If the mere thought of going off-road biking with your folks has given you shivers, we can assure you it’s not the case.
Off-road activities have a bad reputation, but they’re not as dangerous as they’re pictured by the faint-hearted. There are two types of such activities: professional events, and recreational off-roading.
None of them is dangerous, as long as you consider a few rules of “off-road 101.”
Going for an Off-Road Adventure
For those who like cycling their way through the town, off-road biking can prove an enjoyable activity, too. There are more obstacles than in the city, but no or few cars (!!), and the fact that the terrain is uneven gives an additional adrenaline rush.
Obviously, this type of activity is recommended when every family member has its own bike.
Adventuring into an off-road experience guarantees you’ll see some wildlife you’re not used to seeing around the corner in your town.
As long as you don’t spook them, the encounter will be safe. For this reason, you are recommended to be as noisy as you can, so the animals are aware of your presence and won’t feel threatened.
Secondly, pay attention to other bikers and horseback riders. You’re probably not the only ones enjoying the forest, so it’s recommended you act as such. If you’re going downhill, and somebody else rides uphill, stop, and give them way. It’s easier for you to continue riding after you’ve stopped, than it is for them.
Regarding horseback riders, it’s safer to pull over and let them pass simply because you don’t know how the horse can react if they get scared of the bike.
In the third place, read the route. On most routes, there are marks similar to traffic signs which notify of obstacles nearby. Take note of them, and if the road is impracticable, don’t be afraid to walk your bike until the road is good enough again.
Moreover, if the route you have chosen is closed, do not ride it. Maybe the property has a different owner that doesn’t want traces on his land or maybe it’s just not safe enough due to unexplained wildlife behavior. Go a different route or go another day.
Last, but not least, don’t forget to salute and pick up your garbage. These two are 101 etiquettes for mountaineers.
5 Tips for a Fun Family Trip
Now that you know the basics, it’s time to prepare:
1. Plan the Route
To keep things fun, choose a route that’s easy for everybody. Plan ahead how much time it would take for all the members to complete it, including possible stops. Bike trails can be improvised from ex-railway paths, which are usually flat.
Fortunately, they are taken out the steel rails, and the terrain is evened out, making it perfect for a bike ride.
2. Plan the supply kit
Once you know for how long you’ll be on the road, it’s time to plan the supplies. Every member needs to have its own water supply, as well as snack bars if the
3. Wear Protective Gear
Even if it’s not likely to get hurt during an off-road ride, accidents can happen anytime, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Padded shorts are essential for every member who rides a bike. Otherwise, the fun trip will turn into a painful ride that doesn’t seem to come to an end.
Helmets are also mandatory because you must keep your head protected at all times. Even if the danger is something falling off a tree – it better lands on your helmet than on your head.
Additionally, you can get some goggles to protect your eyes from flying insects or dirt. Getting either one in your eyes definitely isn’t pleasant, and might get you a trip to the ER instead of the fun trip you had in mind.
4. Avoid Tree Branches and Roots
Once you’re almost there, instruct everyone about the things they should avoid and what to do if there are large roots in the way.
If they know their way around with the bike and they’re usually active and vigilant, you can challenge them to cross over the roots. But, if they’re not adventurous, advise them not to speed up, because wet debris or earthed roots can make them lose control over the bike.
5. Stay Close to Each Other
Because the main idea is to have fun and create a bond, it’s best if you stay relatively close to each other. If the terrain doesn’t allow that, then you need to know how far ahead or behind is every member of the gang.
Also, it’s a rule of thumb that children never get left behind, and that the member closing the pack should be an adult.
Biking with the Family
Whether you choose to go for a ride in the park or an off-road adventure, make sure the word of the day is fun.
And if your folks are adventurous (and old) enough, you can even try mountain biking one day. If you don’t have any or enough mountain bikes for all the members, you can rent some.