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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    MI
    Posts
    2,546

    Do you mountain bike alone?

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    I really like to mountain bike and I have a flexible schedule at work. However, I also have a 2 year old and a husband, that is for all basic purposes, gone 6 days a week.

    This all means that I can sneak away during the business week to do some trail riding. All of my friends are at work during the day and plan their rides in the evening--which I can't do because I'm taking care of dd.

    I'm nervous about trail riding alone for several reasons:

    1) Injury. If I get out 6, 8, 10 miles and crash, I could be out there a long time by myself. Most trails by me do not have cell phone reception and are in remote locations.

    2) Weird guys. Without fail, every time I go out riding there's strange men wandering the trails. Out in the middle of no where. They give me the creeps.

    3) Mechanical. Something breaks on my bike, it's a long hike out alone.

    Am I just being wimpy? Should I suck it up and hit the trails? Or do I have legitimate concerns? Does anyone else go mountain biking alone and do you have any tips or suggestions on staying safe?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,856
    I don't go mountain biking alone, for the reasons you cite, plus I have no sense of direction in the woods so I'd probaby get lost.

    This is one of the reasons that my mountain bike doesn't get used very much.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    9,351
    I do mountain bike alone, but there tend to be a lot of other walkers/hikers/riders where I ride. I email my husband when I'm heading out for a mountain bike ride and again when I get back. Mostly to make me feel like someone knows where I am. I also don't do a trail that is at all technically over my head. It's essentially a big, steep climb on a fire road.

    Try to find a trail that does have other users. For mechanical issues get a good set of tools to carry with you and know that bikes really aren't that complicated. You'd be amazed at what you can fix if you just look at your bike and think.

    V.
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    S. Lake Tahoe CA and Marion Mass
    Posts
    359

    Cool

    99% of the time I ride alone. I ride for upward of 5 hours sometimes-the Sierras to the east coast.

    If you aren't comfortable doing it alone, then don't. Listen to your gut. I know the first times I went out alone I didn't ride very far. But you have some valid concerns as I did.

    1) Injury- I carry bandaids and a space age blanket. I figure if I get hurt I might as well stay put as someone will come and find me. In all seriousness, make sure you have a copy of a map or some kind of written 'route' and time you should be back. If you aren't, then someone should come looking for you. I also ride much more conservatively when I am alone- I don't do things I wouldn't normally do or if it's a new trail I will walk really technical rock gardens or very technical areas where I feel I am either too tired to pound through or just not well adapted. Always pack a power bar or something to that extent in case you get stuck by weather or otherwise.

    2) Creepy peeps- Just keep riding. I can bear spray and have never needed to use it. I have seen some real doozies. Like I said about the gut though. If it doesn't feel right....go with your gut.

    3) Mechanical- Learn how to fix everything or at least patch it. My camelbak is like a McGuevyr (spelling?) tool kit. I have a patch kit, tube, multitool, tire bars, pump for both tires and shock, extra chain link, SRAM quick link, couple of safety pins, paper clips, wire, and a small round of duct tape. When I find something I can use in the pak it goes.

    One of the last things that I don't take my own advice on is a light. Doesn't have to be a $$$$ nightrider, but a $25 catseye is better than, well riding in the dark. I just wish I would learn that lesson! And always have maps or directions yourself on where you are going. You would be surprised how engrossed you can get in the world's problems and then lose the trail...

    Good luck! It's usually the only way to ride, I'm starting to wonder if I'm becoming somewhat of a 'hermit'?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    MI
    Posts
    2,546
    These are some great responses. Thanks for all the advice. Getting a map is a good idea and so is carrying a first aid kit with a blanket and a light for my bike. And an extra snack. And my tools. I think that would make me feel better about going out. I'll designate a buddy that I'll call right before I leave and when I get done so that someone knows where i am and at what times.

    Thanks ladies!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    St. Louis, MO
    Posts
    612
    I do ride alone. Mainly because my schedule gets screwy and it's hard to find riding partners when I'm free. I also only go my limit - I won't try aggressive stuff without someone else along.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    somewhere between the Red & Rio Grande
    Posts
    5,310
    DH goes alone sometimes. While he wouldn't have the problem with creepy people he is a risk taker and sometimes comes home covered in dirt or blood. I second a first aid kit.

