Alone therapy...yep. A big reason I love riding alone. You also hit on why I'm comfortable alone on some of my favorite trails (Muir in WI and Brown Cty in In), and uncomfortable on the Milwaukee county MTB trails. The city-ish ones are easily walkable and while you may not be able to tell while riding sit in the middle of a very urban area.
Originally Posted by verslowrdr
Like others I wear a road ID ( always when trail riding, not just when alone), tell others where I'm going, when, etc. I also feel a bit more comfortable if I'm using a tracking software , ESP one that allows live tracking. NOT so the masses on social media can track me ( DO NOT want that), but so that hubby could in theory see where I am if necessary. I like the mountain bike app from runtastic. Kinda like find my iPhone, but with added benefit of tracking my ride, elevation change, distance, speed, etc. but I'm a data geek at heart anyway.
Solo rider here. I too enjoy solitude, but sometimes I'd like to find someone to go on a ride.
There seems to be no interesting mtb bike meet-ups.
Originally Posted by NicoleB28
This is interesting, if you were to go the pepper spray route.
Kimber America | Pepperblaster | The most powerful pepper defense system
I worry about my wife being out and about by herself. There's lots of wolves out there.
I ride mostly solo due to husband and my work schedules not syncing very well. I grew up in the outdoors and feel that I am fairly confident and prepared for most stuff. The human creepers sometimes get to me. Especially the traihead parking lot thing. I went OTB on a ride a couple of months ago. Chewed my arm up pretty bad but no breaks. Got lectured by my son about riding alone.....sigh. I had my cell phone.
Things in nature, at least here, that concern me are a rattlesnake hit and being attacked by bees. But I still go...the odds are in my favor.
I had a suspicious creeper incident as I rode home at night this week on a desolate section of dirt road. A car came by and slowed right next to me, then pulled ahead some but kept slowing down over and over until I had to slow down to keep from catching up to it. I'd slow even more at a curve hoping they would give up on this weird cat and mouse game, but no, there they were around the corner. This continued for at least a mile. I was getting pretty worried and had the phone out, but finally had to pass to make my turn. It was then I learned it was a woman trying to be "helpful", as she yelled "Did the car lights help you?" as I passed. Apparently she thought I could not find my way home without her help.
^ Glad that was the case - I can imagine how unsettling it would be! I prefer to ride with others because I enjoy the company and camaraderie. I have learned a lot by following others' leads and their encouragement can sometime be just the ticket when attempting something new.
This year, however, I've also come to embrace some alone time on the trails. I am only comfortable doing so, though, at a local state park where I don't feel so isolated on the trails. That's not to say the trails are heavily trafficked - most days, they aren't - but I just don't feel so isolated or far from potential help when I am there. Like others have posted, I wear a road id, carry a cell phone, and always tell people where I am going and for how long I expect to be gone. And, oddly enough, "company" has come in the form of a camera. I find that when I'm concentrating more on trying to get a cool action shot, I am concerned less about the fact that I am out there alone.
Solo night riding
Probably not the smartest thing to do... but I can't help myself!
I have gone solo night riding once. It was the most fun and most scary ride I have done.
Yeti ASR-7- (DHX RC4)
Trek Lexa SLX- roadie
Ladies (and gents)...try not to ride alone.
Too many horror stories have hit my ears about downed riders laying stranded on a trail for an hour or so before someone could get to them to help. It may seem great and you might be super careful but you just have no idea what could happen.
Just recently there was a story in my local area of a guy who went out on the road with a huge group. They hit some ice on the road and one of the guys skidded out and into a tree. He died even with immediate medical care due to the people in his group calling 911.
I know road and mtn are different but in some ways mtn has just as many hazards as road. Just stay safe...take someone with you (girl, guy, whoever) whenever possible. You just never know what can happen.
Obvious from my posts, I'll have to respectfully disagree...
Originally Posted by jayseakay
In my opinion anything worthwhile is not without risk, but that doesn't mean you can't manage that risk. Ride with a cell phone so you can call for help. Let people know your itinerary. Know the conditions. Know your limits. I backcountry ski as well as and never ride alone (not to say I never will) and this if even more important.
