How To Stay Safe On A Mountain Bike Ride | MTB Trail Safety

How To Stay Safe On A Mountain Bike Ride | MTB Trail Safety


– Although many of us don’t
really like to admit it riding mountain bikes is dangerous. And if you’re an experienced rider, you’ve been around for a few years, you’ve probably seen people
out on the trail get injured, or yourselves been injured, I know I have. This time last year, I got hurt out at the Andes Pacifico, and I needed the help of other people to get me out of a bit
of a sticky situation. So here’s a few tips on how to try and stay safe on the trails. (thuds) (crunches) (chilled music) I think the first part of this is knowing your riding skill level. Now, definitely on GMBN, we do encourage people to
send it and do those things, try and push themselves, and I do. When I was coaching I was
definitely trying to get people to push it a little bit, but it’s really playing a game of chances, trying to keep your risks
to a reasonable level if you’re the type of rider who’s always trying
stuff above their level every single time you ride, or going way beyond your level, then eventually you will be crashing, probably quite a lot, and a lot of crashes can
lead to injuries, of course. So definitely try and play those risks so that you’re not doing it all the time. And the same goes for following
someone that’s faster. We do recommend that quite a lot, but if that person you’re trying to follow is way faster than you, it means you’re going to be
taking quite a lot of risks outside your comfort level
to try and keep up with them. So it can be done, but this is something to be careful of. The final point when it comes
to actually riding your bike, I would say, is, in my
situation, in my experience, twice I’ve been injured because I’ve been riding when I was tired, both actually in races, so you sort of feel
like you have to do it, you know, you are always
going to be pretty on your limit of fitness, and at Andes Pacifico and
another race called Trans Savoie, I did probably six, seven years ago, I was riding, trying to
ride as fast as I could, when I knew I was fatigued, and I had thought about trying
to slow it down a little bit, but just in that sort
of heat of the battle I rode over my head, and
I’ve got injured twice, so. Separated shoulder from the one, and compartment syndrome
in my thigh from the other, so two serious-ish injuries
from riding over my level when I was tired and I
probably shouldn’t have been. I’ve ridden mountain
bikes since the mid ’90s, so an awful long time now, and I’ve seen or heard stories of friends, or friends of friends, getting
into sticky situations, so I’ve known a few people
that have broken bones and got themselves out of the forest. Someone who’s broken their leg and driven themselves to hospital. Even a broken neck, drove
himself out of the trail. (needle scratches) But you might be in a situation where you can’t evacuate yourself, so you need some way of getting in touch with emergency services, and hopefully they can get to you. So a mobile phone, or a riding buddy, is something that’s
going to really help you out of a situation. I’ve been in that myself. I do quite like riding by myself, and in those situations you do need to let someone
know where you are. Now there are ways of going into that with a bit more help from technology, which I’ll talk about in a minute. But the easiest way is just to tell a loved one or family
member, someone like that, where you’re going, and your
expected time of return, so if you’re not back,
they can raise a alarm and get someone out to try and find you. In a situation of minor
injuries and you’re by yourself, it might be best just to get
yourself out of the trail. Now this decision’s got to be
made by yourself personally. Something like a broken
wrist, I guess is, you know, depends how bad it is, of course, but maybe down the lower end
scale of things yourself, it might be best to try and
walk yourself out of there. I’ve definitely been
in situations by myself when I’ve fallen off and
given myself quite a bad cut on my knee, and thought “Wow, that’s
a bit of a wake-up call. “Any much worse than that “I could have been in a problem.” So, it’s trying to make sure
you’ve got an escape plan for your ride. (chilled music) Wearing the appropriate riding gear can make a difference between
getting injured and not when you’re in a situation
where you’re hitting the deck. I will always wear a helmet if
I’m riding my bike off-road, that’s just a non-negotiable for me. If I’ve forgotten my
helmet, I just won’t ride. Of course, you could wear
a full-face helmet as well, that’s up to your own discretion
when to wear one of those. Things like knee pads, I will always wear them unless I’m going for a cross-country ride. Same with the gloves, I almost always wear them,
because that’s the first thing that hits the deck, and ripping open your hands
is not a nice thing to do. The list obviously goes on
for appropriate riding gear. Eyewear can protect your
eyes from getting mud in, but also branches, things like that. You think about wearing tougher trousers, so tougher shorts, or trousers for riding downhill where there’s more potential
for you to fall off and slide, that’s just going to stop you
from getting quite so ripped up. A big thing to think
about again is in winter, appropriate thermal and waterproof kit, because a small incident where
you maybe get a little injury can get quite serious
if you’re getting cold and you’re stuck by yourself. A first aid kit, and whilst it might not be
practical to carry everywhere, I always keep one in the car, but if you’re going on bigger rides, or going into remote
