| Riding on Roads
| Riding on Trails
| Tools to Carry
| Trail Tid-Bits
Helmet - Your helmet must fit snug with
a chin strap that fastens securely under your chin. It is imperative
that your helmet is snug, because prior to impact, your helmet
must be in place in order to be effective. There are many varieties
and styles of helmets, so try on a lot of models and brands and
ask your local dealer what type is best for you based on your
type of riding and your skill. There are some insurance companies
that offer discounts on protective gear through participating
retailers, so ask your salesperson if they participate in such
programs. It may save you up to 20 percent. Helmets generally
are made of dense foam and plastic that can deteriorate over time
from exposure to sun, perspiration and other elements. Although
your helmet may appear to be in good shape, it is a good idea
to replace it every couple years. Also, make sure that your helmet
passes federal regulations. It should have a CPSC or an ASTM sticker
on the inside. This tells you that it passed strict federal regulations
and is a good choice for purchase.
Gloves - Gloves are vital. One spill on pavement, dirt
or gravel can rip your hands apart. I can not stress enough how
important gloves are. Gloves come in a variety of styles and types,
but when you purchase a pair of gloves, there are two things to
be sure of 1) they are made of a very durable material on the
palms, whether it is canvas or leather and 2) there is extra padding
sewn into the palms. Some people like enclosed fingers, others
like open, this is personal preference. Personally, I like to
have several pair and switch them depending on the weather.
Shoes - Closed-toed shoes, no sandals. Some people like 'clips'
on their pedals so the feet stay in place. Other more experienced
riders like clipless pedals that use a pedal and shoe combination
requiring a special shoe with a cleat that snaps into the pedal.
Again, you may want to ask a sales person about which type of
shoe would be best suited for you.
Eye Glasses - This is important for off roaders and single
trackers but is recommended for all riders. Eye glasses protect
eyes from flying debris and low lying limbs.
Riding on Roads
Be visible. When riding on roadways, try to stay on the shoulder.
If there is no shoulder, ride as close to the white line as possible.
Always ride with traffic flow and use hand signals to tell others
if you are turning, slowing or stopping. Wear bright clothing,
and at night, use head lights, tail lights and reflective tape
to be certain you are visible to others. When riding on trails,
never ride alone. If you must ride alone, always tell others where
you are going so someone knows where to go searching if something
goes wrong. Mobile phones are great on the trail for a little
extra insurance in case you get lost or hurt and need to phone
Riding on Trails
All Terrain Bicycles (ATBs) yield to ALL other trail users, reduce
speed and pass on the shoulder of the trail. If necessary, stop
and get off your bicycle and walk it past hikers, horseback riders
and others, especially if the trail is very narrow. Many horses
are uncomfortable near bicycles. Reduce speed when approaching
hikers, especially when you see dogs or children. High speeds
can also startle children and dogs that may jump in your path
causing a serious accident. Most of all, greet others with a smile
and say hello. Mountain bikers get a bad reputation for being
rude and misusing trails and being friendly can prevent that.
Public trails are for everyone's use; let's share them with all
who want to enjoy nature, whether they are hikers, horseback riders,
shroomers or bird watchers.
Tools for the trail
There is no way to carry all the tools and parts that will fix
every repair on the trail, but there are a few things you can
do to help with trail repairs. Here is a basic list of tools that
will fix a lot of things out there; multi tool always comes in
handy, a chain tool, pliers, adjustable wrench, little air pump
and a spare tube. Remember, these won't fix everything, but they
may prevent you from having to carry your bike the rest of the
way (my personal farthest is 4.65 mi).
Water is key to prevent dehydration. Staying hydrated will prevent
post-excursion headaches and make you feel much better after you
ride. Some granola bars or energy bars are also nice on longer
trips. Eat a high energy meal before you depart, such as pasta
and other starches high in carbs. Trail mix is easy to pack and
provides a tasty, high energy snack on the trail but be sure to
wash it down with plenty of water!
Safety is not something that happens, safety is practiced. Making
a few simple changes in your riding habits can make the difference
between a minor accident and a life-threatening accident. People
who are negligent in their safety and people who do not adhere
to trail rules and guidelines run the risk of trail closures,
preventing others who are respectful of the rules from access
to the trails. Let's all do our part and have safe and fun bicycle
outings in northern Michigan.
As always, pack out your trash. Let's keep Michigan beautiful
for all who want to enjoy the great outdoors.
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