Safety Tips for Mountain Biking
Mountain biking in the Philippines is one of the fastest growing extreme sports. Attracting both men and women, young people, as well as the young-at-heart, this particular type of cycling sport / hobby has been getting a growing number of followers and receiving more and more attention from various sectors in the country.
For those who are just beginners at this sport, it is best to limit your rides to more developed trails. Nuvali has developed biking tracks that are perfect for various biking levels. The Nuvali biking tracks were first used during the Nuvali Dirt Weekend in November 2010 and now frequented by both beginner and long-time bikers.
However, despite the growing interest on mountain biking, a lot of people are still very hesitant to take up this extreme sport, and for very good reasons. First, it is extremely dangerous. In fact, even the most experienced mountain bikers are not exempted from occasional bruises and broken bones.
Second, mountain bike crashes damage not just bones, but bikes as well – frame and all. With mountain bike setups reaching thousands of pesos, not everyone is willing to throw away expensive investments just like that.
Nevertheless, for the adventurous individuals who are decided on trying out this extremely risky sport, here are some safety tips that might save you a few dents or expensive trips to the hospital.
Pick the Right Bike
If you are willing to bet your life while riding, then the least you can do is to pick the best ride for you. The problem is few people know how to, especially with so many various types available.
However, as a general rule of thumb, comfort should still be the number one priority when choosing a bike. From the seating position, to the overall reach, to the feel of the whole bike itself while riding – everything should be comfortable to the rider. With a comfortable ride, it gets easier to react to obstacles and prepare an appropriate response.
In addition to comfort, another consideration when choosing a bike is the actual type of riding that you plan to use it for. You see, different bike frames are suited for different tasks. Some are meant for climbing like hard tails (front suspension only), while others are specialized for downhill maneuvering like full suspensions (contains both front and rear suspension).
For bike trails, full suspension bikes should be the safest type. They have twice the shock absorbing capacity of hard tails so they are perfect for most drops and hops. The only drawback is their low efficiency in climbs since the rear suspensions tend to dissipate the effort in pedaling.
Wear the Full Gear
Mountain biking is totally different from riding on clear predictable pavement. When riding off-road or on mountain bike trails, you and your bike will be constantly encountering obstacles you don’t normally find on paved roads – lose pebbles, fallen logs, cracks, gaps, or even forest animals. You will eventually crash hard, and crash hard more than once, so ride with full protective gears to prevent severe injuries – full face helmet, goggles, knee and elbow pads, gloves, and if possible, light body armor.
Goggles and a full face helmet prevent head injuries or obstacles (such as branches) from slamming into your face while riding. Shin guards, pads, and the body armor provide cushion against hard falls especially on rocky terrains.
They can be cumbersome at first, but you will eventually get used to them, unless of course you quit after your first crash.
Do a full bike checkup before and after each run
Mountain bikes are meant to be used in most rugged terrains. However, in order to perform properly, they have to be in top shape just like their riders. This means, before and after each run, you need to check your rig’s brakes, gears, suspensions, derailleur, and chain (among other things).
Brakes are essential in controlling the bike’s descent so they are one of the key features that you need to regularly maintain. Next to tires, these are the most used parts of your bike. Know exactly how worn out they are, and replace them regularly.
The gears, derailleur, chain, and suspensions do not wear out as easily as the tires and the brakes. However, they do get soiled, wet, and muddied during rides. This can cause them to fail or miss, so be sure to clean them before and after using your bike. Special lubricants can be regularly applied not only to keep your bike parts running smoothly, but also to prevent rusting and tarnishes in the long run.
Do stretches for warm ups.
It’s not just the bike that has to be fit for the ride. The rider too, more than anything, should be in the best condition in order to enjoy a safe and exciting trail ride. To achieve this, stretches are very important. Stretching loosens the muscles and allows more oxygen to reach the tissues. This, in turn, prevents cramps and enables your muscles to flex more efficiently, thereby preventing straining and fatigue.
Since trail biking requires sudden braking, fast turns, hopping, and sometimes trudging through mud, they put a lot of burden on the leg muscles. If your muscles have not been properly stretched and warmed up, there’s a huge chance you won’t even finish the trail on your bike.
Biking at NUVALI
Mountain biking is both exciting and physically demanding. These safety tips should help you make the most of this widely popular extreme sport. Biking at Nuvali ensures not just a fun and exciting time but a safe one as well.
Nuvali is among the safest places for this activity because the roads are all run and bike friendly. You can even enjoy the commercial areas within this complete community, because there are well designated bike parking lots in these areas.
If you want to go biking at Nuvali’s bike trails, you will have to go through pre-cycling procedure which involves signing a waiver at the Nuvali clubhouse and leaving a form of identification. The clubhouse is a quick 3- to 4-kilometer ride from the start of the trail – a perfect quick warm-up before you tackle the trail itself. The 11-kilometer trail has several break or rest areas along it and can be quite challenging with its ascents, descents, and overall ruggedness. Do not be discouraged by this though because many bikers have pedaled on along the trail despite its seeming challenges, pushed on by the picturesque view of the green fields complete with grazing cows and flying birds. The beginners who are not yet ready to try the bike trail may opt to ride along the equally picturesque streets of Nuvali.
Nuvali does not charge any fee for the use of its bike trails; you can enjoy biking for as long and as frequently as you like. So whether you want to go biking for sport or for leisure, pedal away at Nuvali’s biking tracks.