| Family Vacations, Summer 1996|
You Are An Ambassador
Hikers and horseback riders tend to view all mountain bikers as bat-out-of-hell crankers oblivious to the sanctity of the trail. You can help dispel that notion by following these rules for safety, courtesy, and common sense.
- Ride gently. It's your job to protect and preserve the mountain-bike environment: Ride only in designated areas, restricting high-speed theatrics to trails earmarked for such abuse. Portage over sensitive wet areas and ride down the middle of puddles--skirting the mud widens the trail, and that's a no-no. Never cut off switchbacks. Repair damage you encounter (for instance, if a water bar--the barrier that prevents trail erosion by diverting water to the sides--is clogged, take a second to drag your heel over the offending mess and clear it out).
- Be courteous. Slow down to a walking speed when you encounter a hiker; come to a dead stop and establish verbal contact with an equestrian to keep from spooking the horse.
- Yield. When bikers meet along the trail, the downhiller should yield to the climbing rider (it's easier to restart when gravity's on your side).
The aspiration of every mountain biker worth his derailleur is a McGuyveresque level of self-sufficiency. We've heard of tire punctures repaired with heated tree sap or a PowerBar wrapper and wad of chewed gum, but you're better off buying a patch kit and tool set to start. Another good investment: Pedro's Simple Trailside Repair Guide ($6.95, 3D Press), a cheat sheet for repairing most common breakdowns that's printed on tear-resistant, waterproof paper. Call 800-378-4188.
Stupid Bike Tricks
Mountain bikers are frustrated Lettermans, known for packing a section of tread when skiing or climbing, then stamping phony tire marks in outlandish places.
Copyright 1996, Outside magazine