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MTB Tips

Mountain biking offers a great opportunity to explore the bush. Use this opportunity for enjoyment not to ride out into trouble. It is virtually unheard of for mountain bikers to need to be rescued. We hope the information in this section and the MTB Information section will help ensure that you do not become the exception.

A reasonably experienced and fit mountain biking group can expect to average about six times the pace of the average walking group. The actual situation obviously depends on the terrain. You cannot ride a six day walk in one day because you will not have the stamina to continue at that pace. 

Be aware that you may start a ride travelling down hill at 15 times walking pace. If your bike breaks down at the bottom of the hill  and you have to drag it back up the hill at half walking pace you may not get back before dark.

Bikes

Off road cycling on genuine 4WD tracks is not the same as riding your MTB on the bike path. This type of track can be very tough on a bike. Do not expect a cheap $300 MTB to stay reliable for long. 

Do not go out unless you are confident that your bike is in good operating condition. Brakes adjusted and sufficient rubber on the blocks. Tyres in good condition with appropriate pressure. (enough pressure to ensure that you will not hit the rim on a hard landing and blow the tyre, but not so much that the ride is so harsh you cannot comfortable control the bike downhill) Headset and saddle tight and stable, Chain, derailer, pedals, hubs, bottom bracket running smoothly and lubricated. Cables in good condition.

Mandatory Items

Puncture kit with plenty of patches and fresh glue, spare tube, tyre levers,  pump. and a  basic tool that will tighten most of the nuts on your bike. Sufficient water and food.

If you are going any distance away from main roads a topographical map is essential. These are available in Mount Beauty.

Desirable Items

Light, compact basic first aid items, chain tool to remove damaged  links, compass, knife, cloth tape or rubber sleeve to repair damaged tyre and silver foil emergency survival blanket.

All these items should be able to fit in a under seat bag and cycling top pockets, or a small bum bag.

Clothing

For rides on the High Plains, be prepared for sudden changes in weather irrespective of the forecast. Ensure that you are not overdressed causing excessive perspiration, loosing valuable body moisture. Carrying a wind proof & shower proof top, and thermal underwear is a light compact option for most days. On really cold days you may need a long sleeve top or arm warmers, and long cycling pants. You may also need a thermal jacket for when you stop. You never know when you may be forced to stop due to a bike break down in your group.

Remoteness

In Australia there are simply very few people out there in the bush. Go more than three kilometres from a road or car park and the only other people you are likely to see for the rest of the day are members of your own party.

The majority of the great rides in the area do not take you far from a road. However some will. Study the proper topographical map to make sure you know where you are heading. Understand that  the more isolated the track the greater the possible risk. Be prepared for the rare event that you will have to push a broken bike twenty kilometres back to the nearest road.

Let someone know before you go

Don't forget to tell someone which ride you are doing, and when to expect you back. In the unlikely event that something goes wrong you will get help sooner. Fill in log books in the Alpine National park where you come across them. If you run into problems, or think that you may be lost, fill in details of the date and your party in the guest book of any hut you visit. Also indicate where you are heading to. Give your friends back home the phone number of your accommodation at Kiewa View so that they can ring and check on you.

Possible problems and solutions

 

Problem

Solution

1. Puncture Remove tube, inflate to locate the hole, check the tyre in the same location to ensure that the object is not still embedded in the tyre. Slightly inflate the spare tube, place it inside the tyre on the rim. Press the tyre back on the rim, finishing at the value. Inflate to normal pressure. If time permits repair the old tube now or make sure you repair on return.
2. Broken Spoke If you have a good rim in good condition you should only have to loosen off the brakes on that wheel until the wheel turns freely. Otherwise you may need to disengage the brakes on that wheel completely and ride home very carefully.
3. Tyre blow out Repair tube, flip tube over so hole in tube is not under hole in tyre. Place patch on tube directly under hole in tyre, strengthen tyre inside with cloth  tape or sleeve. If necessary insert leaves or bark to stop the tube poking through the hole.
4. Buckled wheel Use a spoke spanner to adjust surrounding spokes to pull the wheel closer to true. Disconnect brakes if necessary. In extreme cases carefully use your body weight or a rock to straighten the rim sufficiently so the bike can be ridden.
5. Broken chain link Use miniature chain breaker to remove damaged link  and then reinsert the pin. One or two intermediate gears may not work but you will be able to ride home successfully
6. Broken brake cable Ride carefully using the remaining brake
7. Broken Derailer Break the chain with a chain breaker, bypass the derailer and remove sufficient links to convert the bike into a fixed gear bike. Select a gear which you can handle on the flat and slightly up hill. Limp home riding the flat, walking the steep hills and coasting the downhills.
8. Broken gear cable Tie the cable to lock the front or rear derailer into the middle position. Limp home only using the remaining derailer.

These problems are listed in likely order of occurrence. You can see that with a little bit of planning and preparation you can overcome most problems fairly easily.

Learn from others

If you are not experienced, it is suggested that you ride with experienced riders first. They can not only teach you riding skills, but also emergency bush maintenance and how to check out your bike before you start.

Trail Etiquette

We are very fortunate to have an abundance of rideable terrain with few restrictions. Lets keep it that way.

Stick to fire trails, management vehicle trails and other approved tracks. Do not ride on walkers only tracks.

Be on the lookout for walkers and horse riders, particularly at busy holiday periods or if you have seen signs of people around. Slow right down when you approach other users, warn them that you are coming, offer them right of way and be ready to come to a complete stop.

Never litter. It is so easy to carry out the rappers and plastic, there can be no excuse. We want to come back and we want it to be nice when we do.

 

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Revised: August 21, 2012