trail etiquette

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This topic contains 20 replies, has 18 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Dr Sweets Dr Sweets 1 week, 4 days ago.

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  • #229802

    You’re riding a twisty single track where the only thing you see in the 10 feet in front of you. Suddenly a rider comes the other way right towards you. What is the proper trail etiquette in this situation?

    i always instinctively yell “Rider!” and stop to wave them through

    Am I right?

    D

    #229816

    Unless they are already off the trail to let me by before I can react, I am always to give right of way to the other person. Of course I’m getting old and will use any excuse to take a break.

    #229817

    I know that Jeff, Greg & Aaron have covered the topic of trail etiquette on this site i.e.  bikers yield to hikers; both yield to equestrians.  As for other MTBer’s downhill usually yields to uphill in most (practical) situations.  Single riders typically yield to groups.

    With regard to the instance you described I do exactly as you do as I would never want to rely completely on someone else to yield regardless of the situation.  As we cross paths I always offer a “hi”  and a  “thanks” if they prefer I go first.   Finally, I indicate whether I am riding solo (“just me”) or how many riders are behind me.  What I can never understand is why some riders don’t offer any response.  A simple “hello” or “thank you” goes a long way!

    I used to have a bell on my bike for just such situations.  My riding buddies would always give me a hard time about it… yet they always wanted me to be the lead rider heading into those blind curves.  Sure beats yelling out “Rider!” every 5 minutes.

    #229821

    I find that I usually naturally yield, and the other person also usually yields.  It’s unfortunate to slow down when I’m really pushing through a section for speed, but at the end of the day, who really cares.

    Philosophically however, I think that the rider going downhill should yield to the rider going uphill.  That way the rider climbing doesn’t have to lose momentum.  (On the other hand I could see someone arguing for the opposite situation.  I usually ride in an “enduro-style” where I climb for a workout but don’t worry about speed, then go downhill as fast as my lack of skills allows).

    #229824

    I use a bell because I’m usually too winded to call out. 🙂

    In this situation, if you see the rider before he/she sees you, then you should stop, and vice versa. Sometimes, you see each other at the same time which can lead to an awkward situation.

    “After you.”

    “No, I insist, after you!”

    #229825

    Being ambidextrous has been a real plus for me in such situations. Most oncoming riders will veer to my left so I generally can clock them with a reasonable left hook to pitch them to the wayside. However, once in awhile I can land a solid haymaker square on to send them careening down the side of the trail. I scream “Huzzzzzaaaaaaah!!! laughing with glee as I ride off knowing I taught them a valuable lesson.

    #229828

    Some great advice, thanks.

    #229832

    I ride with a trail bell which solves most unexpected situations with hikers or other riders.  Otherwise I try to allow others to pass.

    #229874

    @ajlutz210 that’s not “enduro-style” that’s just mountain biking.

    #229957

    I also use a bell for most rides.  I’ve got a Timber! mountain bike bell, which has a fantastic switch feature.  I love the quiet and solitude of mountain biking, so if the trails are empty, I’ll turn the bell off.  And since I’m not the kind of person that likes to yell out or hoot-n-holler while out of the trail, so it’s nice having a bell to announce my presence for me.

    #229993

    If its XC type trails then rider who is going up hill gets the right of way. If you are climbing on Enduro trail that meant only for downhill then God help you.

    #229995

    Let’s take this discussion a pedal stroke or two forward. I support and practice pulling off the trail to the right when meeting other riders head on. Handlebar bells are an excellent way to announce your presence to oncoming riders and dangerous animals that you don’t want to surprise. But let’s think about what’s best to ride in a manner that protects our personal safety and that of other riders. Avoid head on collisions with other riders; if you have suffered or caused an injury from such you already are very aware of this danger.

    #230002

    I wonder if Strava is partially to blame for poor trail etiquette. How man guys are trying to fly down hills to beat times and don’t think/care about others on the trail?

    #230031

    Whomever sees the oncoming rider first should pull off. A simple hello and thanks if the other rider lets you pass has always worked for me. If your really concerned with hauling ass over a certain section, ask the rider if there was anyone behind them that they know of and backtrack a bit after they pass. Seems simple enough

    #230060

    So, to change the tack of this thread slightly. Over Thanksgiving break I had the pleasure of trying my hand at some “Urban” MTB at the James River Park System “shared use” trail in Richmond, VA (emphasis on shared).  Here trail etiquette seems to have been turned on its head as pedestrians scramble to get out of MTB’s way and fellow bikers thread needles to pass each other over narrow walkways and blind corners.

