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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.

92 comments on “How To Stay Safe On A Mountain Bike Ride | MTB Trail Safety

  1. I’m 13 and ride motocross, I think that mountain biking really helps me get faster and gain confidence / improve body weight movement.

  2. GMBN is the best creator for mountain biking! I actually created my own mountain biking channel called MTB Lifestyle to show even MORE mountain biking highlights. Come check it out and I will always follow back!

  3. I will always wear a full face helmet, for all types of riding, yes its hotter, but i'd rather not be grinding my face along the ground when i do crash. Just got a first aid kit to take with me as well, my next purchase needs to be knee pads. I also have facebooks "live location" on to my partner while im out biking.

  4. How about starting a Gmbn skills trading course I reckon you would be swamped with folks wanting to go on it. Where do I sign up lol

  5. One safety aspect not covered, which is a concern in many parts of the world, is crime.

    Stories abound or people getting their bikes stolen while on the trail/road. There is safety in numbers, but there's even groups that have gotten their bike stolen from them. I see Facebook posts in these parts of the world, Latin America, of people sharing their stolen bikes with the hopes of finding them.

    Best tips to reduce this risk: 1. ride with other people, 2. ride in popular trails/roads, 3. find guided rides with locals to get to know # 1 and # 2.

  6. Garmin InReach if your by yourself in remote areas. Uses GPS and not cellphone signal to alert emergency services and you can text back and forth with them via the device. You can use this to text your family or send them preset non-emergency messages when you arrive at your campsite, etc. what three words mentioned below is great for pin-pointing locations as well. Good video👍

  7. Hey GMBN Neil! When your Garmin senses you have crashed and you don't cancel does Blake drop everything and rush off to rescue you??? I'd like to see that in a vid! Ride ride ride!

  8. I ride alone quite alot but I can't recommend more is to install @whatthreewords app on your phone and sports watch. It got the medics to me and it's free.

  9. Guys be safe whilevriding your bike. Try things you think you can do, do things you can but don't push yourself to the limit.
    #Staysafe

  10. I'm looking at Torso armor now after my ribs decided to dislocate on my last OTB. At 61 maybe my fantasy of being the next MTB Superstar isn't such a good idea after all.

  11. I was riding with a group that was faster than me. I missed a trail feature, and went OTB. I dislocated my thumb. Luckily, I was a five minutes from my truck.

  12. I share my location via Google Maps with my wife. For really wild, backcountry Wyoming rides, I bring along a phone charger. Problem is I am often beyond mobile phone service.

  13. Live search for Garmin works good for everyday rides, but if it is more serious stuff Garmin In Reach device is outstanding No cel phone signal required, really works I'd loved it.!!

  14. Download What3words to your phone. It's cpletely free and it allows you to be located anywhere in the world quickly and exactly down to 3m² (even with no signal).

  15. All these methods rely on a phone signal etc, as far as I can see!
    I always carry a PLB with me whenever I am out anywhere that isn't in the town, city etc.
    It's a Personal Locator Beacon and sends out a distress signal over the international distress band (think its 121.6mhz) that gets picked up by satellites around The Earth and aircraft but also on the old distress band, that aircraft monitor as well! It's similar in operation to the one Richard Hammond used in Top Gear on his watch, in the Canadian Rockies, but only cost me £150! It has a 10 year battery and you just send it off every 10 years to have the battery changed!
    It'll work anywhere on the planet with a clear(ish) view of the sky – ie not caving or scuba diving and the signal will last for over 24 hours!
    I got it for sailing, surfing and snowboarding but take it with me when out in the hills or by the coast etc, especially as sometimes I can't get any sort of signal, in North Wales etc!

  16. I use RideID as a tracker so my wife can see where I am and if I stay in 1 position for certain amount of time it sends a messave to her.

  17. I have so much troubles with Garmin Edge – ride uploads not working, incorrect battery readings, weird routes it suggests, etc. I will never rely on it to send an emergency signal. In case of a really threatening situation it may let me down. Garmin is just not that company you can trust your life to.

