Typically, biking, running and hiking are most suitable for an off-road experience.
Trail Biking Safety
• Equipment: Road bikes are not well-suited for trail cycling. Mountain bikes are equipped with wide, densely treaded tires that are able to grip rugged terrain. The gearing of a mountain bike is also unique and allows for steep climbs and descents. The braking systems and handlebar grips are also safely positioned.
• Protective clothing: Helmets are always imperative when cycling to avoid catastrophic injury — even the most experienced mountain bikers wear helmets. Other protective clothing includes gloves, elbow and knee pads. The rule in off-road cycling is that falling should be expected as part of the experience. Brightly colored clothing is also advisable when riding in areas that may be shared by hunters.
• Knowledge: Try to use trails that you are familiar with or study the area on a posted map before entering a wooded area. A compass or GPS device is a wise investment. A cell phone or other communication device is helpful.
• Group ride: It is best to travel with others when going off-road, and stay together as a group. This is important from the standpoint of safety as well as adding an aspect of socialization.
• Nourishment: Water and energy bars are worth bringing along. Fatigue can be very dangerous and a rider shouldn’t hesitate to take a break for rest and nourishment.
Safety should always be the highest priority in any sport, even when they border on the extreme. Next week we’ll discuss trail running and hiking.