Know and manage your risk... but don't be afraid!
^^ I have to agree with Kinsler here. After all, it's not safe at home either. I could trip down the stairs and someone might not come looking for me for a few days.
Don't you hate how every mention of backcountry now becomes a link?
Agree with both Kinsler and mtbexplorer- don't live your life in fear and don't let others tell you that you should.
I drank the 29er koolaid- turns out it was POWERade
I just started riding this past summer, and could only get out with my husband once a week so I did go out a few times on my own. The first ride I was a bit apprehensive. Mostly worried of having mechanical problems or getting lost. There was also the fear of getting hurt since I was so inexperienced. After the first ride I mapped out a nice little route that circled around so no fear of getting lost. I then travelled that trail at least 4 times a ride and the next time made it a bit longer and rode it over and over. All in all, I think it was good as I became comfortable with the ride and pushed myself to go faster. With that said I do prefer to ride with my hubby as I bust it to try and keep up but he's patient enough that he doesn't seem to mind waiting if I do have to go slow or walk. I hope the day will come where he doesn't have to wait!
I'm a nurse, and you wouldn't believe how many patients I end up taking care of at my hospital because they fell at home and laid there for 16+ hours before someone discovered them (and they're not always elderly). So you're right, things can happen anywhere. My basement stairs are stupidly steep and narrow, and I have fallen down them...
Originally Posted by mtbxplorer
Take the necessary safeguards you need to... phone, let people know when/where/time, etc. You can't live your life worrying about the what if's.
I agree that accidents can happen anywhere. I guess just consider your own safety. Just because it could happen anywhere doesn't mean that you should necessarily put yourself in a position that places you at more risk.
More risk that lying in a house for 16+ hours? Jeez, I'd probably have someone find me sooner lying on the trail, and ours aren't even that heavily used...
Originally Posted by jayseakay
The average US women's life expectancy is I believe just over 80 these days. There's a heck of a lot of randomness along the way of course, but there's also a fair amount of choice involved in how we fill that time between now and then. And I'm willing to bet $100 right now that I won't be sitting in a retirement home saying "gosh, I wish I hadn't ridden my bike so much...."
Riding vs not riding because you can't find anyone else? I say just let someone know where you're headed and get going. The days will come soon enough when the decision will be taken from us, and then we'll have to be content with the memories.
"...Some local fiend had built it with his own three hands..."
I ride by myself pretty much all of the time because my partner doesn't have a bike yet and my best friend only rides a handful of times during the year. I've tried getting some of my other friends to go on a bike ride but it's 50% doesn't have a bike and 50% doesn't feel comfortable riding for more than an hour at best.
So, I head out by myself. Luckily, I haven't had any creeper moments and anyone I've encountered on the trail (whether on foot or on a bike) has said hello and gone on by with limited chitchat. I always leave a map of my route and where I'm going at home with my partner, carry my cellphone, and generally use the gps setting on my phone to track my route (for purely nerd reasons, not for the detectives to figure out what happened to me after finding me), and carry a repair kit and first aid kit (I've only used it for others so far *knock wood*). The closest I've come to a bad encounter was a car full of idiots who drove slowly ahead of me and then would brake suddenly but it was on a residential street. I rode up onto someone's driveway and got off my bike just as the home owner drove up as well. He asked me if I was alright as the idiots drove off. He saw what the idiots were doing and wrote down the plate number for me. It never happened again.
It is quite nice riding on my own because I don't have to worry about anyone. My bestie rides a bike too big for her and she mostly rides with her fingers barely touching the handlebars. It's stressful watching her. I've begged her to get a shorter stem because she can't buy a smaller bike. But I'm working on her!
2011 Jamis Durango 1.0 Femme
2005 KHS T&C commuter bike
Here's a few self portraits from a quick weekend trip to Big Bend. I first drove out to Comfort, TX to race a mtb marathon then drove to Big Bend NP to camp and do a "rest" day hike. The next couple days I spent camping on the shores of the Rio Grande and mountain biking in Big Bend State Park. It was a solo mission, although I wish my boyfriend (who is out on the east coast for training) could have been there.
