Going off-track

Mountain biking is about a lot more than exertion. Some of the best aspects of the sport come when you stop for a while.

Most of these things are obvious — all it takes is respect for other riders, trail users and nature — but just in case, some reminders from the Stowe Trails Partnership.

1. Don’t use the trails when they are wet. Walk your bike through wet and muddy areas — not around; that makes the trail wider.

2. Ride with care. Excessive speed, skidding and hard braking cause erosion.

3. Keep single track single. Vegetation around trails is sensitive and easy to damage or destroy. Avoid widening the trail by taking care when passing others.

4. Taking a break? Move off the trail so others can pass.

5. Share the trails. They’re for everyone. When encountering other users, such as hikers, families, dog-walkers, be friendly and courteous.

6. Don’t leave a trace. Pack out what you pack in.

7. Riding on private land? Be considerate and quiet to ensure continued access.

8. Ride open trails. Respect trail closures — and keep an eye out for updates on the Stowe Trails Partnership website. Don’t trespass.

9. Control your bicycle. Ride in control and within your limits.

10. Yield appropriately. Let your fellow trail users know you’re coming and try to anticipate others as you ride around corners. Riders should yield to other non-riders.

11. Who has the right of way? Riders traveling downhill should yield to ones headed uphill, unless the trail is clearly signed for one-way or downhill-only traffic. You can never go wrong by taking the initiative to yield.

12. Make way for animals. Give them enough room and time to adjust to you.

13. Promote goodwill among all your fellow riders, and have fun!

Sources: Stowe Trails Partnership, Black Hills Mountain Bike Association, International Mountain Bicycling Association.

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