Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Couple Points on Mountain Biking Etiquette

This guest post is by Stephen Carhart.

This month I have come across some bad etiquette from other riders. Knowing some of these riders, I know that it probably wasn't on purpose, and I bet they didn't realize how this effects other people's ride.

Broken carbon 2Niner frame

This past weekend for example, a group of my buddies were on a long Mt bike ride. There were about 70 people at the start of this ride. The course was over varying terrain - single-track, fire road, steep uphills, steep downhills and nearly everything else in between. One of our buddies is stronger in leg strength, but is still developing in off-road technical bike handling. So, we would ride awhile, then 1 of us would pause and wait on the other 3 to catch up and re-group.

This helps to make sure that if there is a problem someone is there to help you out. We wanted to make sure no one got a flat, everyone is following the same route and that no one crashed and needs assistance or actual medical help. But, it is also a chance to catch our breath, talk about fun sections, and any crashes and/or near misses that just happened.


The problem was once we got onto the last 5 miles and less technical section of this course, our buddy proceeded to drop the riders that had just waited on him for the previous 25 miles. Although nothing was said, it was bad etiquette to not wait on us, when we had waited on him and stayed together as a group.

Another time I was riding with a friend on a trail that I had never ridden before. After a few miles, I realized that my front rotor was rubbing - I said 'hold up for a sec'. I stopped for a second to readjust the front wheel and proceeded, I guess she didn't hear me, but I figured I would catch up. I went a short distance and came to an intersection. I had no idea which way my friend had gone - so I just stayed there. A couple minutes later my friend showed back up.

Friendly bike rack

When Mt biking, here are some tips to keep everyone together and safe.

1) Always stop at intersections or at least make sure at each intersection that everyone makes the correct turn.

2) If you come to an intersection and don't know which way to go - just stay there, that is better than getting lost, and people having to search for you.

3) On long uphills and or downhills, occasionally check that the person behind you is ok. Sometimes I just look over my shoulder, sometimes I will stop and regroup to ensure everyone is good.

4) If you encounter other riders stopped on the trail, check to ensure that they don't need assistance because at some point it will be you that would like someone to check on you.

5) When passing riders going in the opposite direction, it is courteous and safer to mention how many other people are in your group, that way they will know there are more riders up ahead, thus potentially avoiding a head-on collision.

6) I have a bike Bell. Several reasons - it warns bears and horses that a human is near, alerts other mt bikers while going around blind turns, alerts other mt bikers that I want to pass, and lets other riders know that I'm Freaking Enjoying the Ride!

Stephen Carhart is an avid cyclist who rides on both the road and the trail. He writes about how to become a fitter, stronger cyclist on his blog


dgaddis August 4, 2011 at 8:03 AM  

Good post, but I have two questions: What does a broken Niner frame have to do with anything? And how did that happen?!? Crash or JRA?

Greg Heil August 8, 2011 at 9:08 AM  

Maybe that was payback for being a jerk on the trail?

Stephen Carhart August 8, 2011 at 10:06 PM  

The broken Niner frame is just a reminder that crashes happen & sometimes people need assistance in bad cases.

And it was a JRA and although scraped up, the dude was okay. Also, the break happened after going off a drop-off, so the dude did an endo over the bars.

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Greg Heil is the Editor in Chief for He's been writing and publishing online since before blogging existed.

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