Especially in the current circumstances, exercise has become even more ingrained in our society. Around the world, people are seeking to make the most of their limited exercise time, and develop new hobbies along the way. For adventure lovers, there is nothing better than mountain biking, which provides a combination of thrills and fitness. Unfortunately, like many outdoor sports, mountain biking poses some risks. Something that is often overlooked is the risk of the bike or its rider being damaged or injured in an incident involving a common wild animal, of which there are plenty in the countryside. Therefore, it is important to take some precautions and know how to avoid wild animals when mountain biking. Here are a few things you can do:
Do Some Research
Most established mountain bike trails will be maintained by a company that provides tips and information. They will usually have a website, or at the very least, a phone number or Facebook page. While these are predominantly used to provide information about the trails, those who work for such companies are likely to have a comprehensive knowledge of the local area, and are sure to try and answer your questions on potentially dangerous wildlife. Be sure to ask about coyotes, as coyotes can be especially dangerous. Additionally, keep an eye out for road signs and other indicators that there is the potential to come across wildlife on the trails. This is not to say you should avoid such tracks, but instead, keep extra alert and be prepared to take action if need be.
Be a Noisy Rider!
Usually, if an animal hears a noise, it will scamper. Therefore, there will only be an animal in your way if it feels entirely safe and alone. If you make sufficient noise, the animal will usually retreat without bothering you. These noises can come in the form of a little shout, aggressive cycling, or the ringing of a bell if you have one attached to your bike. This method should not be used in the case of brown bears, however. Noise is more likely to aggravate them further, so if you encounter a brown bear, retreat slowly and quietly.
Don’t Be Afraid to Turn Around
Many mountain biking trails are strictly one way to avoid collisions. However, when it comes to a potentially aggressive animal, there are obvious exceptions. If you encounter an animal that you believe could attack you or risk the health of other riders, dismount from the bike and begin walking back the way you came. This reduces the risk of collisions with riders coming down, as it allows you to walk on the side of the trail. If you see a fellow rider, make sure to alert them of the animal’s presence and advise them to accompany you back up the hill. Make sure to contact someone who maintains the trails to ensure that they can take necessary action. This can take the form of the clubhouse and bike shop in larger networks, or by phoning the head office if there is not a physical building present.
Now that you know how to avoid wild animals when mountain biking, you should be ok on the trails.