  18. Sounds obvious but always worth having a bit of emergency food or cash on you too. I went on a little ride last year just to test a new tubeless setup. As it was a nice day it inevitably turned into a bit of a mini epic local 3 peaks challenge instead. Got to the top of the 3rd peak after around 30 miles and some pretty big climbs and my energy levels went off a cliff. Had no food or money on me, nor my phone to call anyone as I only originally went out for a little test ride on a 30 minute loop. I felt terrible, my head was spinning, I felt sick and could barely stand up let alone keep my balance on my bike. Thankfully I bumped into a group of other riders and one of them kindly donated me an energy gel which almost instantly made me feel a fair bit better and enabled me to limp back home. My own fault for going on a big unplanned ride, but if I'd had a bit of food or a few quid stashed away with my tools to hit up one of the ice cream vans en route I likely wouldn't have even had an issue. So thanks again random man in Randwick woods for the energy gel!

  19. Machete (lawyer vine), snake-bite bandage, PLB
    Fox Titan, Fox carbon/Kevlar gloves, Fasthouse pants, Salomon trail runners, Fox Proframe FFSWAFF hemet, Oakley Radar clears, Strava Beacon

  20. You can download those maps on komoot to navigate offline – and I do this often because I usually ride in a border area with no signal: https://www.komoot.com/features > "no signal, no problem"

  21. Good video Good advice, I admit I also ride alone often, had a heavy crash in June 19 took some months to fully recover 👍😀😎🚲

  22. I do believe that if you call the emergency services on 112 from a mobile in the UK it will give a GPS signal as to your whereabouts, just in case your lost or injured beyond movement.

  23. If you need the emergency services. I you use what3words app. You get a 3mx3m address which is 3 random word attached that square. In the UK the emergency services actually uses it.

  24. In September I was at a bike park with my friends, and went over a berm. I landed on my head, broke my neck, and crushed 2 vertebrae. I was wearing a full face so I managed to escape a concussion, but clearly couldn't really move myself. When my friends came to help me, I had them call the park's emergency number, not 911. While this is definitely usually fine for any non life threatening injury, the staff at the park were clearly not well trained on how to handle my situation, as they had me stand up and get in a truck to drive to their medical building. Then they told us they weren't actually doctors, and there were none at the park, and this was a huge park, AND there was a running race at the venue that day with thousands of people attending. I ended up getting driven (they didn't even recommend an ambulance!) 20 miles to a hospital before finding out what I'd done, and that I was lucky that I hadn't damaged my spinal cord, possibly paralyzing myself, with all the moving I'd done. I'm relatively ok now, still recovering, but it was definitely a lesson on trusting "professionals" and knowing a little bit of emergency protocol yourself. needless to say I don't see myself going back there any time soon, and I plan to wear a full face for anything more than a casual ride from now on.

  25. I wish I had watched this last year before I had my crash. Separated from my friends kids who are so much better than me I was trying to keep up with them something a seventy-year-old shouldn't do with 20-somethings, when I lost control going downhill went end-over-end and ended up with back surgery, knee surgery and they tell me that my neck will probably be next. Did I learn, I guess not I was out on the same trail alone today.

  26. I share my live location with the better half on Whatsapp for 8 hours. Just in case. She loves seeing where I go. I always have fitbit tracking my ride so it's using GPS anyway. Battery it always fine even after 3-4 hours of use.

  27. Great tips for sure, I'm a solo rider mostly, took a really bad header out in the desert, 110 degrees and no one else on the trail, was pretty messed up but was able to make it back home only because I was on an Ebike, otherwise I would have been calling emergency services.

  28. Ideas for episodes:
    How to look at your mountain bike.
    How to sit on your mountain bike.
    How to talk while riding a mountain bike.

  29. Common sense for the win. Also when tired or having an off day, just cruising and dialing down the ride. Like Neil, my worst days for accidents have been on my off days where I am not feeling great.
    Inner voices must be heeded. ))

  30. MAKING CALLS ON NO SIGNAL? NO. Emergency calls can be made on any mobile phone network, not just your own. If you are somewhere where your network doesn't have reception but another does, you get Emergency Calls Only. If no networks have any signal, you'll be told there is no reception and you can't even make 999 calls.

