The thrill of the wind in your hair as you maneuver through the most picturesque singletrack and technical rock gardens is exhilarating.
While the allure of mountain biking is undeniable, like all sports, it’s not without its own unique set of challenges, especially if you’re new to the sport. So, if you’re thinking about hitting the trails on your bike, here are some essential tips to help keep you safe on the road and ensure your mountain biking adventure is memorable for all the right reasons!
Keep Track of Open Trails
Before heading out for your biking adventure, make sure you are aware of all the trails open for bikers since Federally designated Wilderness areas are closed to all bicycles. While the adventurer in you might urge you to ride where the path takes you, it is a good idea to research the trail beforehand and avoid trespassing private property.
You’ll find several mountain bike organizations that post trail information and updates, the latter of which can be useful in the spring when there’s snow in the high country. The Tahoe Area Mountain Bike Association, Mother Lode Trail Stewardship, and Folsom Auburn Trail Riders Action Coalition also host events and trail days and provide volunteer and membership opportunities.
Additionally, if you’re riding an e-bike, know before you go which trails allow them. The Tahoe Area Mountain Bike Association has information on where you can ride an e-bike in the Tahoe Basin.
Pay Attention to Topographic Features Along the Way
While it is understandable you might want to ride where the wind takes you, chances are you can lose track of the way while traversing cross-country through the forests and canyons. Pay close attention to topographic features such as mountain peaks, lakes, buildings, and neighborhoods and use them as landmarks to find your way back. Better yet, consider using a mapping app like Gaia GPS or Trailforks to help you find your way.
Don’t Forget to Hydrate
When riding at higher elevations, hydration is key to mitigating symptoms related to altitude sickness — such as cramping, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, and headache. Therefore, it is recommended that you drink plenty of water before hitting the trail and remember to drink throughout the ride. If you think about how much energy it takes to move your body over bumps and up hills while pedaling against gravity, it is obvious why staying hydrated is so important!
Watch Out for Other Trail Users
Always keep an eye out for other people on the trail. The route you’re on is likely also used by walkers, runners, hikers, and equestrians. Ready and understand the rules of the trail. If there are others around, slow down and let them know you’re there by saying hi and giving them a wave or some signal. This is especially important when passing hikers and equestrians because they might not see you coming, and the last thing you want is to bump into them while riding at high speed. This is especially important if you are on a narrow or singletrack trail.
So, you consider yourself a pro mountain biker and an adrenaline junkie? As exciting as it is to show off your biking skills on South Lake Tahoe mountain trails, make sure you ride responsibly and refrain from locking your rear brake and skidding. You’d be surprised to know that skidding damp/wet soil can destroy the trail tread, cut ruts, and ultimately contribute to soil erosion. It also creates ruts in dry dirt, and who wants to be ‘that guy?’ There are lots to be fun had enjoying the trails in El Dorado County on a mountain bike, and we hope these tips make your next ride a memorable experience