    It was a gorgeous sunny 64degree Saturday and the masses were out enjoying the splendid weather.  I saw not one, not two, but three separate mountain bikers dart and weave in and out of two families walking  on a narrow pass with toddlers!! I was shocked, but the families seem completely unfazed. I stopped, dismounted, tipped my helmet and commented on the weather as they walked past.

    The above incident was by no means the only example of  mountain bikes “uber alles” that I witnessed during my ride. And folks, for the most part, seemed completely unruffled. Of course, with my constant stopping and/or dismounting for oncoming foot traffic, it took me nearly 3 hours to cover 9 miles, so perhaps there is some logic behind these revised ground rules ? I admit this was my first ride on an “urban” MTB trail and while I did enjoy myself it left me scratching my head.

    —Are there different rules, by necessity, for urban or high traffic trails?

    #230080

    “Being ambidextrous has been a real plus for me in such situations. Most oncoming riders will veer to my left so I generally can clock them with a reasonable left hook to pitch them to the wayside. However, once in awhile I can land a solid haymaker square on to send them careening down the side of the trail. I scream “Huzzzzzaaaaaaah!!! laughing with glee as I ride off knowing I taught them a valuable lesson.”

     

    Is there still time to nominate this for “best post of 2017”? LOL

     

    Ivan

    #230081

    If I’m climbing a technical section, and someone stops above me, I always tell them that they have obligated me to clean that section. In part, I’m convincing myself that I need to put in an extra effort rather than wuss out. Guess what? I almost always clean those obstacles.

    #230109

    so perhaps there is some logic behind these revised ground rules ?

    Interesting. This does seem a little rude to me, but it sounds like it didn’t bother anyone.

    I’ve found that people who live/work/play in urban areas tend to get used to having a lot of other people around them. So the generally accepted “personal space” shrinks, and there is actually better communication between folks (both verbal and non-verbal.)  Urban areas are all about shared spaces, and the idea that no one has more right to those spaces than anyone else.

    Honestly the whole “bikers yield to hikers” thing is pretty arbitrary, and IMO a little unfair. Think about it this way: if you’re hiking along, you’re going to hear a biker approaching before he/she sees or hears you. A better rule is if you hear/see someone approaching, move in a direction that allows you both to pass safely. The result: each user moves away from the center of the trail.

    #230148

    @RobertDobbs: “So, to change the tack of this thread slightly. Over Thanksgiving break I had the pleasure of trying my hand at some “Urban” MTB at the James River Park System “shared use” trail in Richmond, VA (emphasis on shared).”

    Oh slack one, thread-jacking is time-honored tradition no need for apology or perfunctory explanation.

    JRPS is IMHO the best “urban” trail system in the US. I started riding there in ’90 just 3 years into my mountain adventures even before it was a legit collection of trails. It was barely legal if even recognized by the park system at that point and was notorious for illicit activities. My friends and I routinely came across people partaking in said activities sometimes to horror and/or hilarity.

    Times have changed there and in RVA overall without a doubt. While I miss the overall weird and scuzzy vibe RVA once had, I am happy things cleaned up and are a bit safer. The trails are at once “safer” but certainly more crowded. JRPS still is really good technical singletrack versus squirrel-watching trails that are proffered for most urban mountain biking centers. The crowding has never bothered me there (or really anywhere) and I say to those it does to ride at off peak hours.

    Now back to your post, sure there are dickheads everywhere and plenty on popular trails worldwide. Once again they don’t bother me, but when they do (or someone in my presence) we have a dialog. I cannot change them or anyone for that matter, but I can set a good example or at least find some humor in the matter. I have to admit that the last time I rode there (April) my friend’s use of a simple bar mounted bell was revelatory and I have had one on my bike ever since. Ring a bell, tease people and have a blast…

    Okay now for obscure trivia. First person to name the well known mountain bike dude who was featured in an ad with the above band back in the day gets a prize.

     

     

    #230156

    Living in Albuquerque New Mexico, I am convinced that trail users in general are very friendly and considerate people, which is in contrast to Albuquerque’s high ratio of inconsiderate assholes. Saying hi, waving, smiling, yielding, slowing down considerably when approaching slower trail users, and yielding when appropriate sum up my approach and what I see most others doing on my local trails.

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