Minimal Impact Riding Tips
The best way to ensure we will have places to ride in the future is to look after the places we've got to ride today.
Here are some tips that will help you minimise your impact on the environment - without spoiling your fun.
Minimal Impact - Always have an Escape Route
Contingency planning - It's about expecting the unexpected. Around every corner could be an oncoming bike, quad or 4WD; a tree across the trail; a large rock or washaway. It's one of the things that makes trail riding so exciting - you never know what challenge you're going to face.
Planning an escape route is an important way of dealing with the unknowns around the next corner. That means constantly being aware of what is either side of the trail and making sure that you have enough control to be able to switch lines quickly if you need to. It also means not doing anything that blocks you in - like riding two or three abreast.
Try this on your next ride; Think consciously at each blind corner or hill crest about where you would head if you suddenly meet someone or something coming the opposite direction.
A little mental practice, a little mental preparation could make a big difference if you ever find yourself in that position.
Minimal Impact - Be Fire Safe
After a mild start to summer the hot weather is now here in spades. Any recreational activity in dry bushland is a fire risk, but trail riding has some added risks so we have to be extra careful when we're out there.
Here are some tips to stay fire safe this summer:
Our continued access to forests during summer could be jeopardised by a single trail bike-related fire, so we all need to be aware and take extra care.
Minimal Impact - Watch for Wildlife
During summer it makes sense to get out early or late to avoid the mid day heat. Turns out we're not the only ones out there with the same idea.
Early morning and late afternoon is a busy time for wildlife, particularly kangaroos. If you're riding a property fenceline, remember that the 'roos will generally be heading towards the property out of the bush in the morning, and back to the bush in the late afternoon.
Watch in both directions, of course, but pay closer attention to the side the 'roos are most likely to appear.
Minimal Impact: Adjust to the Dust
With summer just around the corner it's time to adjust to the dust.
Adjust to the dust and you'll not only enjoy the ride more but you'll save some time on all that air filter cleaning!
Minimal Impact: Is There a Car Wash on Your Way Home?
When the wet season hits most riders knows how important it is to properly wash your bike between rides to prevent the spread of dieback. But here are three good reasons to wash your bike at a car wash on your way home.
So remember to keep some change handy and plan a route home that will take you past a car wash.
Minimal Impact: Caring for Erosion Mounds
They may look like they exist just to make hills more interesting for riders, but those ripper little jumps found on steeper hills are there to prevent water running down the hill and creating ruts.
As riders, we can look after these mounds by not following a single line through them and by not being agressive on the throttle as we hit them.
Help keep hills in good condition and you'll help keep hills for us all to enjoy.
Minimal Impact: Maintain Momentum on Hills
There's nothing quite like that 'Yeeha!' moment when you get to the top of a challenging hill.
Watch a good rider tackle a gnarly hill and you'll see that they pick a good line and hit the hill with enough momentum to ride smoothly to the top. If they don't make it they'll roll down to the bottom and start again.
There are a couple of tips on this. First, have a look at the hill and plan your line. Knowing where you want to go will give you more confidence to tackle the hill with a bit more speed.
Go back to a point where you can accelerate so you hit the base of the hill at the right speed and in the right gear. Don't try to start right at the bottom and accelerate up.
Most damage to hills comes from riders trying to start half way up and revving the bejeesus out of the bike with the back wheel spinning and digging a trench.
Once the dirt is loosened like that the next rain will start a rut forming. And once a rut starts on a hill it can only get worse. Before long the hill will be a mess and 'those bloody trail bikes' will be blamed.
Get the technique right and you'll not only look like a hero but you'll also be protecting your trails!
Minimal Impact: Dieback Doesn't Die
In Spring and Summer when the weather dries out it's easy to assume that we don't have to be as careful with dieback.
Unfortunately this isn't the case. Dieback spores which can easily be picked up in mud or puddles remain 'live' even when the mud dries and can then be shaken loose further down the trail and start a new infestation.
So make sure your bike is properly clean before each ride, stay out of known Disease Risk Areas and try to avoid wet areas. Dieback is a huge problem and we all need to play our part in preventing its spread.
Minimal Impact: Avoid Wet Areas
Winter riding means some of the places we ride with minimal impact in summer will become waterlogged and prone to damage.
Water is the most damaging thing that can happen to a trail, and where - and how - we ride through wet areas can mess things up for years. You can help protect our trails by avoiding trails that develop known bog-holes or swampy patches and not creating or worsening ruts up hills.
If there's standing water on the trail, slow down and ride through it rather than making the trail wider by riding around it. And remember that dieback spreads more easily when mud is picked up on wheels and frames, so be especially aware of DRA exclusion areas and always make sure you wash your bike thoroughly between rides.
Winter is both the best time to ride and the time when the environment is at its most vulnerable. We all need to take responsibility for protecting our trails for the future.
Minimal Impact: Pick your Path through Puddles
When you come across a puddle on a twin-track trail, the shallower line is usually straight through the middle.
Minimal Impact: Improve your Cornering Technique
Improving your cornering technique can reduce wear and tear on your bike, your body - and the trails.