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Safety on the Trail

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It’s true. Mountain biking is a whole lot of fun. As you likely know, however, there are times when your safety can become compromised. Sure, some things may be unpreventable, like encounters with wildlife, but being prepared before you hit the trail will help you to have an enjoyable—and safe—ride. The following is a list of articles to help you stay safe on the trail—whether you find yourself face to face with a four-legged, furry friend, or deep in the woods on a stifling hot day. Find out what to expect in situations where your safety is compromised and keep the following tips in mind to help you stay out of harm’s way.

1. Biking in Bear Territory

As is the nature of the sport, many mountain bikers enter bear habitat when they ride. While bear attacks are uncommon (phew!), bear encounters are not. Because your first reaction might not be the safest in this situation, it’s best to arm yourself with information to minimize your risk of an attack. Should you freeze and make yourself invisible or make noise? Some of the suggestions in this article may not seem like common sense, but you can bet they are the they are a sure-fire way to keep you from getting hurt when you come into contact with a bear on the trail.

2. Official IMBA Rules of the Trail

Did you know that the International Mountain Bicycling Association has published official mountain biking rules of the trail? Why should you follow them? Good question. These mountain bike rules were created to reduce our impact on the environment as well as promote friendly relationships between all trail users, such as hikers and horseback riders, by creating a safe environment for everyone. When we follow these rules, we’ll help to guarantee that our access to trails in our local communities will grow. Find out the IMBA mountain biking rules every mountain biker should know and live by.

3. Mountain Biking at Night

There comes a point in the year when my post-work mountain bike ride takes place in the dark. With proper preparation, you can feel just as confident riding at night as you do in the daytime. Whatever your reason for hitting the singletrack after the sun sets, being prepared is essential to stay out of harm's way. If you've never mountain biked in the dark before - or even if it's just been a while – heed these words of advice. Be sure to keep the following five tips in mind to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride.

4. Prevent Heat-Related Illnesses

When the temperature rises it can be downright sweltering in certain parts of the world. But if you're like most mountain bikers, that doesn't stop you from hitting the trail. You might not know that extended exposure to heat and humidity can make you sick—especially if you are exercising outside. Recognize the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses and learn what you can do to protect yourself from getting sick.

5. How to Stay Cool on Your Bike

Yes, there is nothing better than pedaling your heart out on warm, sunny days, however the dangers of overheating should never be far from your mind. What you wear, when you drink and even what time of day you ride can work in your favor and keep you cool. In this Q&A interview, cycling industry insiders Nyle Nims and Zach Schau reveal their tricks to beating the summer heat. Learn how mountain bikers should dress to avoid getting overheated, how mountain bikers can stay hydrated while on the trail, what time of day cyclists should consider riding, what mountain bikers should do if they feel dehydrated and more.

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