Downhill biking is a genre of mountain biking where the cyclist negotiates on steep and rough terrain that often includes jumps, drops, and other obstacles. It is an inherently dangerous sport that is rapidly growing in any part of the globe. The feel of adrenaline rush and heart-pumping experience are probably what make downhill biking fun and exciting for many of this sport’s followers.
With all the apparent dangers that downhill bikers face than when doing cross country cycling, it is evident that its popularity is on an uphill climb. Downhill bikers are prone to injuries with traumatic head injuries and injuries to the torso and extremities as the most common. These injuries arise from falling from handle bars which is caused by trail surface irregularities, mechanical problems and loss of control and balance. Aggravating factors are inappropriate safety gears, unfamiliarity with the trail and inadequate physical preparation.
To lessen the probability of injuries from accidents in downhill biking, amateurs should be aware of the following valuable tips to have a safer downhill cruise.
An Armory of Safety Gears
- Full-face helmet – A full-face helmet which should be made from the best materials that can withstand the strongest impact. It may be expensive, but it is way better to spend more of your money than to be on the hospital bed not knowing your identity because of a severe head injury.
- Goggles – Soil, rock particles or mud may be flying like crazy as you negotiate along irregular surfaces and they may hit you in the eye.
- Body Armor – A body armor for your torso and elbow and knee pads for your joint are important protective gears. Thick socks should provide cover to your legs to eliminate wounds upon contact during falls. A tight cycling short should complete the suit.
- Gloves – Gloves that will improve your grip are highly recommended and as protection to your palm during falls.
A Customized Bike for Downhill Ride
Bicycles for downhill biking are heavier and sturdier than other mountain bikes to secure more balance and stability. They have front and rear suspension features to facilitate gliding over uneven surfaces. Wheelbase should be longer for stability during full speed. Be the master of the brakes. Use them to lower speed, but you can also use them to speed up your descent. Be sure that all parts of the bike are in good condition from the wheels to the brakes. And you should be bike fit for your bike.
Physically and Mentally Ready
You must be prepared physically for the grueling requirements of this extreme sport. You must have upper and lower body strength for balance and stability. Strengthen your joints and muscle groups. Your upper extremity muscles help you with your grips and maneuvering your bike while your lower extremity muscles are responsible in the controlling your speed.
Focus is very important while you are biking downhill. Mental alertness is necessary to prevent mishaps. Leave all your emotions behind and concentrate. After your first ride with no severe bruises, for sure, tomorrow will be another downhill battle.