The last part of this season's MTB Safety is really just a collection of advice/tips/ramblings rather than one particular topic.
- Take a torch or your bike lights when out riding, especially in months of shorter daylight. You might not plan on being out after dark but you'll be so glad you brought them if you are. It doesn't have to be an emergency as such. Maybe you had a wee crash with no injuries to you but your bike is unrideable and you face a lengthy walk home. Not ideal.
- Be realistic with your riding and particularly when you're riding by yourself. There's no shame in skipping a trail feature and coming back to it a different day or when you're with others. I'll let you in on a secret, I don't always ride everything! Some of my favourite big mountain descents have sections I might not always ride. The remoteness of the trail, coupled with the fact I'm probably there myself, means the consequences of getting it wrong are much higher. I know I can ride it, but when thinking about the bigger picture, it's maybe not worth the risk. Now, if that feature was on my local trails and close to home, I wouldn't think twice about it.
- Download yourself a first aid app to your phone. I've got the St John Ambulance on my phone and it's nicely laid out. If you aren't first aid trained then it's an easy walk through of what to do. If you are trained, it's a great reminder and takes away any stress of having to remember what to do. Remember though, if you are speaking to 999 they'll talk you through what to do.
St John Ambulance also have loads of videos on their YouTube channel.
- Consider creating a laminated Emergency Procedure card and having it in your riding pack. In an ugly scenario, just follow the steps on the card, taking some of the stress and panic away.
British Cycling have an example you can adapt for your own needs:
- It sounds obvious but I see it more often than I'd like to; check your bike before you head out and keep on top of maintenance. I'm talking about more than just an M check. Start to develop an understanding of how everything on your bike works so you know when it's starting to need attention. Start off with simple jobs and work your way up. You will be limited by the tools you have but having the knowledge could save you a lot of hassle.
GMBN Tech have loads of great videos on YouTube.
But the go-to for pro level spannering is Park Tool.
- Lastly, go out and ride your bike. I'm very aware that the past few posts have covered unpleasant scenarios that nobody wants to find themselves in or to even have to think about. Remember that riding is great fun and whilst serious accidents can happen, there's a lot we can do to minimise the risk and maximise the fun 🤟