In an ideal world, trails would be exclusively designed for mountain biking; however, the majority of trails that allow mountain biking also are designed (sometimes primarily) for hikers and equestrian (horses) use.
Since most trails are not exclusive to mountain biking, it is our duty to be responsible riders - or risk banning mountain biking from these trails. In order to lessen the chances of this happening, follow these simple rules:
Ride on open trails ONLY!
Respect trail and road closures -- ask a land manager for clarification if you are uncertain about the status of a trail. Do not trespass on private land. Obtain permits or other authorization as may be required. Be aware that bicycles are not permitted in areas protected as state or federal Wilderness.
Leave no trace
Be sensitive to the dirt beneath you. Wet and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage than dry ones. When the trail is soft, consider other riding options. This also means staying on existing trails and not creating new ones. Don't cut switchbacks. Be sure to pack out at least as much as you pack in.
Control your bicycle!
Inattention for even a second can cause problems.
Obey all bicycle speed regulations and recommendations, and ride within
Yield to others
your utmost to let your fellow trail users know you're coming -- a friendly
greeting or bell ring are good methods. Try to anticipate other trail
users as you ride around corners. Bicyclists should yield to all other
trail users, unless the trail is clearly signed for bike-only travel.
Bicyclists traveling downhill should yield to ones headed uphill, unless
the trail is clearly signed for one-way or downhill-only traffic. Strive
each pass a safe and courteous one.
Never scare animals
Animals are easily startled by an unannounced approach, a sudden movement or a loud noise. Give animals enough room and time to adjust to you. When passing horses, use special care and follow directions from the horseback riders (ask if uncertain). Running cattle and disturbing wildlife are serious offenses.
Know your equipment, your ability and the area in which you are riding -- and prepare accordingly. Strive to be self-sufficient: keep your equipment in good repair and carry necessary supplies for changes in weather or other conditions. Always wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear.
Above all, keep trails open by setting a good example of environmentally sound and socially responsible off-road cycling. ~ IMBA
- edited from the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) website - used with permission
For more tips on responsible riding, check out our
How To article:
How to Ride Green - 10 Tips for Riding Responsibly