Biking in general is a sport that you can enjoy with family and friends. Personally, some of my best weekends involve taking my wife and kids to the park for an afternoon of riding and good food. As an avid mountain biker, I also enjoy sharing my passion for the sport by meeting up with friends for a good ride, or introducing newbies to the great outdoors. Riding with others has its benefits such as increased camaraderie, learning new riding techniques, meeting new people, and safety. You can’t underscore the latter enough, as mountain biking does carry some risks. I don’t know one rider who has not had a crash at some point, so we know this is an obvious risk that we face. Many of the places we choose to ride are also home to different wildlife, ranging from coyotes, poisonous snakes, mountain lions, bobcats, and bears. These are risks we take for the love of the sport, and gladly face them head on.
Although riding with others is the best practice to keep each other safe, we realize mountain biking is very much an individual sport. The feeling of being high up on a ridge or deep in a canyon, miles from anything and anyone, is exhilarating and empowering. There is nothing like it and all the risks we face will not change any of that. However, when riding alone, it is best to use wisdom and good judgement. For starters, don’t venture into unfamiliar territory alone. You don’t know the terrain and the possibility of getting lost is all too real. If you happen to ride a familiar route on your own, use caution when it comes to managing speed and technical areas. If you end up getting in a serious accident, you want someone who can administer first aid, or at the least, get some help. We ride because it’s thrilling to shred the downhills or make that grueling climb, but it is not worth it if you get seriously injured. Once in a while, we get heartbreaking news about riders who get themselves in dangerous and sometimes fatal situations because they were not properly prepared, or did not use caution. If you plan on riding alone (and even in groups), it is always wise to inform someone of where you are going and when you will be back.
Be safe and ride strong!