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When the bugs take over the trails during the summer months, one great way to beat them and still get out there is through mountain biking, especially for those that believe there's no greater thrill than bombing along backwoods roads and trails. Check out the following tips to make sure you're having the most fun with the least impact on both yourself and the environment.

Negotiating Terrain

  • When climbing, shift to a gear that provides comfortable forward momentum and maintains traction.
  • When descending, apply enough brake to maintain control, but avoid locking your bike's wheels.
  • Avoid trails that are obviously wet and muddy to avoid trail damage.
  • Cross streams slowly, at a 90-degree angle to the stream. Walking may be preferable as stream bottoms are often slippery.

Rules and Common Courtesy

  • Always give pedestrians the right of way.
  • When approaching pedestrians from behind, slow down and warn them with a bike bell or your voice. The general rule is to pass on the left.
  • Be considerate of others on the road or trail.
  • Ride only where permitted.
  • Leave gates as you find them.
  • Yield the right of way to those passing or traveling uphill.
  • Pack out what you pack in.


  • Obtain a map of the area you wish to explore and determine which areas are open for use.
  • Contact the land manager for area restrictions and if crossing private property, be sure to ask permission from the landowners.
  • Check the weather forecast.
  • Prepare for the unexpected by packing a small backpack full of emergency items.

Road or Trail Safety

  • Wear a helmet, eye protection and other safety gear.
  • Buddy up with two or three riders as riding solo can leave you vulnerable if you have an accident or breakdown.
  • Drinking and riding don't mix.
  • Allow for future use of the outdoors by leaving it better than you found it

Trail Riding and the Environment

  • Stay on designated roads and trails or other areas open for use.
  • Avoid "spooking" livestock you encounter.
  • Cross streams at fording points only.
  • Remember, designated wilderness areas are reserved for the most primitive outdoor adventure.
  • Discover the rewards of responsible recreation
(Source: Responsible Mountain Biking,