There are lots of good reasons to be free and be wild on the great outdoors. After all, this is the time to relax, forget work, have fun and be with your friends. Just make sure that you remember the following:
• Arrive in good physical condition.
Improve your overall physical condition at least one or two months before the trip. Train harder as the day nears. Ride regularly and combine it with weight training to develop muscle.
• Bring the right equipment.
Your backpack should include multi-tools (wrenches for nuts and bolts), tire repair kit (pump, spare inner tube, patches and glue), first aid kit, blanket/sleeping bag, flashlight, matches, cellular phone or satellite phone, and money.
If possible, assign someone to carry one or some items that need not to be duplicated like multi-tools and pump.
• Wear the right clothes.
Being trendy is good but it is often unnecessary. Wear clothes that are comfortable and right for the weather condition.
• Check your bike.
Just like your car, mountain bikes need to be checked, especially if are going for a long trip. Check the tires, suspension, chains, gears, brakes, nuts and bolts. Any small damage can become a big problem on the road. Replace parts that need to be replaced to minimize the chances of breakdown.
• Know the trail
Any seasoned mountain biker would agree that experience and skill is no match with knowledge of the trail. Learn every curve, bend, dips, terrain condition, and everything that can be learned about the trail. This way, you will be able to plan your sleep and anticipate danger even before you arrive in the area.
• Take extra caution
Wear your helmet and gloves. Keep your speed in check. Do not ride too fast. Keep in control of your bike and plan your crash at all times.
• Inform a family member or a friend about your trip
Write down everything about your trip including, the location, your itineraries, and expected time and day of return.
• Don’t ignore safety warnings
Most biking trails have rules, safety warnings and markers. They are designed for your safety so make sure that you follow all of them. There are places where you can bend or even break the rules; this is not one of those.
• Don’t ride beyond your skill
Most beginners commit one common mistake: becoming too proud of themselves. This can be dangerous as they try stunts and stuffs that are beyond their capability. Remember, there is no shame on walking and carrying your bike if you are not comfortable riding on it. If you are not sure that you can cross rivers or traverse cliffs on your bike, do not even attempt to do it.
• Don’t try anything stupid
If you don’t want to be airlifted and spend several days in the hospital, then make sure that you keep your actions checked. Never ride alone. Keep up with the pace of the group. If you think you are the weakest person, insist that you ride in the middle of the pack. If you think you are the strongest, then don’t think that you can do everything you want. Stay as a team at all times. Do not ride ahead or behind of the main party.