DH etiquette

These are some rules of thumb that really should be obeyed. They do not stop you from having a good time, they just let other people have fun too.

The general theme of the whole thing is: “just think about what you are doing, if it’s going to piss someone else off or injure someone, don’t do it”. That’s pretty straight forward.



1. This one is easy, it just seems that some people don’t quite know what they are meant to do. if you are riding, no matter in a race run or practice, if you catch up to a slower rider in front of you, yell “rider”, or “track”, or another OBVIOUS word or phrase.

2. If you are the rider in front, get off the track or out of the way as soon as you can. Yell out “on my left” or “on my right” if possible. Make sure you time this well. You don’t want to say it too early or they will run into you, and you don’t want to say it too late or they won’t be able to pass.

3. Now no one expects you to ride into a tree or dive into a bush, but as soon as you can, get out of the way. If that means you have to stop and put a foot down, then so be it. You must get out of the way as fast as you can, especially in racing.

4. The faster rider should also be patient though, and realize that sometimes there just isn’t anywhere safe to get off the track. Leave a bit of room between you and the rider in front too, it will be pretty slow if you run into them and crash.


1. When you crash, check behind you to make sure you have not damaged the track. Sometimes you will accidentally push a foreign object onto the track, which could cause a crash, so make sure you have a good look behind you.

2. So, when you crash, if you have accidentally pushed a large rock into the middle of the track, or any other foreign obstacle (or moved an obstacle that was already there), either put it off the track entirely (and away from the fallzone) or back to its original spot, securely.

3. If you fall off and decide to have a bit of a break, and want to have a sit down or lie down and get your breath back, that’s fine, in fact I’d encourage it. But, make sure that you are well away from the track, and unless you need help, do not look in distress. Remember; put your bike well out of the way. Do not put it next to the track – EVER. If someone wants to pull off to the side to let another rider past or to just have a break and they run over your bike, I bet neither they (who has now crashed and may be hurt) or you (who has just had their bike damaged) are going to be happy – and it’s all your fault. Again, common sense, but do not put it in a fall-zone. If someone crashes and lands on your pedal or gets a handle bar end in their liver or kidney I’m sure you won’t be very popular.

4. If you do crash, and cannot move or get off the track, then you need to be very mindful of what is going on around you. Listen very carefully, anytime you think you hear an approaching rider yell out “rider down” or “stop” or even “help”. It’s safer to yell heaps that it is to be run over.

5. When you are re-entering the track, make sure that you look and listen before you jump onto the main line. You don’t want to be in another crash before you’ve even started to ride again.


1. Everyone needs to stop and have a break every now and then. You do have to make sure that you will not cause an accident though!

2. Never stop on the track, always wait for a safe area away from the track and fall-zone where you will be out of the way.

3. Never, ever, stop on the track without warning. If for some reason you have no choice but to lose all momentum, yell “stopping on track” loud and clear, so that anyone near you can hear it. Give as much reasonable warning as possible, don’t just yell it and then slam on the brakes, yell it, then stop a bit more gradually.

4. If you are about to pull off the track to have a break, make sure that any riders behind you know that you are about to slow down and pull off. It may catch them off guard, and you might get a rider up your bum. Yell “stopping on the right” or “stopping on the left” so that everyone can hear it. Again, make sure you give plenty of warning. Don’t yell it as you are doing it, yell before you do it!

5. If you have had no choice and have stopped in the middle of the track, and there is no where to go, but you cannot move on (bad mechanical etc.) make sure you are listening and looking very carefully for riders. If you hear an approaching rider, yell warnings loud and clear like “rider down” or “track out”. It is your responsibility to get out of their way, if that’s not possible then make sure they know you are there in plenty of time.


1. If you damage it, fix it. It’s a very simple thing. If you crash and take out some bunting, put the damn bunting back up. If you roll over a jump over and over and wear away the lip, fix it back up – but only if you posses the knowledge to do so. If you don’t, tell someone who you think does, or better yet the original builders of the track.

2. Do not change the track because you don’t like a section. NEVER EVER change something that is not yours. Don’t forget, if you do change the track, the new part you build will be illegal, and thus make the whole track illegal, meaning that a club can’t race it, and that the land owner may rip it down/cover it up.

3. Don’t cheat, or create huge new lines that are obviously not part of the track. Ride on the track, not next to it. A bit of common sense needs to be applied here, but everyone knows where the track ends and where cheating and cutting starts.

4. If you can’t ride it, please swallow your pride and walk it. It is much better to walk than it is to skid down it and damage the track, or to make a new dodgy line/track that makes land owners angry.


1. You need to display common courtesy. If you are out for a weekend ride, and you see someone who is struggling to fix a broken chain or punctured tube, stop, say hello, and give then a hand! If you have tools with you then make sure you offer their use. Imagine if you were in their position! If you are at your local trails think about what sort of reputation you want your area to have, that of a friendly bunch of keen riders or that of a bunch of snobby fast guys (or slow/rich ones)?

2. If you see lost riders help them.

3. Offer some water and/or food to an injured or obviously fatigued rider.

4. In fact, if you see a rider who needs any sort of help, and you can help them in any way, then do so. If not, still stop and say hi.

5. Do NOT EVER push in line for shuttles or chair rides. This pisses everyone off, and if there are other people using the service then you also give mountain biking as a whole a bad reputation. If you are seen by a race official, you may well be disqualified too.

6. Don’t be elitist. It sucks, and makes the sport very hard to get into.

7. Don’t be novice-ist. It’s the opposite of elitist, where you think everyone who rides fast is out to get you.

8. Always take your rubbish with you.


1. Don’t cheat. You know what cheating is, and you know that you shouldn’t do it.

2. Don’t sandbag!

3. Be nice to any volunteers, even if they don’t know what they are doing. If there is a volunteer who is clearly over his/her head, speak to the race director about it, so that the person can be educated. Don’t just tear their heads off, that will only end in tears and a disqualification.

4. Help out! Say to yourself that you will help out at one race a year, or at a particular track each year, or every second race, or that you are happy to do one job every race. (Remember, there are jobs to be done that allow you to race and help). – Stay after the race and help pack up the gear (bunting, wires, collecting rubbish, packing up tents – there’s always lots to do).


6. If you want to fight, DON’T!

7. Leave the agro on the track.

8. If you have got a placing, then get up onto the damn podium. When making your speech, always thank the organizers and volunteers, as well as anybody who has helped you out. Don’t yack on for too long though, you’re not that interesting!

9. Send an e-mail to the organizing club after the race and thank them for the race. If you have any ideas for improvements send them too, but not phrased as a complaint. This is only really necessary for bigger events, and maybe once a year to the organizers of a club series. Or just thank them on the day!

10. If you are asked to, make sure you hand in your number plate


1. Do it subtly, and only to the Race Director. Do not ever go around bad mouthing the race before you have spoken to the organizers.

2. Do it politely, don’t just walk up to them and start yelling.

3. Do it at an appropriate time. Don’t start talking to them about slow shuttles while he/she is doing the presentation. Some things are best left to after the race.

4. Once you have said your bit, and they have acknowledged your complaint, leave them alone. If you choose, you could send the organizers an e-mail after the race just to re-cap on your problem, but do not come across agro or upset, just do it in a way that is to remind them of the problem at the same time as thank them for the race. Make sure you ALWAYS say something positive.

5. If it’s something you could fix, or help to fix, then offer to do so.