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Here are some pearls of wisdom that may help a struggling beginner or provide a refresher for the intermediate/advanced rider.
Sharing the woods!
We are not the only user community out there, but it's pretty easy to think that we are. Paying taxes does NOT entitle us to access - like a driver's license, riding is a privilege. So when you are out riding, try to remember that others love the trails just like you do, so please be courteous and yield to all other trail users.
Have you ever endoed? From 5 feet off the ground?? By catapult?? Well, this is a possibility if you are on top of a 1200 lb. animal who regards the approaching bicycle as a predator. Here is a great little article that Mare wrote for us in 2010, it's a good read and has many useful bits of information.
After Labor Day, it's always best to check the Park kiosks for hunting schedules to ensure your safety, or check NJDEP website for details http://www.nj.gov/dep/fgw/hunting.htm . Hunters are usually present in the early morning, or evening hours. When hunting season arrives, prepare and protect yourself by wearing orange/bright clothing and avoiding brown/dark colors.
Hikers and Trail runners
Hikers and runners are out on the trails for the same reasons we are - to work out, and enjoy the outdoors. It's important to remember to be courteous, and yield to these folk.
In most parks, dogs are required to be on leash for everyone's safety. When approaching a dog walker it is best to stop and let them pass so that no one is endangered by a tangled leash. Remember, while on the trail we must yield to all trail users.
Leave no trace!
Many parks have a "Carry in/Carry out" policy which means there are no trash cans - so please take your trash with you. This includes old tubes, broken chains, as well as food and gel wrappers. Leaving no trace also applies to our use of the trails - skidding and riding in poor conditions can leave scars that can lead to erosion which none of us want.
Illegal trail building
Building, or creating new trails without approval from the respective land manager is a criminal offense, not to mention the harm caused to the ecosystem if not built correctly. JORBAs policy is to create trails with land manager approval and use proper trail design so they can withstand years of use.
Before you head out into the woods, be sure to give your bike a quick inspection to make sure it's mechanically sound. Check your quick releases to ensure that your seat post and wheels won't move, or fall off while you are riding. Also check your tire pressures and make sure that your brakes are in good working order.
Be sure to carry some items that will help you should you experience a break down far from the trail head. Carrying a pump, patch kit, tube, a multi-tool, and spare chain links can save you from a long walk. If you are planning an extended ride, be sure to carry enough water and food to keep you from bonking.
Dress in layers so you can be prepared for changing weather conditions. It's best to avoid cotton clothing because it does not wick away moisture. Wearing glasses is always a good idea because you can't always see that branch or twig that wants to injure you. They are also great for keeping debris from your tires out of your eyes. Many cycling specific glasses have 3 interchangeable lenses that you can use to match the weather conditions.
more useful info can be found on mtbnj's thread for beginners. http://www.mtbnj.com/forum/showthread.php?t=4128
Let's face it, if we venture into the woods we expose ourselves to the risk of contracting Lyme Disease. Lyme is carried by Ticks which can also carry infections such as Babesia, Bartonella and Analplasmosis. But, as with many dangers, a little knowledge can be helpful in prevention. Did you know that less than 40% of Lyme cases present with a bulls-eye rash? Learn what you can, use bug spray, and check yourself carefully after your ride.
remove tick immediately
use a tick nipper or tweezers as close to the skin as possible
consult physician is tick is engorged or if a bull's-eye rash appears.
remove tick with your fingers
use matches, vaseline, nail polish etc. to remove tick
For more detailed information, please visit and support the John Drulle M.D.Memorial Lyme Fund