Hitting the trails by yourself to enjoy a ride through a beautiful landscape is something that everyone needs. Other riders can be difficult to share the space with, but when you ride with others, you can meet new people, add a great social dynamic to the ride, and build additional skills.
In that case, you need to know how to mountain bike in a group setting. As soon as you nail down the trail etiquette, you’ll be blasting through turns and sharing that experience with others.
Remember, it’s not a race
Mountain biking in a group isn’t about getting to the end first. These days out are most often focused on getting outside and having fun and sharing that with everyone.
If you and your friends like to organize races, those can still be a lot of fun. When we talk about doing big rides with a group, it’s not about being the fastest.
Make the route known
One of the most important things you need to do on a group ride is to set the route before pedaling. If you’re the leader or just a beginner, knowing the route will be key to keeping the group together and all ending safely in the same spot.
Making a route involves taking into account all of the different skill levels in your group and the general state of the group that day.
Stop and swap skills
Bike rides with a group can be one of the most helpful tools to learn how to mountain bike. Experienced riders carry a huge number of mountain biking tips and tricks in their saddlebags at all times.
Take the time to stop and trade tips or even do a session where you run a particular chunk of trail multiple times and have your buddies watch you. If you do this enough times, you’ll find yourself applying feedback and quickly becoming a much better rider. Everyone in the community is about helping others improve and using the help of others to improve themselves as well.
Leave plenty of space
One of the more dangerous aspects of riding in a group is the increased risk of crashes. These tend to happen most often like they do in a heavy traffic jam. One person slams on the brakes because they see something in the way, and the accordion closes in on itself with a domino-style reaction that ends in multiple injuries and bikes down. The solution, as always, is simple prevention. Give other riders plenty of space and be attentive to what is going on ahead of you.
Practice proper trail etiquette
Mountain biking, hiking, camping, and all outdoor activities have a general code of conduct that you will hear referred to as “trail etiquette.”
Trail etiquette is just about how you treat other people on the trail and how you interact with the nature around you. These guidelines are helpful for riding in a group. It fosters positive interactions in the outdoors within your group and then carries over to the rest of the outdoors community.
Check-in on each other
In life, we can forget to check in on how each other are doing. When riding with a large or small group of people, we need to remember to check in. Ask each other how the ride is going and if they need anything. Someone may be falling behind because they didn’t bring enough water that day or struggling with a certain riding technique. If you check in with each other, a group can often find a solution and make the ride much better for everyone involved.