Most extreme, mountain-based sports have a code of conduct. Either written or spoken, this code allows riders to remain safe and responsible while on the trail. Climbing has one. Skiing and snowboarding has one. Mountain biking, a fast-paced extreme sport wherein several people share a swath of wilderness and may or may not interact with one another, has one, too. In fact, mountain biking etiquette may be one of the more important codes of conduct; you will likely share Redding’s trails with hikers, runners, and equestrians, which increases the need for extreme caution and a reverence for safety. Below, we have listed and detailed the six Rules of the Trail.

 

  1. Ride open trails. You should never ride on trails that are closed off. Respect trail and road closures, and don’t trespass on private land.
  2. Leave no trace. This applies to all outdoor adventure sports. Stay on existing trails, don’t cut switchbacks, and pack out at least as much as you can pack in.
  3. Bike in control. Keep your head up and obey all speed regulations and recommendations. Stay alert and always ride within your limits.
  4. Yield appropriately. Always let other trail users know you’re coming and give a friendly greeting. Do your best to anticipate other trail users around corners, and yield to non-bike trail users. Always yield to riders headed uphill when you are riding downhill.
  5. Don’t scare the animals. Frightened wildlife can be very dangerous, so do your best to stay alert and use special care when passing horses.
  6. Plan ahead. Do the appropriate research before your trip and pack what you’ll need. Know your equipment and your own ability and be self-sufficient. Always, always, always wear a helmet.

Depending on your mountain biking terrain, these rules of conduct should be posted on either the base or the peak of the trail or mountain. Even if they’re not, learn to respect the code and other riders; mountain biking is only safe if you know how to stay in control and handle the trail.

While the Carr Fire rages to the west, several areas in and around Redding remain perfectly suitable for mountain biking. However, some of the city’s favorite recreation areas have been scorched by the blaze. While the trails themselves can’t burn, everything around them can. This can include anything from trees and signs to benches, tables, and culverts. It is estimated that around 100 of the 120 miles of the Bureau of Land Management’s trail are affected in some way, but this does not mean they are irrevocably damaged. In fact, some of these trails may re-open before the close of the season. However, here is a list of current closures and fire-related happenings.

  • Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, which drew more than 832,000 visitors last year, has closed for the summer.
  • Large chunks of the Sacramento River Trail are missing; four bridges were burned on the western part of the loop. The city is asking the public to stay off this six-mile section until it is repaired.
  • Power lines have fallen across trails, and burned trees can pose a danger to bikers.
  • The Swasey Recreation Area has sustained significant damage; officials say it was, ”completely blackened.”

In order to re-open the trails, officials will need to inspect every mile. This is the only way to ensure safety. Officials also warn that the conditions of trails can be deceiving; bikers may see trailheads with intact kiosks and bathrooms, but dangers could lurk down the path.

Mountain bikers should continue to exercise caution as the fire slows. Autumn marks the beginning of the rainy season, and the lack of vegetation will inevitably create a lot of runoff. If the area gets a lot of rain, landslides are likely to occur.

Though much of the biking to the west of Redding has been damaged, trails to the east remain relatively untouched. The City of Redding is still ripe with mountain biking opportunities—tourists and locals should simply exercise caution to the west.

On July 23, 2018, at around 1:15pm, a wildfire began in Shasta County, California. Now known as the Carr Fire, the blaze has swept across both Shasta County and Trinity County, affecting some 1,000 residences, 22 commercial structures, and 500 outbuildings. The most impacted areas are stretches of Highway 299, Carr Powerhouse Road, and Whiskeytown, and around 528 structures remain threatened. Dozens of agencies are cooperating to subdue the blaze, including California Transit, the Shasta County Sheriff, the Redding Police Department, the Shasta County Fire Department, and the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office; the fire is currently 47% contained.

The fire has experienced varying wind exposure, which has worked to both strengthen and subdue the blaze. The abundance of timber in the area has challenged firefighting efforts, but crews will continue to construct containment lines while mitigating spot fires across control lines. Though the fire is nearly half contained, it is beginning to spread into Redding. The Government of California has been providing updated maps of affected areas each day since July 25th; we recommend downloading the most recent map to see how the fire has shifted, grown, and shrunk in recent days.

The hot, dry weather that contributed to the Carr Fire’s inception is forecasted to continue for the next several days, but firefighters are working around the clock to extinguish the blaze. However, the fire itself is so large and hot that it is creating its own localized weather system, hindering forecasting efforts. As of August 9, more than 38,000 people have been ordered to evacuate their homes.

