Take to the trails
For triathletes who train on roads all summer, the idea of uneven terrain and the possibility of smacking into a tree can make trail riding a daunting prospect. Staying safe is easier than you might think, says Ray Mazey, coach at Mountain Bike Instruction (mountainbikeinstruction.co.uk).
"Expect the bike to feel a bit unstable. When you hit rocks and other obstacles, it will definitely throw the bike about a bit. Don't panic. When you panic, you will grab the brakes, which, of course, stops the front wheel from turning and this is when you will come off the bike," he says.
"There are a few techniques you can employ that can greatly minimise risk. When descending, keep two fingers on the handlebars, two fingers over the brake levers and apply some pressure, but not too much. The brakes should apply a slight resistance to both wheels, but still allow them to turn."
Pay attention when you're descending, too. "Pedals should be horizontal, and you should be standing on them with your legs slightly bent, and your backside just hovering over the seat," says Mazey. "Standing on the pedals keeps you balanced on the bike and also keeps the pedals clear of any obstacles. Hovering over the seat, transfers your body weight away from the front wheel, which will make it much easier for the bike to roll over rocks."
As a general (eminently sensible) rule, Mazey offers this: "Wherever you look, that is where the bike will go. So keep your chin up and only look where you want to go and not where you don't want to go."