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Shane Watt's DirtWise Riding Tip: Trail Riding Rules

Shane Watts

Late summer/early fall is a prime time for a lot of riders to head out and hit the trails with their mates for a roost session. Personally I just got back from a week of epic high country single track in the mountains of Idaho, and it was sensational!!! During that time the result and effects of a few basic trail “rules” were clearly evident to those present.

  1. Have a designated trail boss (who actually knows where he is going!) and follow that person, or at least make ride decisions as a group and adhere to them.
  2. Do a head count of riders BEFORE you start the ride.
  3. When you get to a trail intersection the lead rider continues on while the second rider of the group waits there and directs the following riders until all riders have passed or the designated sweep rider arrives – no exceptions on that one!
  4. Always try to remain as a group (safety in numbers), but if a rider does need to call it early for whatever reason make sure they truly do know how to find their way back or are accompanied by at least one other rider.
  5. Fill your bike’s fuel tank up ALL the way to the top before the ride and at any gas stops during the ride. Remember now that the only time you can have too much fuel is when you are on fire!
  6. Packing a light Gore-Tex type rain jacket can be a savior especially in the high country where the weather can change from pleasant to extremely nasty real quick, and don’t forget to also include some poo-tickets in a zip lock bag in case nature calls – it sucks having to ride the rest of the day after sacrificing a sock for clean up!!!
  7. Take a camera/helmet-cam to take some happy snaps and document any worthwhile moments, good or bad. At some stage in the future you will be glad that you did!
  8. Carry all of the equipment and tools to perform a trail side puncture repair, or better still get your mate to carry it for you – a 21 inch tube will work much better for both wheels than an 18 inch tube.
  9. Same goes if you drown out in a river crossing. Have one of your mates wring out the airfilter for you so as they get the greasy, oily residue on their hands.
  10. If there is a large puddle or small creek crossing on the trail try and line it up so as you roost past your mate on the back wheel just before the water. The resulting splash and drenching is worth bonus points for the after-ride bullshit session!!!

Email us at dirtwise@shanewatts.com by Thursday, Sep 15, 2011 with your most unique trail rule and the best one will win a free copy of the original DirtWise Instructional DVD.

Keep on roosting!

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