To quote a favorite:
"Who wants a life imprisoned in safety?" - A. Earhardt
My work schedule permits midweek solo rides that I truly enjoy. It was on one of these solitary spins that I met my first mountain lion. She ran off leaving me feeling more exhilarated than afraid. I draw the line at solo night riding; I tried it once and every little twig snap filled me with dread.
Last edited by LadyDi; 02-05-2013 at 10:01 PM.
I have actually been considering making a thread on this very subject!
I ride alone 100% of the time. Most bikers around here are road bikers or seasonal. They are also better shape than me. I don't want to hold people back. Besides, I have a nice little trail system a couple miles from home. The biking/ walking path to it always has people, though it isn't heavy enough to be a problem to ride on. The bottom on the trails see heavy use by other people from the neighborhood who use it for mostly jogging, light hiking, and dog walking, but the trails are wide enough and the area is open enough so there is never congestion. There is a nice little picnic area at the 'top' of the easy trails with tables, canopies, and water fountains. People use it on occasion, and it is very well kept. I usually only go a couple miles past the top of the heavier trafficked 'easy' trails, though I plan on going much further in once I upgrade and my bike can handle the gnarlier stuff. The area is a desert, very open. Even when you get into the harder trails, as you go up, you can still see everything below. I have seen some dangerous desert areas, and this is not one of them. There is a trail system leading pretty far back, in addition to single track bikers have made around the sandier sections. I rarely see bikers, but I know they are there because of the well placed single track detours
Anywho, I get TONS of shocked reactions when people hear/ see me going up there alone. People ask me if I am worried or scared, and I frankly don't know what I am supposed to be worried or scared about. The area is too heavily trafficked with humans and their dogs for the coyotes to come down from the mountains, where they have plenty of room to hide. Same with the mountain lions. And the bighorns. I have never seen any of them. I have seen evidence of snakes, I have seen bunnies and roadrunners. I know how to avoid rattlers, I grew up in areas with them. They are the easiest kind of snake to avoid... There is no dangerous flora unless I go looking for it. Pretty much all scrub brush, the cactus is well off trail. Nothing poisonous. Jagged rocks and sand are my biggest enemies, and are predictable since they don't move. Never seen anyone I would classify as a 'creeper' up there either, though they do hang out along the heavily trafficked paved bike path... Even so, I am on a bike, and most people aren't. So there's that... The most dangerous thing in the deserts around here, hands down, is the heat. It is winter, so it is in the 70s with highs of 80s right now. Beautiful. And I am not stupid enough to go up there in July and August when it is 114. I have my phone, repair tools, lights, and a hydration bladder with plenty of water. Reception is only mildly spotty, and when you get far enough in where signal does drop out completely, you can always get it back by hiking to a high point 10 feet away... There are water fountains all along the bike/ walking path and at the foot of the trails.
What are people so worried about? Am I missing something, or are people around here just really paranoid? I get the shocked reactions so often, it has made ME paranoid. As a kid I often hiked alone in mountains, so why should I be worried about biking in the desert?
Because society is uber paranoid now? I really have no idea... have you thought that it's maybe gender specific thing? In my area no one bats an eye at the thought of a male biking solo, but I tend to get a bunch of "oh, you could be assaulted and kidnapped!" comments from friends and family. I have a hard time believing someone is hiding in the woods waiting for a solo female mountain biker to come along so they can kidnap me... When I road ride, I actually find that motorists are actually nicer to me, at least it seems so. I guess a girl on a pink bike on the road isn't as bad as a dude in the same spandex, haha.
Originally Posted by Bikemaya
Unfortunately it's not as safe today. I mean it's really not. Everyone can sit there and say that "oh it's just everyone being paranoid" and maybe it is. But you can't explain away that fact that near and on a trail I ride often two girls were abducted, raped, and killed. One was walking home from school (in the suburbs, with tons of traffic, near houses) and another was jogging on a well traveled small lake path that sees tons of foot traffic and bike traffic a day (not to mention...it's by a freeway and a mall). Another girl was attacked while running but she punched the guy in the face fast enough and got away. Yeah...being on a bike helps. It's harder to take down a person on a bike. But there are sickos out there. It's not stupid, insecure, paranoid, or dumb to be concerned about riding alone at night or riding alone period.
