High Country biking tips | VailDaily.com

High Country biking tips

Daily Staff Report
Brad Odekirk/Summit Daily

High alpine locations require careful planning for any bicycle ride. Know your limitations and be prepared to handle any situation. Keep in mind your physical condition and ability to adapt to high altitudes. Mountain weather can change rapidly.A warm, sunny morning can quickly turn into a torrential thunderstorm. Always carry adequate clothing for changing conditions and start early, especially when riding above timberline. Bring along plenty of water (stream & lake water is unsafe to drink), snacks and sunscreen.Wear a helmet. Backcountry mountain bikers need to also carry, at the very least, a spare tube, tire irons and a patch kit and pump.Because of the multitude of riding options and lack of trail signs, it is recommended that backcountry cyclists carry a map. Trails Illustrated maps, among others, are available and cover the entire county, and are fairly accurate.Protect yourself during hunting season. If youre riding backcountry trails from mid-September through October, wear bright colors and stick to popular trails that travel through open areas.A word of caution when riding around mining regions: Do not explore the many open mine shafts, pits and unstable structures that dot the landscape. Not only are you likely trespassing, but you are also putting yourself in potentially dangerous situations.Additional InformationMountain towns are truly cycling friendly.Buses in Vail or Summit County are often free. They offer free service and are equipped with bike racks to transport passengers with bicycles along the bus routes that access all towns and major neighborhoods.Buses normally carry a maximum of four bicycles at any one time. Call each resort for information and trail maps. Bike rentals, sales and service are located in all towns and resorts in the High Country.Trail ConditionsPaved trails travel through a mountain environment. Use caution, as they may contain ice, sand, gravel, rocks, standing water and other hazards.Expect varied trail conditions when mountain biking. Rugged, steep and rocky terrain is common. Most local backcountry trails DO NOT receive routine maintenance so situations including fallen logs and washouts may exist. Also, route conditions are constantly changing and may be different from those described in this guide.Many hours of volunteer labor has gone into construction and maintenance of some local trails. Please help these efforts by riding in a manner that does not damage trails. Do your own on the trail repairs. If water is running directly down the path, use a stick or rock to help divert the water off the trail. Remove obstacles (loose rocks, branches, etc.) from the trail.Ride Only on Open Backcountry TrailsPrivate land exists throughout Summit County, sometimes deep in the backcountry. Please respect all No Trespassing signs. Many landowners have provided public access across their property. Show your appreciation and respect their privacy by staying on designated routes and passing through quickly and quietly. As new development occurs, some trails may be closed or re-routed. Please respect these closures. Dont push it; many landowners have no sympathy for trespassers and any lack of respect gives all mountain bikers a bad name.Mountain bikes are not allowed in wilderness areas.Vail Colorado

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