Mountain biking is one of cycling’s most popular disciplines, and consists of riding over rocky and rooted terrain on bikes with thick, knobby tires for extra traction and grip. Within mountain biking, there are a whole variety of disciplines, ranging from cross-country (XC) over trails and singletrack, freeriding – stunt riding performed on natural and man-made features, and downhill – racing down a technical downhill course to get the fastest time. Ithaca is fortunate to have some of the best mountain biking trails to the east of the Mississippi River at the Shindagin and Hammond Hill State Forests – so get out there and enjoy it!
The club races in the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference (ECCC) at all experience levels in all disciplines. If you are interested in racing mountain for us, by all means come out and give it a shot!
If you do choose to enjoy the excellent trails in the area, we ask that you follow and respect these rules, from the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) to maximize the everyone’s enjoyment of the trails in the area:
- Ride Open Trails: Respect trail and road closures — ask a land manager for clarification if you are uncertain about the status of a trail. Do not trespass on private land. Obtain permits or other authorization as required. Be aware that bicycles are not permitted in areas protected as state or federal Wilderness.
- Leave No Trace: Be sensitive to the dirt beneath you. Wet and muddy trails are more vulnerable to damage than dry ones. When the trail is soft, consider other riding options. This also means staying on existing trails and not creating new ones. Don’t cut switchbacks. Be sure to pack out at least as much as you pack in.
- Control Your Bicycle: Inattention for even a moment could put yourself and others at risk. Obey all bicycle speed regulations and recommendations, and ride within your limits.
- Yield Appropriately: Do your utmost to let your fellow trail users know you’re coming — a friendly greeting or bell ring are good methods. Try to anticipate other trail users as you ride around corners. Bicyclists should yield to other non-motorized trail users, unless the trail is clearly signed for bike-only travel. Bicyclists traveling downhill should yield to ones headed uphill, unless the trail is clearly signed for one-way or downhill-only traffic. In general, strive to make each pass a safe and courteous one.these rules
- Never Scare Animals: Animals are easily startled by an unannounced approach, a sudden movement or a loud noise. Give animals enough room and time to adjust to you. When passing horses, use special care and follow directions from the horseback riders (ask if uncertain). Running cattle and disturbing wildlife are serious offenses.
- Plan Ahead: Know your equipment, your ability and the area in which you are riding and prepare accordingly. Strive to be self-sufficient: keep your equipment in good repair and carry necessary supplies for changes in weather or other conditions. Always wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear.
 International Mountain Bicycling Association, “www.imba.com.” Accessed August 6, 2012. http://www.imba.com/about/rules-trail.