Riding Tips

Should you ride alone?


We all love to ride bikes, especially with mates, sending big jumps, slapping berms and just having fun times. But sometimes you just want to ride solo. No noise, no banter, just you, your bike, and the trails. But is it safe, and what happens if you have a bad fall?

These are questions that we usually don’t worry about, we just ride and whatever happens just happens. Well I now have a different way of thinking after a bag fall. The story goes (warning: injuries described below some might find disturbing):

I was riding Maydena a few weeks ago and having an awesome time with a mate when everything went pear-shaped. To cut a long story short, I snapped my tibia and fibula in half, broke half the end knuckle of the tibia (growth plates) and broke four bones in my ankle. There was absolutely no chance I was walking anywhere with a leg snapped in half and my foot no longer connected to my leg. I did have a phone, so I guess I could have eventually made a call once the screaming stopped. But what if my phone was smashed, there was no service, or I didn’t take it – what then? Luckily, we had a phone with service; my mate rang for help and only 5 ½ hours later I was at the emergency department after being stretchered off the mountain, carried in a ute, then driven to the hospital by ambulance.

This experience really showed me that going out riding on my own has some serious dangers. It’s probably ok on a weekend at a popular trail but heading out to a more remote trail like Toowoomba or Mount Joyce on your own, mid-week, might be a bit risky. So how can you minimise the risk?

  • Ride when and where lots of people are riding;
  • Always take a phone and carry in a place it won’t break in a crash;
  • On solo, remote rides, carry some of your own emergency supplies in case it’s a long wait – water, pain relief, micro-splint, bandages, etc, especially a snake bike kit;
  • Tell someone exactly when and where you are riding and have a check-in time;
  • Use one of the many crash alert systems like the Garmin 520 which lets people know if you have an issue.

At a minimum these are things you should consider when riding alone. When I get back on the bike, I will definitely still ride alone, but I will, for sure, at the very least, be making sure someone knows where I am riding and when I should be checking in and getting a Garmin 520 as a backup. I really dislike using backpacks, but my USWE pack will now be getting used with some small supplies on solo rides.

Extra tip: Download the Emergency Plus app if you have a smartphone. It gives links to useful emergency contact numbers and also shows your location coordinates, which can make it much easier for emergency services to find exactly where you are.

By Sam Luff – Pushys Sponsored Athlete

Categories: Riding Tips

3 replies »

  1. I hope your recovery is coming along well. From personal experience, carrying a small first aid kit in my backpack when I crashed caused two broken ribs and a punctured lung (though not as serious as the 5 fractured vertebrae). I guess there is only so much you can fit in a saddle bag.
    Good luck for 2019!!


  2. Mustve been within a few days of a friend of mine, riding maydena solo, fortunately on a weekend, had a similar experience, came unstuck near bottom end of trail, ended up unconscious, dislocated shoulder, fractured elbow, 2x broken ribs, punctured lung. Also, big plus for Maydena, they had 1st aid guys on site, which arrived soon after he was aided by riders..


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