Equipment | Riding on Roads | Riding on Trails | Tools to Carry | Trail Tid-Bits | Remember

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 for help.

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).

Trail Tid-Bits
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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