Mountain biking is a great group sport. Going out on a ride with others helps you feel safer and more comfortable, especially on new trails. But there is also a great deal of beauty in a solo ride. The solitude of being on a trail alone can be refreshing and meditative. While the thrill of the ride is still there, you also get a sense of peace. But that peace can only come when you are planned and prepared. Here are 5 plans you should take before you venture out on a solo ride.
- Plan Your Ride
When you are going on a solo ride, be sure to plan your route ahead of time. Better yet, take a route you’ve ridden before and are comfortable with. You don’t want any unpleasant surprises when you ride alone. Even if they pop up because you have planned your route or are familiar with it, you’ll have a better chance of responding without stress or worry if you know where you are.
- Tell Someone About Your Plan
Be sure to communicate your plan in detail about your solo riding excursion. Let a friend or loved one know where you will be, how long you anticipate being gone and how they can get a hold of you if the need arises. If you can, drop them a Google or Apple maps pin so they know exactly how to get to the trailhead that you are starting from.
- Don’t Deviate From Your Plan
No matter how tempting it feels, no matter how enticing that downhill looks, stay your course. If you deviate from your plan on your solo trip, you may not be prepared for what lies ahead. While this can be exhilarating, it can also be dangerous if an accident happens. If you like to stay flexible, incorporate divergences into your original plan. You don’t have to take them, but if you do, you’ll be safer and better prepared.
- Plan for Issues
Be sure you have a first aid kit, a tire patch kit, tools, hydration, a snack and plenty of layers if your out in cold weather. While you cannot plan for everything, you can prepare for situations you know— from experience— are most likely to occur. Also, think about your safety and comfort. If issues arise, what do you need to feel secure, comfortable and functional? You don’t want to pack too much; you don’t want to feel burdened by your plan.
- Plan for Weather
Checking in on the weather while you make your plan and right before you hit the trail is always a good idea. This is especially true if you are going out on a long ride, where the temperature may fluctuate while you are out. You’ll want to wear layers, but you also need to keep in mind that you have to hold onto those layers if you peel them off. It’s important to find a balance between what you know you’re going to need and what you can live without.
Mountain biking is a great sport because of its diversity. You can ride with others or alone, ride short trails or long distances and ride with minimal gear or loaded with extras. Whatever your preference, when you ride alone, be sure you have a plan and communicate that plan with others. Safety is the best way to enjoy your solo ride.