communities to live and ride. Being responsible is a simple option if we want quality trail access and experiences in the future.
Call to Action:
- Join your local mountain bike organization if you have not already.
- Join IMBA (International Mountain Bike Association) is the largest governing body going to bat for us.
Food for thought: What things detract from your positive ride vibes? I’d love to hear your comments below.