Whilst the majority of this information is specifically applicable to MTB riding, it is essential that all club riders are aware of the Road Ride Etiquette as well since many off road trails are accessed via the public highway. The etiquette may sound like rules for the sake of rules but these are the basics, which have been developed by cyclists over the years and are the essentials of riding safely together and in harmony with other trail users.
General Trail Riding
- Obviously the terrain & trail conditions can vary greatly throughout a ride from wide, open fields to steep, narrow gullies. It is important to be aware of your surroundings & those around you.
- We are likely to encounter walkers or horse riders on the trails. Whoever is at the front should slow down & warn the rest of the group. We should also communicate our presence to the other trail users & look for a safe place to pass.
- Warn other riders of any obstacles on the trail, such as fallen or low branches, brambles, animals, etc…
- When we come to a gate, the rider at the front should hold it open for the rest of the group & be sure to close it behind them.
- If you have a puncture or mechanical issue inform the group. We will always wait for you & help out if possible.
- If you wish to leave the ride early please inform the ride leader. We don’t want to spend hours looking for you.
- It is common on long or technical climbs that the group will become spread out as ability & fitness levels differ. Ride at a pace you are comfortable with, we always regroup at the top. Try to judge your level relative to the group & position yourself accordingly at the bottom of the hill.
- On particularly steep or difficult sections try to leave a gap to the rider in front & be prepared to stop as it’s possible they won’t “clean” the section. If you do come to a halt, move to the side of the trail if possible & allow others to pass.
- If you would like to pass the rider ahead wait for a suitable piece of trail & then indicate to them that you are coming passed, “on your left/right” is a common call. Similarly, if you feel you are holding up other riders find a safe place to pull over to one side & wave them through.
- We will generally stop at the start of a descent, and as with climbs we will always regroup at the bottom. The ride leader should warn of any particularly steep or difficult sections. So ride at your own pace & don’t take unnecessary risks to keep up with the rider in front of you.
- Again, try to judge your position within the group. Leave a sensible gap to the rider ahead & only overtake if it’s safe to do so.
- If you are unsure of a section you can always stop & have a look.
- If you come across an obstruction on the trail or someone takes a tumble, stop & warn the rest the rest of the group.
Ensure your bike is well maintained and we also recommend, particularly in the Autumn/Winter time, fitting mudguards and lights. So, check brake/disc pads and tyres for signs of wear and that they have the right tyre pressure before setting off. If you are unsure about the safety of your bike, don’t be afraid to ask a ride leader for some informal advice but this is no substitute for having it properly serviced by a qualified mechanic at your local bike shop (club membership gets you some worthwhile discounts in many of the local shops).
Finally, please ensure that you bring essentials with you such as inner tubes and the basic tools (tyre levers and a pump). A mobile phone is also recommended, as is some simple food/drink and money.