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The 10 Commandments of Trail Etiquette for Mountain Biking

Commandments from above that thou must obey

You may be a demon on the trails, but are you also the embodiment of mountain biking evil? Do you dump your bike across the end of trails, sending riders flying left and ride? Do you leave a trail of litter in your wake? Do you churn up corners in your quest for the Strava QOM?

New to mountain biking? Check out our beginner’s guide to MTB

We’re all guilty of one or two trail sins. Strive to be a heavenly creature on the trails, and you’ll achieve mountain biking nirvana, plus the love and adoration of everyone around you. Well, maybe not quite, but following the Ten Commandments of Trail Etiquette will make trail centres a happier, lovelier place for everyone.

1. Thou shalt go forth properly kitted out

Lo, though the wearing of a helmet is not legally required, thou should not mountain bike without one, for verily that would just be silly and dangerous. Thou should also don gloves, and consider knee pads too.

2. Thou shalt carry the necessary repair equipment.

As thou journeyest past the furthest point of the trail from the warmth of the trail hub and cafe, it is almost certain that at this point thou wilst experience a puncture. And the skies will likely unleash rainy hell also. Place unto your rucksack a spare inner tube, tyre levers and a pump, and lo! A long, wet walk back will be avoided.

3. Thou shalt not stop in the middle of the trail

Stop in the midst of the trail will at best incur the wrath of other mountain bikers, and at worst result in a tyre print to the torso and a tangle of bodies and bikes. Thou should move thyself and thy steed to the safety of the side of the trail.

4. Thou shalt not stop across the start or end of the trail

If thou is really really desirous of having an angry mountain biker plough into you, then stopping across the trail is the ideal way of provoking such a response. Though stopping to chat is a wonderous part of the mountain biking experience, thou should consider other riders, and get thyself out of the way

5. Thou shalt not ride so close to the person in front that thou can see the make of their chamois

Yea, though they may ride that way in the movies, verily in real life should thou attempt to ride like that, thou art more likely to end up with your face intimately acquainted with the rider in fronts rear wheel. Leave a couple of bike lengths between you.

6. Thou shalt clear up your own mess

Though sustenance is important, thou art a grownup and capable of taking your rubbish home with you. Verily the trail pixies have better things to do with their time than pick up thine empty gel packets, tin foil and protein bar wrappers. Leave the trail in the condition in which you wouldst expect to find it.

7. Thou shalt let faster riders overtake (if it be safe to allow them to do so)

If the rider behind journeyeth at a greater speed to you, it makes sense to allow them to pass you. Proceed hence to a spot where there is ample room to allow them to do so safely, then continue onwards towards mountain biking bliss.

8. Thou shalt call out before passing.

As thou proceedeth down the trail, approaching a rider travelling slower than thyself, think heavenly thoughts and don’t be a rude rider. Call out your approach, additionally stating the side on which thou plans to pass. Observe the 5th Commandment at all times!

9. Thou shalt not cut your own course

Verily, the trail pixies have worked hard to sculpt and create a course for all to enjoy. Yea, though thou may be set upon achieving a QOM, thou should avoid cutting corners and trashing the trail others have built. The road to mountain biking hell is paved with ‘Stravassholes’.

10. Thou wilt not pass by on the other side (of the trail)

Shouldst thou happen upon a fellow mountain biker alone and in distress, whether through an unfortunate incident involving gravity, or through mechanical misfortune, thou should check unto the state of their health and provide assistance if required or requested.

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