Safety tips for mountain bikers and hikers

2014-06-06 09:08
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Cape Town - South Africa is home to some of the most amazing hiking and biking trails in the world.

And as is the case the globe over - bad things can happen to good people. The point being, it always helps to be forewarned.

Turns out a GoPro camera mounted on a helmet also means forearmed - as was the case with a Mountain Biker out in the Winelands area of Somerset West who was robbed of his bike, cellphone and wallet.

The thieves had no idea what the contraption was on the biker's head - you can even see them giving it a bit of curious inspection - watch the video here.

When you headed out into nature it always it is useful to Program emergency numbers in your cellphone beforehand.

Main emergency number: 086 110 6417
Emergency SAPS (South African Police Service): 10111 (02110111 on cell)
Emergency CT Emergency Services: Emergency CT Central OPS Centre:

Also Check out: Cape Town's naked bike ride - warning: explicit content


SANParks suggest the following tips for Mountain Bikers

- Ride On Open Trails Only

Respect trail and road closures (ask if uncertain); avoid trespassing on private land; obtain permits or other authorization as may be required. The way you ride will influence trail management decisions and policies.

- Leave No Trace

Be sensitive to the dirt beneath you. Recognise different types of soils and trail construction; practice low-impact cycling. Wet and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage. When the trail bed is soft, consider other riding options. This also means staying on existing trails and not creating new ones. Do not cut switchbacks. Be sure to take out at least as much as you take in and that includes used tubes.

Control Your Bicycle!

Inattention for even a second can cause problems. Obey all bicycle speed regulations and recommendations.

- Always Yield Trail

Let your fellow trail users know you are coming. A friendly greeting or bell is considerate and works well; do not startle others. Show your respect when passing by slowing to a walking pace or even stopping. Anticipate other trail users around corners or in blind spots. Yielding means slow down, establish communication, be prepared to stop if necessary, and pass safely.

Never Scare Animals.
An unannounced approach, a sudden movement, or a loud noise startles all animals. This can be dangerous for you, others, and the animals. Give animals extra room and time to adjust to you. When passing horses use special care and follow directions from the horse riders (ask if uncertain). Disturbing wildlife is a serious offence. Leave gates as you found them, or as marked.

Plan Ahead

Know your equipment, your ability, and the area in which you are riding—and prepare accordingly. Be self-sufficient at all times, ke
ep your equipment in good repair, and carry necessary supplies for changes in weather or other conditions. A well-executed trip is a
satisfaction to you and not a burden to others. Always wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear.


Additional security and safety tips to consider

- Don’t hike or ride alone; four is the ideal number.

- Choose your route carefully and stick to it.

- It's better to have an early start than risk being exposed to the elements at night.

- Inform someone of your route and what time you’re expected back.

- Choose a route leader and maintain the pace. If hiker, always keep a check on the slowest member of your group

- If lost - don’t split up. Rather try to retrace your route.

- When hiking remember that climbing down is more difficult than climbing up.

- Always take waterproof clothing, even in mid-summer, and wear walking shoes or hiking boots. Wear a hat or cap and sun block in summer. Weather changes rapidly.

- If lost or forced to stop because of bad weather, stay together and remain in one place. Find the closest shelter from wind and rain.

- In case of injury, take time to assess the situation. Then send two people for help and let the third remain with the injured person. If possible, mark the position on a map and send it with those going for help.

- Stick to well-used paths. Don’t take shortcuts and especially don’t wander into ravines.

- Always take enough water, especially in summer, and food in case of a delay. Watch the weather and time; turn back before you start running late or if bad weather threatens.

- Take a fully-charged cellphone. Some parts of the Park do not have cellphone reception, but you will always be able to reach a place where you can use a cellphone more quickly than you’ll get to a landline.


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Read more on:    mountain biking  |  travel south africa  |  travel and leisure

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