  31. Stretch and warm up. Taking a bit of time to get in MTB mode after sitting behind a desk for 8+ hours helps reorient the brain and body to something physical (and a lot more fun)!

  32. I admit that it's dangerous a bit too vigorously. It frequently stops me from riding stuff I know I could safely do.

  33. The only time I've been seriously injured was riding home on the road, and was hit from behind by a car driver. The trails are safe by comparison.

  34. I am not always riding where cell service is available, preventing tracking and emergency contact. I frequently enjoy riding alone. I use a Garmin InReach Mini paired to my phone and Garmin Edge. It will leaves breadcrumbs that others can track as long as you have gps satellite link. Additionally, I can send sms messages or trigger an SOS from the device, my Edge 530, or my phone.

  35. Wear a full face helmet. Always. I don't care if its not cool (or whatever). Unless you're paying my denstist and hospital bills you can piss off.

  36. Good tips cheers, I came off 2 weeks ago OTB on a double I'd done a 100 times now I'm recovering with titanium Plates and pins. Looking forward to getting back on my bike will be having lesson's on how to jump 👍

  37. Most important aspect for me is ride within your limits, know what you can and can't do, if your skills aren't set for black runs don't do them, I reckon that's how most accidents happen….unless your ride partner is a clumsy sod who takes you out, as happened to me, which resulted in a serious shoulder injury that still hurts 2 years later!

  38. When I was 14 I broke my left keybone and I didn't know what exactly happened but I felt some bone around my shoulders wasn't right. I was riding with my best friend and fortunately we were only about 2-3 kilometers from my home so I rode back home without much problem but now thinking back it was quite risky.
    The funiest part is for some reason around that age many boys had this habit to try to hide any injuries from our parents. My friend insisted on not telling this to my parents even though my left shoulder was like an inch lower than the other but whatever 😀

  39. I ride roads only to get to the trails or to get somewhere I need to be. On roads I am constantly defensive, cautious and aware. I don't enjoy road riding anymore. Not where I live!!
    On trail I am in much more control of my own fate and there's not litter and evidence of the pigs that are the greater human race!
    In my 'state' of Wackofornia they'll give licenses to operate two ton WEAPONS to anyone! You don't even need to be able to read street signs!

  40. Dialing 999 in the UK will work if there is a signal on any network – but no signal= no call. Remote places in the mountains often have no signal. GMBN need to get this right before putting together an advice film. Over reliance on technology is a common mistake amongst people new to the mountains.

  41. Also, you can buy cheap RFID Tags on Amazon and write your Medical Data to them using a free App. Then put it on your Helmet. It costs under 1 € and is another Method to get your Data in an emergency. You'r Phone might be broken depending on how bad things went.

  42. Whenever I have a serious crash and hurt myself, I just cancel the injury on my bicycle computer within 30 seconds, and then I'm fine again ;-p

  43. That's a really important video. Everything's fine as long as nothing happens, but that can change quickly.
    It's always good to be aware of that and prepare.
    I think you had a video on how to crash a while back and Skills with Phil did one too, I think. Those skills can be really really helpful. Practice falling and getting off your bike when it come to it can make the results a lot less severe.

  44. I agree with the let someone know where you're going comment. Also where possible, try and ride with at least one other person.

  45. #askgmbn Hi guys, great show as always. I have an old injury from 2018 that still causes a lot of discomfort in the colder months. I dislocated my wrist and broke my radius. Although it has recovered well, it still hurts when pulling for bunny hops etc. Could you reccomend a good wrist guard/brace that will provide support but still allow for adequate freedom of movement. I'm 46 and not as durable as I used to be. Keep up the good work.
    Anthony from Bahrain.

  46. Tq,, chest seal and 4×4 gauze can handle 95% of lacerations you may suffer and they don't weigh much at all…sof-t-wide for the tq

  47. See your in Surrey Hills,Broke my back there lucky i was with a group,Smashed my knee there had to be carried out i did have a space blanket to keep me warm and a whistle while my mate went off for help ,the whistle did attract a walker and they stayed with me until the paramedics arrived.

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