The sport of mountain biking is greater than any one rider. Yet each of us has an impact. It’s up to us whether the impact is positive or negative. When I ride, I think about the things I wish other riders would do to enhance my experience, and then I try to practice them myself. Here are three simple things we all can do to enhance one another’s experience.
If you are the first rider out on the trail, try to clear any debris from it
I am an early morning rider. Occasionally, I’ll come across fallen branches, or other debris, that landed on the trail during the night. Most of time, it’s something I could ride over, but it might hinder a less experienced rider. I’d rather stop and move it off the trail than leave it there, so it doesn’t interrupt someone else’s flow. It might slow me down by a minute or so, but it’s a small price to pay to keep the trails clear for others. After all, I’d want others to do that for me.
When the debris is too large for me to move (like a fallen tree), I’ll contact the local parks and recreation department to let them know about it, and post a warning about it on our local bike club’s Facebook page. That way other riders will at least know about the obstacle ahead of time, and be prepared to slow down on that section of trail.
If you see another rider stopped along the trail, stop and ask if they need help
All riders have found themselves on the side of the trail at one time or another, suffering from a flat tire or mechanical failure. As bad as those moments are, they can be made better when a rider you don’t know stops to check on you and offers assistance. Those instances remind you that you are part of a big family whose members look out for one another. And even if the problem can’t be fixed then and there, you still get something positive out of an otherwise negative experience. So, the next time you see a rider stopped alongside the trail, take the time to check on them. It might just make their day.
If another rider is approaching you in the opposite direction, stop, smile, and greet them
I feel like society is becoming more self-absorbed. We, as individuals, can either complain about the ways things are, or we can try to change them. I love encountering riders who are enjoying their ride, and want to share their joy with other riders.
It is not always safe or practical to stop on a trail every time you encounter another rider heading toward you. This suggestion also won’t work on a busy trail because you’d never finish a ride if you stopped for every rider you encountered. Nevertheless, in cases where you are riding less frequented trails, and have such an encounter, put this suggestion into practice. Stopping to greet other riders might slow you down a bit, but I bet you’ll make a positive impact on someone else.
Even the little things can make a big difference
If you are a total jerk on the trail, then you might cause another rider to give up on mountain biking entirely. However, if you take the time to offer encouragement to a struggling newbie, then it might be the catalyst they need to press on and become the next superstar of the sport. Our sport is only as great as its participants, so take the time to make it better by being nice.