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Mountain Bike Trail Etiquette Quiz


The pandemic bike boom has led to a lot of new riders on the trails, which is awesome. However, the increase in trail usage has also led to more conflicts in many places—often due to temporary lapses in judgment, or a simple lack of education on proper trail etiquette.

Whether you’re a new rider or a crusty old racer, everybody can use a refresher on trail etiquette once in a while. That’s why we put together this handy quiz, so you can see how your singletrack social skills are stacking up.

While enjoying your favorite steep descent, you see a fellow rider grunting uphill in their lowest gear. Should you:


 

  • A- Yell something about your Strava time and run them off the trail

  • B- Pull over, yield, and alert any riding companions there’s an uphill rider

  • C- Tell them they’re crazy for climbing a trail you prefer to descend


 

You come around a corner and see some equestrian riders. You should:


 

  • A- Give the horses plenty of space, as spooking them can seriously injure somebody

  • B- Whistle the Lone Ranger theme song and bounce your suspension up and down

  • C- Let out your rootin-tootin-est “yee-haw!” and challenge them to a race


 

You’re riding an unfamiliar trail network with lots of blind corners. It’s a good idea to:


 

  • A- Blast your Bluetooth speaker at maximum volume

  • B- Pedal hard and hope you don’t run over anyone else

  • C- Use a handlebar bell or timber bell to alert oncoming traffic


 

Uh-oh! You’re on a downhill trail for bikes only, but there’s a hiker headed uphill. Should you:


 

  • A- Give them a piece of your mind without slowing down

  • B- Squirt them with your water bottle so they know what they’re doing is wrong

  • C- Pull over, and calmly and politely explain that this trail may not be a safe place to hike



It’s been raining for days and the trails are a muddy mess, but you’re itching to ride. Do you:


 

  • A- Just send it, clog your drivetrain with mud, and leave a bunch of ruts in the trail

  • B- Stay patient and do something else while you wait for the trails to dry out

  • C- Challenge your riding buddies to a mud-wrestling battle royale



You’re totally in the zone, and you catch up with a slower rider you’d like to pass. Should you:


 

  • A- Ask politely if you can pass whenever they feel safe pulling over

  • B- Shout “ON YOUR LEFT” and throw some elbows like you’re racing BMX

  • C- Buzz their rear tire with your front tire to establish dominance


 

You’re ripping downhill on a multi-use trail, when you encounter some hikers. Should you:


 

  • A- Blow past them, singing "Livin' On A Prayer" at the top of your lungs

  • B- Pull over and yield, and say thanks if they allow you to pass instead

  • C- Attempt to impress them by pulling a high-speed wheelie



Your new favorite song is the perfect soundtrack for your favorite trail. Should you:


 

  • A- Blast your headphones at maximum volume, oblivious to the world around you

  • B- Beatbox along, in case there are any record-company executives hiding in the bushes

  • C- Use just one earbud so you can still hear and communicate with other trail users



Extra Credit (For Bros Only) You see a woman out on the trail, also enjoying a ride. Do you:


 

  • A- Check her out and tell her she rides pretty well “for a girl”

  • B- Offer unsolicited feedback on her riding technique

  • C- Keep your big stupid mouth shut and just let her ride in peace


 



Mountain bikers have had a long, hard battle getting access to trails in many places, and respecting other trail users—as well as the land itself—is how we’ll convince city councils and land-management organizations to keep building enough trails to keep up with demand.

Always remember, a little bit of courtesy and conscientiousness goes a long way toward making everyone’s outdoor experience memorable for the right reasons. If and when conflicts arise, try to be quick to apologize and slow to blame. After all, we’re all out there to have a good time!

Answer Key: B, A, C, C, B, A, B, C, C

TJ Parsons is a semi-reformed snowboard bum who now has a semi-adult career as a professional writer and creative. He's a self-proclaimed perpetual intermediate who thinks the outdoors are for everyone, and who wants to help dismantle gatekeeping and elitism in outdoor sports. When he's not squeezing brain juice into a keyboard, you'll find him riding boards or bikes throughout the Intermountain West.

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