New Zealand offers some fantastic backcountry mountain bike trails which can take you to remote and breathtaking parts of the country. This activity is increasing in popularity across the globe, with all kinds of tracks and trails being built each year.
Some of the key things to consider when taking your bike out is that unlike a walk or tramp, you can easily find yourself in the backcountry as you are using a machine to get you there. You also need to plan your trip and understand the inner workings of your bike, so if trouble appears, you can get yourself out of there in case there is no phone reception or help on hand.
There are over 76,000 people who mountain bike in the NZ backcountry each year.– There and Back, 2016
The first thing to remember is that every trip needs a plan. It doesn't take much to turn a short trip into an 'unexpected night out' in the bush. If you've planned before you hit the track using the outdoor safety code as a guide, there's a good chance you'll be prepared to handle an unexpected turn of events.
Safety is the outcome of good planning and good decision making– Mike Daisley, MSC CEO
84% of search and rescues for backcountry mountain bikers were alone or separated from a group.– There and Back, 2016
Search and rescues are 4x higher on Easter and Queens Birthday weekends.– There and Back, 2016
Backcountry mountain biking allows people to enjoy the technical challenges of riding while seeing large areas of New Zealand’s backcountry in a shorter time span. Every trip into the backcountry has an inherent degree of risk, which can be easily reduced through careful planning and good decision making. It doesn’t take long to plan. Use this guide to help you.
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Employ strategies for identifying and managing fatigue. Ensure this is considered as part of any pre-trip planning and pay this element the due respect it deserves during your trip. Allow time for adequate breaks to rest and take on food/water. Most importantly ensure the culture surrounding your trip allows for topics such as fatigue management to be part of your conversations and communication.
New Zealand weather is very changeable. Even if you set out in the sunshine and there is no rain in the forecast it's not uncommon to have an isolated shower. Make sure you take rain protection and extra layers you can put on if it gets cold. Having the right supplies means that you're more likely to remain warm, comfortable and safe for the duration of your ride.
Wear the right fabrics. Clothing only retains what heat your body produces. Certain fabrics wick moisture away from the body and retain warmth. Avoid cotton clothing – when cotton gets wet it ceases to insulate you. Wet and cold clothing significantly contributes to hypothermia.
There are a few other essentials you should have on you for day rides.
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