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Zen Bike Blog

May 29, 2020

Mountain Bike Off-Road Cycling Safety Tips

There are a few things more refreshing than riding along a forest trail. The air is fresh, and there is less traffic. While there, you get to interact with nature and relieve stress from a long day at work.

But the forest has its share of dangers. You do not want to come out of your cycling session robbed, with malaria or any other disease, with bruises from a fall, or with big cat bites. Worse yet, you do not want to never come back home.

Cycling is one of the healthiest forms of exercise, but you need to be safe while at it.

Safety Gear First

Before you think of the dangers that come with the forest, think of the rough terrain that you will have to face in forest trails. A helmet should be a no-brainer, but many novice bikers choose to ignore it. A helmet can make you feel hot, itchy, and uncomfortable, but you need to have it on all the time.

Besides the helmet, you need to have the right comfortable sports shoes on, gloves to keep your hands safe from scratches, protective glasses to keep your eyes safe from the sun and debris. Because forest trails can be rough, you also need to invest in padded shorts, knee and elbow pads, and shin protection.

Bike Health Second

Your bike should be well-maintained whether you are riding in town or along forest trails. When cycling forest trails, your bike needs to be in tip-top shape to tackle trails that seem so challenging. However, note that if you are starting out riding, there is no shame in walking and pushing your bike if the forest trails get so rough. 

Before heading out, ensure that your bike is up to the task, or it will be a liability. Your brakes should be the first bike parts you check as being able to stop when the need arises vital to a biker. Check your tires and oil all parts that need oiling. When riding, ensure no weird sounds are coming from any part of your bike. It is also essential to bring your repair kit in case the bike breaks down in the middle of the forest.

Stay Safe from Burglars

If you are riding along the forest alone, burglars might take advantage of that chance and rob you. You can carry a gun to scare them off. Even a gun with a single bullet is better than riding into danger without any form of protection. However, it doesn’t have to come to that if you plan your ride with other riders. If other riders are cycling the same trail as you, you can ride as a group. Not only will you be safe, but cycling will be fun. 

Riding as a group can also help scare wild animals away.

Stay Safe from Bees, Mosquitos and other Bugs

The forest is full of bees, mosquitos, and so many other bugs. If you follow a forest trail for longer than a few hours, you might end up with so many bites. Open bites can lead to infections, while some of these bugs are vectors of diseases such as malaria.

You can use traditional bug sprays and creams, bug-repelling bracelets, mint, herbs, fragrant-free body care products, clothes with full-body coverage, and vinegar to repel bugs. If you ride along forest trails often, creams and sprays might be the best.

Stay Safe from Wild Animals

Although a wild animal will rarely attack you along an established trail, it is good to be safe. If a few trials are known to have wild animals, stay off these trails. You should also study animal migrations in your area and avoid biking when certain dangerous animals are in the forest you ride.

Do Not Get Lost

It is easy to get lost in the forest. There are so many small trails in and out of hills. The trails get smaller as you venture deep into the woods, and at some point, the trails may disappear. You do not want to be lost in a forest when darkness kicks in without the right camping gear. 

In a forest, you cannot see far, and where the trees are dense, it is not easy to read a paper map. When in the woods, GPS hardly works.

You need to study the map of the area well before you start riding. Again, you need to start cycling early so you will have enough time to find your way in case you are lost. Getting lost is by far the gravest danger of riding along forest trails. A satellite phone can be a necessary addition to your biking gear.

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