Trail Riding is becoming more and more popular as great trail networks and systems are being built all over NZ.  Exploring our backyards in this way gives you the ability to connect with the outdoors and learn new skills.  To be safe, comfortable & confident you need to understand any risks and manage them.

Supporting you and your family to SMILE when you ride.
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Tip One – Wear a Good Bike Helmet

Wear a helmet that has been designed for the type of riding you are about to do.  There are helmets that match to all types of abilities, whether you ride at speed, like challenging terrain (hills), ride in traffic as well as off road.  Choose the protection that will give you confidence and the knowledge that you have the correct gear to ride safely on the trails you choose.

Check out our Adult Bike Helmet Buying Guide and our Bike Helmet Stories & Support Page

Easy trail/recreation riding

A helmet that is adjustable and the right size should be worn every time you ride

Tip Two – Tools & First Aid

Carrying tools whenever you choose to go for a ride is a really important commitment to make to keep you safe.  This becomes even more important as you get further from help – more isolated trails/tour riding.  You should be able to manage the basics by being able to fix a punctured tyre, adjust a seat or brake lever.  We recommend carrying;

  • Tyre levers, spare tube, mini pump and/or puncture patches
  • Simple multi tool

There are multiple ways you can choose to take tools with you.  Seat posts bags are a popular choice.  Tool wraps that can be placed in a backpack and will open up to easily display all your tools are a great idea.  You need to understand how to use what you carry so if you need some help with this please see the following resources we have created;

Five Simple Bike Tasks You Should Know, Tools & Kits to Carry, What’s in a Basic Tool Kit?

Riding easy off road trails requires a certain skill level and confidence.  Although not common you can have accidents & falls.  If you are riding further than 30 minutes from help, a new slightly technical trail that will challenge you or with children, we recommend carrying a Compact First Aid Kit designed for bike riders.  When you choose to do any kind of isolated day riding or isolated multi-day/tour riding a first aid kit is an essential piece of gear to carry.  See First Aid for Biking Buying Guide.

Basic First Aid for Bike Injuries

Tip Three – Carrying Gear

What you need to be safe when you ride on off road trails and cycleways depends on how far you are going and how isolated you will be.  It is also about the weather and how this weather will affect your body temperature.  Extra things to carry include food, water, clothing (and tools/first aid which we have talked about in the above section).

Food – For most rides under an hour you won’t need food.  Anything over this time or any ride that involves a sustained challenging climb we would then recommend a snack before your downhill.  We always recommend taking food when you ride with children regardless of the time frame.  If your ride is over 2-3 hours this snack should become multiple snacks or a lunch.  Keeping your energy levels high is really important for your enjoyment and your ability to concentrate during the next phase of your riding. 

Water – What you need to carry depends on a number of things; how far you are going, the access to drinking water, how much you sweat, how hydrated you where before beginning your ride.  For more detail on staying well hydrated please read our Hydration Buying Guide and the story on Hydration – Carrying Water When You Ride.  As a general guide more is better and this is why so many off road riders choose a hydration pack with a bladder – it allows you to carry more water than a drink bottle.

Clothing – Regulating your body temperature and keeping yourself dry is key to keeping safe and enjoying your ride.  Again this becomes more important as you choose to ride further away from populated areas.  Layering is a great tactic.  As you warm up you can take off outer layers.  Or in reverse, as the weather deteriorates you can add protective layers.  Fabrics that have the ability to wick & breath are important so that you and your clothing remains dry.  Often you will be sweaty & hot at the top of a climb.  After resting, to prevent a chilled feeling from airflow on the way down, adding a lightweight/wind protecting jacket or vest is ideal.  The worst combination is being cold & wet this is why we recommend quick dry fabric or merino base/mid layers with breathable but waterproof outer layers. For more on hypothermia and its dangers please read this story.  First Aid & Emergencies When Bike Touring

Tip Four – will you get caught in the dark?

Most off road trail riding is best done during the day.  A lot of the enjoyment from doing this riding is about taking in the scenery and enjoying your surroundings. These trails and tracks are not set up with street lighting so you will be completely in the dark if caught out.  There are two things to think about to keep yourself safe if you think you may ride at night; warmth & lights.

Lights – You will need to do a bit of reading & research to understand what is best for the type of riding you do so read our Bike Light Buying Guide.  We recommend an easy to carry, easy to attach front & rear light set that is powerful enough for you to see by – a Night Riding Set.

Warmth – See the section on clothing above for advice on layering and fabrics.  Take special care to keep your extremities warm; fingers, toes & ears.  So think thermal & merino for gloves, socks & headbands or beanies.  Winter Warmth for Riding Combo

Tip Five – Comfort & Contact Points

Your comfort while riding is a huge part of enjoying your time on the bike.  It will also keep you protected & safe.  There are three key points where you make contact with your bike.  The seat, the handlebars and the pedals…

We have extensively covered bike seat comfort and the problems that can occur at this important contact point… View our COMFORT ON YOUR BIKE SEAT page

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Your bike riding success is different to others… use our stories and support, get the right solutions.

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