places, they are essential. When we went on our
Patagonia ride last year, that I love talking about all the time, ’cause it was so good, we were in a really remote area and Gabo our guide took
care of all that stuff, so he had a pretty
comprehensive first aid kit in his backpack. (chilled music) Modern technology can
definitely help you out in an emergency situation, like having your mobile
phone in your pocket, being able to ring someone, or ring the emergency services. I’m told that 999 in the UK, that will work even if you
don’t have phone signal. I’ve never had to test
that one out myself. Some modern devices have
a live tracking feature. My Garmin does, so I used this last year
for my winter solstice ride, where I rode by myself through
the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere as well, so it’s quite important to do that. It gives you a link
that you can then share with anyone you want to, and they’ll see your progress
is exactly where you are. Mobile phones do this as well. You can have that “Find My
Friends” thing on Apple iPhones. Only thing to be worried about there is it draining your
battery in the background. And then once it’s dead, obviously you can’t use it anymore, so, good thing with the Garmin
is it’s got a decent battery if you’re doing that sort of thing. (chilled music) Pre-planning can be a big
part of staying safe as well, so knowing the route you’re going to ride, if you’re going for an epic ride, and sharing that with someone else. So, I like to use komoot, one of our partners here at GMBN, so I know the type of terrain
I’m likely to be riding. I can even look for escape routes if I think maybe I’ve bitten
off more than I can chew, or in case of emergency, maybe a shortcut to get
back to civilization. Always be aware that that might
work when you’ve got signal, but you can download
those maps to use offline, so that if you are out somewhere
and you run out of signal, you can still find out where you are. In my experience on the epic rides, probably the most dangerous parts is any road sections you might encounter, so I try and avoid those if I can, or be prepared if you are
going to ride on the road, you might need lights,
or some high-vis stuff. (chilled music) Something really worth considering is getting some first-aid training. I’ve had it for probably
the last 10 years, from my skills coaching days, to doing what I do now on GMBN, and I’ve had to top it
up probably three times in the last 10 years. Whilst I’m definitely no
expert on first-aid training, it’s probably good to know something, and at least know, like the
ABC in the UK, they call it, Airwaves, Breathing, Circulation, so that in an emergency situation you have some idea of what to do, and can potentially help someone out. (chilled music) There’s a few other ways that
technology can help you out in emergency situations. Now this is built in to my POC helmet, there’s a RECCO system, so this is an avalanche rescue system. The little stickers,
basically inside the helmet, you may have seen these used in the snow, where people get stuck in avalanches, and it’s just a way of finding people. So it’s mainly used in ski resorts, there is a big list on the
RECCO website, actually, of where they’re used. And you can buy them as
aftermarket stickers as well, so if you ever get lost in the outdoors, that might just save you. This Garmin Edge device
has incident detection. You can get this on other things as well, Specialized do an ANGi, it’s like a little module
that you put on your helmet. So they’ve determined using
their sensors that are built-in, so accelerometers, even
GPS, things like that, so if something happens, a big bang and then you’re not moving, it’ll determine that
you’ve been in an incident, and it’ll give you a
certain amount of time, so on Garmin it’s 30 seconds, so you can just cancel that, if everything’s fine,
you’re okay, cancel that. If not, it will send a message to your emergency contact
you’ve set up with your device, so you do need a mobile
phone paired to that device to be able to send it. There are other ways of
sending out emergency alerts from your devices, now they change from phone to phone, but on my Apple iPhone, I hold down the two top buttons
and it comes up with this. Either turn the phone off, or MedicaL ID, or Emergency SOS, so you can get your blood group, any emergency information, medical information, in there, so people can use that if they need it. Also, better cancel that, I’m not an emergency at the moment, I can do the same on my watch, so it’s got incident detection, I can turn that on or off
for different activities. So I’ve actually got it set “On” for Run and for Road Bike, and “Off” for mountain biking. Because sometimes, big
impacts, if you’re riding hard, that can actually set it off
and you’ll have to cancel it. Also, you have that
emergency assistance as well. Basically I hold down the one button a certain amount of time, it gives me three vibrations, and then it’ll also send
my assistance alert. (chilled music) I’ll cancel that quick, I’m fine. All right, so there’s a few tips on hopefully how to
try safe on the trails. I think common sense is a big one as well, try and keep you out of trouble, but not everyone’s born
with that, are they Jack? He’s behind the camera,
doesn’t have any of that. And if you’re riding by yourself, definitely think about
devices like your phone and maybe your computer, could help you out if you really need it. Right, if you want to see a
guide on what protection to wear, then click over there for that one. Give thumbs-up if you like
going home in one piece, and subscribe.