Today’s riders will shape the trails of the future, and the image of mountain biking. IMBA UK’s Trail Essentials will help you enjoy your ride responsibly, while showing respect for others, and care for the environment. It’s all good.
Keep It Legal
- You can ride on bridleways, byways and designated cycle tracks.
- On Forestry Commission land you can ride on forest roads. You can also ride any single-track which is promoted for mountain bikes.
Leave No Trace
- Think about how you ride and the impact this has on the trail.
- Practice to improve your skill at low-impact cycling.
- Wet and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage. So adjust your riding, and consider using alternative trails where appropriate.
- Bunching is Harassing, If you’re in a large group ride in smaller groups of three or four.
- Keep to existing trails; avoid widening the trail, or creating new lines.
- Always take your litter home with you. And other peoples’ too if you can – inner tubes and cycle litter reflect badly on all riders.
Control Your Bike
- Stay focussed; even a second’s inattention can cause problems for you and other trail users.
- Check your speed. Ride responsibly, and think about when the conditions are right for riding fast. This awareness will avoid incidents with others.
- Remember, there are inherent risks associated with mountain biking. Be realistic about your riding ability.
Always Give Way
- Let your fellow trail users know you’re coming. A friendly ‘Hello’, or bell-ring, is considerate, and alerts others to your presence.
- Pass slow and wide. Slowing to a walking pace or stopping if necessary. This is particularly important when approaching or passing horse-riders.
- You must always give way to horses and walkers
- Saying ‘Thank-you’, if other trail users give way to you is polite, and helps build good relationships with others.
- When approaching corners or at blind spots, anticipate other trail users.
Avoid Disturbing Animals
- Animals can be startled by an unannounced approach, a sudden movement, or a loud noise. This can upset dogs, startle horses, scatter cattle and sheep, or disturb wildlife. Be aware of your potential impact on animals, and take care to avoid disturbing them.
Always Plan Ahead
- Know your bike, your equipment, your ability, and the area in which you are going to ride, and prepare accordingly.
- Be self-sufficient. Keep your equipment in good order, and carry necessary supplies for trailside repairs, and any changes in the weather or other conditions.
- Wear the appropriate safety gear, including a helmet, for the trails you are riding.
This information has been compiled from the IMBA suggestions as well as a couple of other codes of conduct. They are a recommendation for how mountain bikers should behave and are linked in to the Countryside Code