    What about getting a SPOT or Find a Spot? Whatever those satellite GPS are? We are thinking about getting one because we enjoy hiking and our cell phones can get a little dicey if we get off the beaten path.
    Amanda

    2011 Specialized Epic Comp 29er | Specialized Phenom | "Marie Laveau"
    2007 Cannondale Synapse Carbon Road | Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow | "Miranda"


    You don't have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to be great. -Lee J. Colan

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    foothills of the Ozarks aka Tornado Alley
    Posts
    4,197
    I ride alone but then the trails aren't too technical. If it was, I'd probably have a riding partner.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    151
    Even though your area may not get cell reception ... it doesn't hurt to have one just in case ... sometimes reception can be intermittent. Great tip from recent women's clinic is get a good whistle to attach to the shoulder of your camelback. If you are hurt to the point you can't get the camelback off your back, the whistle is right close to blow for signaling other riders/hikers in the area.

    Just a thought ... do I have my whistle yet? No, but it's on my list.

    PJ

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    876
    I really like to mountain bike alone, but will only do it at a couple of the smaller places that I ride and know really well. One is right across from where I work so I feel very safe there if anything should happen. I'm also weary of my ability to fix something if I get a mechanical. Is there a local mtb club or a shop where you could inquire about people to ride with?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    151
    Limewave,

    Are you in SE Michigan? I'll be in Rochester Hills visiting friends August 8-10 and should have time for a ride on 9 or 10 if you're close by. I'm a newbie ... but love to ride and learn from many different riders.

    PJ

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    the dry side
    Posts
    4,403
    I ride solo. I've never felt unsafe in our area ( smallish western city). I don't do crazy technical stuff, but I will ride to my satisfaction. I carry a cell phone, but didn't used to.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Perpetual Confusion and Indecision
    Posts
    488
    I ride alone (almost always), and actually prefer it. I'm not so confident in my mtb skills that I want to go all out over my head to keep up on singletrack - alone, I can do what I'm comfortable with at a pace where I don't feel like I'm going to slam into a tree at any second. Safety-wise, I don't really think about it. Like Irulan, I don't do crazy stuff (although I have had crashes where I lay there wondering if I was going to be able to get out under my own power). If you already feel unsafe due to creepies, definitely listen to your gut (I like the bear spray idea). Lots of good tips here - I should use some of them.

    I don't usually even think about a cell phone when I ride. I have one - rarely use it since I don't have service at home, barely at work - more of an Ineedtopickupapizzaonmywayhome phone, or a We'regettinghomebeforekennelpickuptimemaybethey'llletusspringherearly phone. So I don't even think to ride with it. Especially mountain biking. It really would be a good idea, though.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    northern Virginia
    Posts
    5,856
    Honestly, I have to be careful about road biking by myself too, even though I do it all the time. I'm single and my nearest family lives 300 miles from here, so if I leave a map of my route and the time I should get home, no one will see it and no one will notice I'm missing until I fail to show up for work the next day (or the following Monday if it's a weekend). And if I do have a mechanical or other problem far from home, I can't call anyone to come get me. So mostly I have to stick with routes close to home that are heavily traveled and close enough to take a cab home if needed, even though that means dealing with more vehicular traffic and stopping at frequent intersections. It makes it hard to train for the hilly 70-mile charity ride that I need to get ready for, but that's just the way it is.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Looking at all the love there that's sleeping
    Posts
    4,172
    I used to mtb alone at a state park up in MA. It was close to my house, not too technical, and fairly well-travelled by others, so I felt reasonably safe there. I have not mtb'd by myself since moving down to MD, again..for the reasons you cited. I will (strangely?) road bike on my own, however, although get bored to tears with anything longer than about 35 miles.
    2007 Seven ID8 - Bontrager InForm
    2003 Klein Palomino - Terry Firefly (?)
    2010 Seven Cafe Racer - Bontrager InForm
    2008 Cervelo P2C - Adamo Prologue Saddle

 

 

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