Guide

Mountain biking in snow and ice

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Riding in snow
Make the most of the conditions

Preparation

Look out for low snow laden branchesYou are heading out in conditions where most people prefer to sit in front of the fire. Don't let yourself get into a position of requiring rescuing (it can take a lot longer in winter conditions). Therefore:

  • Head out in a group rather than on your own.
     
  • Tell someone else where you are going, when you will be back and any alternative routes or places you might stop (like the pub!).
     
  • Make sure you also tell them what to do in the event of you not getting back (i.e. how much time between when you intended to get back before they need to ring for help, then to ring you to check if you have got back, secondly, who and how to ring the emergency services and what information to give them.
     
  • When you do get back, make sure you ring your contact - it should be the first thing you do. And if you are all OK but aren't going to get back on time - tell them as early as you can too.
     
  • Don't be afraid to use roads, tracks and easy routes. You don't need the most technical section to make riding in snow demanding! Gentler climbs will be achievable and easier descents mean you can keep your speed going.
     
  • Don't be ambitious - depending on the conditions, it could take you from twice to four times as long to do your route in comparison to normal riding.
     
  • Be flexible - winter conditions demand it. If your intended route is going to involve 5 miles of walking through thigh deep snow, look at the alternatives - and tell your home contact of your changes.
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