Mountain Bike Trail Etiquette: Something to think about

When mountain biking, it can be easy to forget what is going on around you. That is understandable! You are smashing those trails and having a great time with your mates. So here is my guide to mountain bike trail etiquette. Check out these few things to consider while on those uphill slogs or dangling from a chairlift.

Be Nice to Hikers

I live in the French alps and do a lot of mountain biking and hiking myself, so I can see the point of view from both sides.

Some hikers have an issue with mountain bikers. Sometimes it is justified, sometimes they are just miserable because they have run out of conversation with their partner. So here are a few tips on how to deal with them:

Try to let them know you are approaching them by calling out. People in general are in a world of their own, and don’t really pay attention to what is going on around them and hikers are no different. So try to leave plenty of room, as they might not hear you coming up behind them. If you startle them, they could easily jump in front of you by accident.

I always find the best course of action is to be REALLY friendly to them too. Give them a big “GOOD MORNING!” (or “BONJOUR! in my case), as you approach them. Maybe even stop for a chat if you are not riding on anything particularly entertaining. If you do this, they will find it very hard to complain.

Be Nice to Mountain Bikers

Mountain bike trail etiquette

You may find yourself stuck behind a slower rider on a downhill trail. This can be frustrating, but you don’t know how much riding they have done. They may be a complete beginner, they may have finally plucked up the courage to ride that trail for the first time, or they may even have a technical fault. Give them space, let them know you are there, ask them to move over at the next available opportunity. Remember that everyone has to start somewhere. Also, later on in the day, they may be your good Samaritan with that pump or gear cable you desperately need to get home.

Leave Nothing Behind

Stopping for a scenic lunch is great mid ride, but remember to take everything with you. That energy bar wrapper, sandwich bag or punctured inner tube needs to go home with you. I hate to see people leave rubbish anywhere, let alone in nature. Your litter can injure animals and just makes the place untidy.

Respect The Trail Builders

mountain bike trail etiquette

If a trail is closed, it is probably for a good reason. Trail builders will often close a trail if they are working on it, you don’t really want to charge around a berm, straight into an earth mover or a bunch of guys with, shovels, pick axes and chainsaws. A trail may also be closed because the builders are waiting for jumps or features to “bed in” or dry out. If you and your mates start sessioning a trail that is not ready, you could ruin all their hard work. We really don’t want to upset these guys, they are the ones that make it possible for us to do what we love.

Lets improve Mountain Bike Trail Etiquette

Mountain biking gets you in to the great outdoors and is fantastic exercise. But above all, it is great fun and gives you a kick of adrenaline. If everyone followed this guide to mountain bike trail etiquette, everyone will enjoy the trails that little more. Do you agree? Have I missed anything out? Let me know in the comments below.





2 thoughts on “Mountain Bike Trail Etiquette: Something to think about

  • 28/05/2018 at 9:51 pm

    That is a great etiquette primer! When it comes to biking on trails in general, it is good to have a horn on the bike so you can warn others of your presence. I would add that the distance you need between you and the biker in front of you should be the same as when you are driving a car. Too often bikers try to bike so fast and then when they see an unexpected obstacle, boom they injure somebody because they didn’t have enough room to brake.

    • 29/05/2018 at 8:58 am


      Thanks for your comment. I think the main thing is that everyone should be aware of what is going on around them. They should consider that there might be a hiker, mountain biker or obstacle around the next bend etc. 

      Thanks again!


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