Despite this natural disaster, this part of the state will remain one of the best cycling and biking spots in the country. While parts of Redding’s greenery have been affected by the fire, dozens of square miles of forest remain untouched. Though scary, the Carr Fire will eventually be put out, and life will return to relative normalcy in the greater Redding area. When that happens, we expect the mountain biking industry to return in full force.

This is something we love about cycling; no matter how intense the devastation appears, enthusiasts are always willing to jump back on the bike. Redding, in particular, may see an uptick in biking interest in the wake of the Carr Fire; mountain biking provides the unique opportunity to explore the aftermath of large-scale fires while trekking through the areas that remain untouched. Cycling will allow both visitors and locals to experience the dramatic effects of this fire first-hand. We can’t wait to get back on the trails.

As with any sport, mountain biking comes with its own terminology and language. Learning the ropes out on the trail is nearly as important as understanding essential commands, equipment, and ways of communicating. In memorizing a handful of important terms, you’ll be able to better communicate with fellow bikers both on and off the trail. The Redding mountain biking scene is full of veteran riders who might tease you if you don’t know your stuff. Brush up on some of the most important words with our guide below.

 

Attack Position: This is the well-balanced position you ride in while you are approaching or riding on rough terrain. The knees are bent, the butt is above the saddle, the elbows are slightly bent, and the head is raised.

Berm: An embankment on the trail

Bunny Hop: A hop you incorporate to clear obstacles, such as logs, without stopping

Chain Suck: The dragging, jamming, and bunching of the chain that occurs in sloppy, muddy conditions

Clipless Pedal: A pedal that has spring-loaded cleats that clip to a rider’s shoe

Dialed In: When everything on your bike is running smoothly

Doubletrack: Two trails that run parallel to each other; this may also be called a tractor trail or Jeep trail.

Downshift: Shifting to a lower gear

Dropping In: When you proceed down a steep single track when other riders are around

Dualie: A bike with both front and rear suspension

Endo: A crash that involves going over the handlebars

Fire Road: a backcountry dirt or gravel trail wide enough for emergency vehicles to use

Gnarl: This is an extreme technical section of a trail often characterized by rough, rooted, slippery, and rocky sections.

Grider: A long, uphill climb

Hardtail: A bike with no rear suspension

Line: The desirable path or strategy to tackle a tricky section of the trail

Ratchet: A riding technique in which the rider pedals in partial strokes to clear difficult obstacles

Upshift: A shift into a higher gear

Wash Out: When the front tire loses traction, especially while going around a corner

Yard Sale: A crash so bad it scatters every piece of equipment

Whether you’re new to biking or need to refresh your technique, you’ll likely fall into some bad habits on the trail. It is important to start mountain biking with the correct form and equipment for maintain skill and handling throughout your time as a biker. Redding is full of passionate, experienced bikers, and if you have a question on the trail, don’t be afraid to ask the person taking a break at the next turn. Similarly, do what you can to research mistakes to avoid. Here’s our roundup of beginner errors you’ll want to understand before stepping foot on the mountain.

 

Not using your front breaks. You should use your front breaks. It’s often the more important of the two brakes you have on your bike. Of course, the wrong situation can flip you over the handlebars. Use the front brakes to keep control of the bike and drastically shorten your braking distance where necessary. The front break will account for up to 90% of your downhill stopping power. Remember that.

 

Don’t hold any tension in your body. You’ve probably heard that statistic about drunk drivers surviving car crashes more often than sober drivers. This is because they’re less likely to hold tension in their bodies, which allows them to react more naturally to the impact. The same logic applies to riding. If you have a stiff neck and shoulders, you’ll end up hurting yourself. It’ll also be pretty dang uncomfortable. If you catch yourself hunching your shoulders, remember to relax.

 

Get the right type of bike for what you’re doing. We’ve already covered the types of bikes that apply to the types of biking disciplines. If you’re not sure which bike works best, talk to a sales associate or visit one of Redding’s dozens of bike shops to pick up a rental. We don’t recommend making a bike purchase until you’ve figured out which discipline you like best.

 

You’re wearing the wrong clothes. Cotton can really hold you back when you’re out on the trail. It’ll leave you soaked with sweat, which can make you catch a chill, cause an injury, or—in the most extreme cases—get hypothermia. Wear mountain biking-appropriate clothing, which will include moisture-wicking fabrics and zipped pockets.

 

Keep your butt off the seat. Keeping your rear a few inches above your seat is an excellent way to absorb the shock of rough terrain. However, if you have to stand up to pedal through an easy part of the trail, your cadence level is probably too high. Switch down a gear so your legs can more easily pedal through an area. Generally speaking, you should be looking for 75-100 foot rotations per minute.