Hand Made in the Mitten

General Guidelines for Mountain Biking

A little history behind Michigan's own mountain bike dilemmas. In the late 80's and early 90's Michigan trails were in nearly lost to mountain bikers. the DNR was ready to ban all mountain bikes on State lands. Thanks to the efforts of some determined cyclists, who formed the Michigan Mountain Bke Association (MMBA.org), we are still able to enjoy these spaces. Over the years the MMBA has grown in numbers, and proven to be an asset to both the DNR, and the biking community. Through their efforts many trails have remained accessible, and many new trail opportunities have been realized.


Even with cycling organizations, there will always be the possibility of trail closings. But if we all do our part while on the trails, we will be able to enjoy the excitement of mountain biking for years. This is not only a Michigan problem, across America many miles of trails have been closed to mountain bikes. The usual suspect for trail closings is the irresponsible riding habits of a few riders. Please consider the consequences of your actions and do your part to keep the trails open. We suggest IMBA's (International Mountain Bike Association) guidelines for riding safety and etiquette. Remember The way you ride will influence trail management decisions and policies. As cyclist we should show support the IMBA, and MMBA and aid them in their continued efforts.

General principles of "Leave No Trace"

Plan ahead and prepare Camp and travel on durable surfaces, and existing trails Pack it in, Pack it out Properly dispose of trash (once packed out) Leave what you find Minimize use and impact of fires Minimize Biking impacts


Respect trail and road closures, avoid possible trespass on private land, obtain permits or other authorization as may be required. Federal and state Wilderness areas are closed to cycling.


Be sensitive to the dirt beneath you. Even on open (legal) trails, you should not ride under conditions where you will leave evidence of your passing, such as on certain soils after a rain. Practice low-impact cycling, 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.


Inattention for even a second can cause problems. Obey all bicycle speed regulations and recommendations. Know your limits and pay attention to the trail ahead.


Make known your approach well in advance. A friendly greeting or bell is considerate and works well; don't startle others. Show your respect when passing by slowing to a walking pace or even stopping. Anticipate other trail users around corners or in blind spots. Riders going uphill always have the right of way on two direction trails.


Animals can be startled by an unannounced approach, a sudden movement, or a loud noise. This can be dangerous for you, others, and the animals. Give animals extra room and time to adjust to you. When passing horses use special care and follow directions from the horseback rider (ask if uncertain). Running cattle and disturbing wildlife is a serious offense. Leave gates as you found them, or as marked.


Know your equipment, your ability, and the area in which you are riding and prepare accordingly. Be self-sufficient at all times, keep your equipment in good repair, and carry necessary supplies for changes in weather. A well-executed trip is a satisfaction to you and not a burden or offense to others. Always wear a helmet and appropriate safety gear.



NEVER Change the physical nature of the trail, or add new trails. Any trail obstructions should be reported to the local bike organization or Park authorities.

ALWAYS Remove labels from sports drinks or bottled water bottles, this will prevent the label from becoming garbage on the trail.

ALWAYS Pack out energy food wrappers, and sports drink bottles.

ALWAYS inform other trail users you are approaching, slow down as you pass.

ALLOW Better riders to pass (slow down and ride to one side of the trail).

DO NOT cut down trees, make short cuts, or by passes. stay on the trail and off the vegetation.

MAINTAIN your pet! If fido must run with you make sure he is not disturbing someone else's ride time. Obey posted signs to keep dogs on a leash. Avoid bring your pet to a tight, technical trial that no one can pass (HIGHLAND). And for God's sake CLEAN UP THEIR MESS!, nothing worse than sliding out on dog business at speed.

BE Respectful of the locals, you may be on or near private land.

BE Smart, don't ride into any situations that may be over you abilities or just plain dangerous

PARK in designated locations.

USE existing trails, bushwhacking and adventure cycling are completely unacceptable.

Copyright Moose Mitts LLC  2016