The last place that we would expect etiquette is an outdoor activity as wild as downhill biking. Downhill biking takes biking to the next level as it is practiced on steep and rough terrains. Included in many of these terrains are sharp turns, elevation drops, and other obstacles along the way.
As we can imagine, it’s also a fast-paced activity with little to no breaks in between. Interestingly enough, it’s these wild qualities that make etiquette a necessity among riders. If the sport had none of it, imagine how many injuries and chaos there would be. This is the main purpose that etiquette serves in the sport- It’s there to prevent people from crashing into each other and give other outdoor enthusiasts space to do their activities.
For the most part, etiquette in downhill mountain biking comes in the form of knowing who has the right of way. Since bikers and hikers usually share the same routes, understanding the timing of the sport is an essential part of the sport itself. Not understanding this takes away from how fast, and overall how fun, you can make a downhill trail.
Now that we have a better understanding of downhill mountain biking and the role etiquette plays in it, let’s take a closer look at other characteristics that make it fun. Along with that, we can look into the specific rules and guidelines as well as popular trails to implement them in. To cap it off, we can incorporate all of these understandings into three pro-tips that beginner bikers can use to make the most of their experience. Without further ado, here are the essential rules of downhill mountain biking!
Characteristics That Make Downhill Mountain Biking Fun
Having mentioned the sharp turns and obstacles that make downhill biking exciting, the two other characteristics that make it fun is the camaraderie and speed of it all. When you find a downhill biking group, the amount of energy and motivation that goes on is unlike any other outdoor activity. As for the speed, who doesn’t love going fast?
Who Has The Right Of Way in Downhill Biking?
The specific rules and guidelines when it comes to biking prioritizes the uphill biker or hiker. The idea behind this is that the uphill hiker or rider has a slower time to react to oncoming traffic. Giving them the right of way allows them to move at their own pace without any interference.
Popular U.S. Shared Access Trails For Hikers & Bikers
As we can imagine, there are many different shared access trails for hikers and bikers all over the nation. However, the Mills Peak trail, Mckenzie River Trail, and Ridgeline Trail stand out for one particular reason. Located in California, Oregon, and North Carolina respectively, what makes them unique trails is that they are located in spacious acres of land. There is plenty of room in these trails for any biker or hiker that is willing to make the trip. Also, if you happen to be a beginner wanting to visit these trails, here are three pro-tips that can help you enjoy them.
Tips & Advice For Beginner Downhill Mountain Bikers
#1: Choose Overprotective Gear Over Simple Gear
One of the most commonly-made mistakes among beginner downhill bikers is choosing simple gear. This stems from the misunderstanding that simple gear gives the rider more mobility to make quick ride adjustments. While that’s true to some extent, the reality is that a beginner rider should prioritize safety above everything else. Once your experience level goes up, you can dress down your protective gear to allow for other capabilities.
#2: Keep Your Eye Contact Low & Far Ahead
Perhaps the most important pro-tip to keep in mind as a beginner biker is keeping your eye contact low and far ahead. Remember, downhill trails are fast and give you little time to react to upcoming obstacles. If your eye contact is where it should be, you can make the necessary ride adjustments well before you get to an obstacle.
#3: Trust Your Bike’s Ability
Last but not least, you need to trust your bike’s ability as a downhill biker. There are many examples of beginner riders bailing out on fun jumps and turns because they didn’t trust what their bike can do. In most cases, this can result in serious injury. Overall, trusting your bike will let you ride with a peace of mind.
Downhill Mountain Biking As A Whole
As a whole, downhill mountain biking should not be confused as only being for the adventurous. This sport is something that can be taught and honed with practice. Once you do hone your skills to the point where you can bike freely, many have said that there is no other form of outdoor fun that can match it.