Think safety when riding in winter

Think safety when riding in winter


Mountain biking in winter has nothing to do with the excursions you can do during other seasons. To make great excursions, safety must always be at the center of your concerns.

To find out more and get sound advice, I spoke with Marc-Olivier Bilodeau, who is the general safety coordinator and supervisor of the squad of provincial agents of the Fédération québécoise des clubs quad.

“You have to take into account several elements, such as clothing, planning your outing and more. It must be remembered that a winter outing has nothing to do with a summer outing. In my opinion, the first element to watch is the weather forecast. You must check the surface condition of the trails you want to take. Also, if the amateur rides a quad bike or a quad bike, it makes a difference. The quad bike is heavier [it is] therefore more difficult to circulate if the trails are covered with snow. »

Once you have started thinking about what you want to do exactly , other precautions should be taken.

“Once the route you want to follow is known, shorter than in summer as much as possible, you have to check if there are relays and the distance between them. They will be very useful for warming up when needed. » 

Riding on snow-covered trails can make a significant difference in driving, but also in the fuel consumption of your ATV.

“Also, I always advise to ride with two ATV riders, because you never know what can happen. If need be, we'll have a way out. You must have a winch on at least one machine, a shovel, a tow rope. »


« When traveling on trails, crossing fields, it can happen that you encounter snow blades formed by the wind. I insist on telling enthusiasts to always choose a vehicle with heated grips and heated thumb, if they plan to go winter riding. Naturally, you have to add a higher windshield to protect against the wind. »

For this specialist, there are certain things you should always have with you when hiking.

“I recommend always having a headlamp with you, a booster set to start your vehicle if necessary. Personally, I add to that a butane torch, spare hand warmers. Also, it is necessary to bring food composed of products which can give an energy contribution to keep its forces. If you get stuck and you work hard to get out of this mess, you have to keep your strength with adequate food. 

In winter, you will find that the consumption of your vehicle's fuel is higher.

“You need to have fuel on hand. The engine will be more stressed, the wheels will lose traction, leading to a significant expenditure of gasoline. 


For tires, the air pressure must be reduced at least, according to the manufacturer's instructions. The use of studs is strongly recommended to increase traction.

The expert believes that the multilayer solution is the best to adopt.

“In winter, during a mountain bike outing, there is a risk of getting stuck and also of getting hypothermia. So you have to equip yourself accordingly. For clothes, I beg people never to wear cotton, because this fabric is a vector of cold. The layering system, with good underwear in merino or other wool, directly on the skin, will make a big difference, by adding other layers of warm clothing and a suit that is suitable for quad riding, especially not the very conspicuous clothing that is used for off-roading. The latter are made to breathe because off-trail, you do a lot of movement, whereas on a quad, seated at the controls, you don't move much. I also suggest having a blanket on the bench. You also need to have a good helmet, equipped with an anti-fog system and even a heated visor. »

I would go from my little personal addition concerning what you absolutely must have when riding. 'hike. I always have a communication system with me that does not require a cellular network. 

You can think of the Spot system, but also of a satellite phone. In an emergency, it can make a difference. I know what I mean. Today, several stores offering this type of device can rent them.