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5 Worst Ways to End Your MTB Ride Abruptly

By Martin Atanasov

If you are half as hyped as I am, whenever there is a big MTB weekend coming up, you know the disappointment when you ultimately end up ruining your entire experience because of negligence. Yes, those rides may get ruined due to countless reasons. Still, when you had invested the time when you woke up at 5:30 in the morning and drove up several hundred km to get to your favourite track, getting your ride sacked because you haven’t prepared properly is like getting punched in the stomach.

Let’s talk a bit more about the worst ways to end your ride abruptly and how to ensure this won’t happen to you.

Naturally, whenever we talk about abruptly ending a ride, crashing is always there in the mix. However, I’d argue that crashing is part of riding your bike. It’s the risk we all agreed to take whenever we started rushing down slopes that are more appropriate for goats with delusions of grandeur.

So, yes, crashing is terrible, and we don’t promote it here in We Love Cycling, but it’s part of the game and the risk that makes mountain biking such a phenomenal experience.

With this out of the way, let’s get down to the five worst ways to end your MTB ride.

Forget your protection kit

No one in their right mind would speed down a hill without a helmet, so if you’ve forgotten your protection kit, you’ve screwed yourself good, especially if you are several hundred km away from home. Yes, you can always buy a new one but that will be a massive hit to your pocket. I won’t even try to entertain the idea of riding without a helmet but you can try to go without knee pads and other protection.

However, you will instinctively lower your speed and be extra careful, skipping most of the best features simply because you have one less layer of protection. And if you have any doubts, if it hurts when you hit your knee or shin, trying it with a rock at high speed is definitely not the best way to learn the truth.

So, to avoid this awkward situation, when all your friends are ready to go, and you are frantically dismantling your car in the hopes you placed your helmet under the seats, just make a checklist and fill it up every time you go for a ride. It’s simple yet extremely effective.

Getting a storm

I know the weather forecast is not a hundred per cent reliable but disregarding it entirely is a recipe for disaster. Yes, rain is not a problem. The track may get a bit muddier but who cares. However, if there is a storm, the mountain is not a place you’d want to be, especially if you are above the tree line. Although right now, we are already past the thunderstorm season, a surprise snowstorm is just as dangerous and, dare I say, deadly. Yes, down in the cities and valleys, the temperatures are still high but up in the mountains, winter is knocking louder and louder, and disregarding it may cost you more than your ride.

So, to avoid this scenario, just make sure you keep an eye on the weather forecast and make a plan B when more volatile weather is expected.

Cycling in thunderstorm
The best way to protect yourself is by checking the weather ahead of your ride and restrain from going out if there is a chance of a thunderstorm. However, thunderstorms are hard to predict and their path often changes unexpectedly. © Profimedia

Forgetting your energy boosters

Getting exhausted halfway through the day is one thing but forgetting your energy boosters is another. Bringing food and enough water is crucial, especially if you are going to a place in the middle of nowhere. Mooching off your friends’ rations is also a bad move, as most often, people don’t bring extra, and thus you are ruining their ride as well.

So if you don’t want to get exhausted halfway through the climb and have to do the walk of shame back through the climbing path, always keep an energy booster and enough water with you. Moreover, ensure enough rations for the entire trip, so you won’t have to drive several km to the nearest shop to refill.

Finally, be sure you take your energy booster before completely depleting your batteries. It’s extremely tough to kickstart your organism when you are completely and utterly exhausted, so don’t put yourself in this awkward position.

Getting lost

With autumn and winter around the corner, getting lost is not as far-fetched as you might think. When the fog spreads between the trees, you will see your favourite track in a completely new way. However, if you are somewhere new, you must look closely for the trail markers. Getting lost in the mountains during the cold months is beyond dangerous, as temperatures may drop significantly quite fast. Just like it was with forgetting your protection kit, getting yourself lost in the mountains won’t only cut your MTB ride short but it may have some pretty severe consequences. So if you are not sure about the track you are taking, especially if you can’t get back up, check your GPS. Have your phone charged to the max before you leave home and if possible, bring a power bank with you. This way, you will always know exactly where you are, and even if you get lost, you will be able to pinpoint your location and call for help.

Break your bike

You may argue that, just like crashing, that’s just a part of riding down steep slopes. And you are probably right. However, if you keep your bike well-maintained and bring some key spare parts, the chances of damaging your bike so much that you won’t be able to continue are slim to none. For example, it would be a genuine travesty if you had to cease your entire MTB fun day because of a tyre puncture. Bringing a spare tube, a pump or at least a repair kit is all it takes to avoid this unfortunate event.

You can go even further and bring along some parts that usually get easily damaged. For example, the rear hanger can easily be twisted or broken and getting a spare one will prolong your ride, and you won’t get stranded an hour away from your car.

Having your entire ride is not that hard

Getting the most out of your limited time in the mountains with your bike is really not that hard. All you need to do is use some common sense and be prepared for the usual. Negligence often costs a lot more than a few spare parts and an extra kilo or two in your car, so don’t be that guy or gal who always goes underprepared and relies on others to drag them behind. Instead, be the one who jumped that awesome drop and who had an entire day of bliss in the mountains.