Originally Posted by sooshee
And the whole gender specific thing...yeah...of course that comes into play. Not many women go out and rape fully grown men? At least not that I hear of in the news. That's just the way it is. For what it's worth...I worry about my guy friend that rides mega mileage every week alone. He rides twisty mountain roads and I pray that he never blows a tire or something of the like and goes down and can't call for help. It's not out of the realm of possibility at all.
Cycling is amazing and cycling's amazingly fun but it doesn't have to be something that you do without considering the risks involved. And yeah...there are risks involved in everything. You can die in a car crash, hell you can fall down some stairs and break your neck. But do you actively put yourself in positions where you can be in danger or possibly get hurt? That's not being brave and not paranoid...that's recklessness.
Don't freak out every time you go alone. It's not the end of the world and it isn't the MOST dangerous thing you can do. But it IS risky. It's not completely paranoid to think that something could happen. Don't dwell on the risk...but be smart.
There definitely is an advantage of being a female rider; everyone is SUPER nice! Smiles, waves, most people move to the side of a trail for me with a smile. Drivers seem very aware of me, and give me the right of way even when they have it and I am giving it to them (I know/ follow all the traffic laws, I don't just ride nilly-willy through the streets).
Seniors seem to get the biggest kick out of seeing me take off through the desert. A few times now, there has been an older lady at the foot of the trails, or huffing and puffing up the easy stuff, who stop me to basically tell me 'You are going up there with a BIKE?! Good for you!' It's cute I figure it is just a generational thing where dirt bikes were always boys' things, and girls just rode their cruisers down main street.
My mom thinks I am nuts too, but is happy I found a sport I love My dad just rolls his eyes cause it is yet another 'boy thing' I am into... and better than him at. When I was little, he has a few shining years as the 'expert' in bikes (a tire kicker kind, if you know what I mean ), and well, the 'expert' in everything. I am also am better with computers and technology than him. His pride stops him from ever asking me for help with them, and he always pays someone to fix something I could have walked him through, or tried to fix it himself and made things worse (oh, like the time he was looking for spyware remover, and managed to instead find some scareware that attached itself to both his harddrive and bank account, and refused to let go ). He looked very lost and confused when I told him about bikes, and couldn't understand why anyone would pay more than like $500 for a bike. He was totally hung up on how much I was spending on my new build, and thought THAT was more nuts than the fact I was mountain biking. I laughed and told him some people pay over $20,000 for bikes, so $1200 is just a drop in the bucket Another generational thing, I think. He probably has only ever seen a rigid mountain bike and thinks suspension is a gimmick wally world invented for newbie bikers wanting to be comfortable, and it isn't a feature on a REAL bike.
Haha, sorry about the 'daddy' tangent. *stomps foot* I ain't a princess, so quit trying to pigeon-hole me into only girly interests! *pouts* I have a feeling I am not the only female rider who sometimes gets the eye-rolls because they are doing something that is 'meant for the boys'. Girls seem to stick up for each other much more consistently in that regard than some boys who are card holding members of the 'He-man wumunz hayterz club'. But, overall, even if the respect some people give is merely an eye roll and pat on the head, there does seem to be a lot more general friendly attitude towards female riders instead of 'get offa my lawn you damn hooligans!' kind of way of looking at us.
My mom thinks I'm nuts, too, but my dad thinks it's pretty cool. He's super happy that I found something to get me off the couch and active. He's concerned about the money I spend, but he realizes it's something good in the long run. I use to drag race cars and most of my friends are guys, so I've always done more "guy" things anyway. My parents get a little worried about me riding alone (for both psychos getting me or me getting injured reasons), but I always assure them that my boyfriend knows I'm riding, and that I have that "Find My Friends" app turned on in my iPhone so he can track me.
Funny you say people yield to you more on the trails. I find it to be the opposite most of the time, even when I have the "right away" (going uphill, for example)! I don't know if guys think I'll be timid and just pull off for them or what. I've really had to learn to stand my ground better, especially on long climbs where I don't want to stop. I'm sick of always yielding for everyone, haha.