Green Trails, Greenways, and an Ecosystem of Trails
Mountain biking has grown in popularity over the last decade, most notably during the pandemic. With people opting to spend time outdoors and more people using trails than ever before, user conflict has become more common.
IMBA has put together Ride Vibes, an educational, pro-bike advocacy tool to promote respect, inclusivity, safety, and enjoyment on the trails. We are also launching the Ride Vibes blog series where we explore the creative ways Trail Champions and IMBA Local partners are cultivating a safe and welcoming trail experience across user groups.
We kick off our Ride Vibes blog series with a pre-ride checklist from IMBA Executive Director and pro cyclist David Wiens. He uses this checklist to help spread positive trail vibes wherever he rides.
Not all trails are open to mountain bikes, and not all trails open to mountain bikes are open to e-mountain bikes (e-MTB). Some trails are closed seasonally like in the winter or during hunting season or on certain days of the week. Knowing the local rules around the trails you want to ride not only gives you a better experience but also helps keep these trails open to mountain bikers.
Make sure your bike is properly maintained and you have the necessary tools and supplies to fix a flat tire and make minor repairs. These include a multitool, extra tube, patch kit, pump, and for tubeless tires, bacon strips or tire plugs. If you are riding an e-MTB, make sure you have battery with enough charge for the entire ride.
A bonk can ruin your trail experience. Pack enough food, electrolytes, and water for your ride. It is also useful to know any natural water sources along the trail.
Temperatures can vary on a ride, depending on your start and end time as well as elevation gain. Check the weather forecast. Make sure you are prepared for changes in temperature during your ride.
Choose trails and ride distances based on your skill and fitness level. If you are riding on a trail that’s new to you, check trail difficulty ratings on apps like MTB Project or Trailforks and plan a route accordingly.
As much as possible, ride with a friend or a group. It’s not just safer, it can also be more fun! Have a map app or a route downloaded on a fully charged phone to avoid getting lost and potentially spending a cold night out.