Handle Ruts While Mountain Biking

Handle Ruts While Mountain Biking
Every mountain biker will run into ruts occasionally. Ruts form when something (truck, bike, ATV) rides across a wet, muddy area or when the same path is used repeatedly, causing erosion of the soil. Knowing how to handle ruts will help keep you from a painful crash.


Difficulty: Easy

Step 1
Choose whether you're going to ride the rut out or if you're going to get out of the rut. Taking the path of least resistance is often a smart choice in this case. If the rut looks like you can ride it without too many problems - if it's wide and shallow - you may choose to ride it out.
Step 2
Stay calm and don't panic about being in the rut. Some individuals panic about being in the rut and immediately try to get out of it, which can be a recipe for disaster. Instead, consider the rut and if you decide to get out of it, look for a good place to do so.
Step 3
Slow down and turn your wheel toward the rut's side if you want to get out. This allows you to roll out of the rut without hitting its wall with the side of your tire. Skilled riders can lift or hop their front tire out of the rut, but this takes practice. If the side of your tire hits the wall, you're more likely to crash.
Step 4
Look for spots in the rut where the wall gently slopes upward, gets shallower or is uniformly steep (i.e. it's not jagged and doesn't have parts that are crumbling down). These will be the easiest spots to get out of the rut. If you can't find anything like this, your choice is to ride the rut or get off the bike and reposition yourself.
Step 5
Cross the rut instead of falling into it. To do this, make a sharp move sideways and cross the rut as close to perpendicular to the rut as you can get. You'll also need to do this quickly or you'll risk the tire falling in. Doing this takes practice and you should start on flat surfaces that have small ruts.
Step 6
Opt for shallow, wide, established ruts if you have to or want to ride one. Fresh, deep or narrow ruts often lead to crashes as they are difficult to ride and your tire or pedal has a good chance of hitting the side.

Article Written By Melissa Haveman

Melissa Haveman has been mountain biking, cross country skiing, and hiking all over the Midwest, as well as other parts of the world, for many years. She particularly enjoys writing about hiking with her dogs for various websites and regional publications

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