If you think the hardest part of mountain biking is over when you’ve made it to the top, you’re mistaken. And you really should read these tips right now, before you set off on your bike into the mountains.

1Be honest with yourself
It’s the absolute classic mistake: we all think we are fitter and more experienced than we often are, sadly enough. This can be an issue in mountain biking, too. Because you might be able to get up to the top, but if you don’t know how to get back down safely, you’ve got a problem on your hands. Knowing what you’re capable of is the way to avoid the greatest dangers – and allows you to have fun, rather than being frustrated.

2 Don’t be ashamed to do a dry run
If you’ve never ridden down a trail, you really should have a couple of practice sessions beforehand to get to know your mountain bike and the right riding techniques. It’s much easier when you don’t have the next rider behind you hustling to get down.

3 Take nature as it is
When it’s 20 degrees in the valley, it doesn’t mean it’s the same temperature at the summit, of course. It’s cooler up there. And there are other animals living up there, too, which occasionally wander near to the trails despite every precaution. “You should ride at a speed where you are completely in control, and generally keep a distance, anyway” says Heinz Peer of the Silvretta Bike Academy, which offers tours for both mountain bikers and e-bikers.

4 Keep to the paths
It’s tempting, of course, to take a short cut now and again. But the next person behind you might follow your example, and in the end there’ll be less fun for everyone as mountain biking will have to be limited. There’s a huge choice as it is, with almost 40 trails in the Silvretta Arena aimed at different levels of riding ability.

5 Go easy on the rear brakes
“The rear brakes should be used as little as possible, as they can ruin the paths and increase erosion in the Alps,” says Heinz Peer. It’s also important for e-bikers to learn the right braking techniques, warns the bike guide, as otherwise the brakes get worn out quickly.

6 Have the right kit with you
This applies to weatherproof clothing as well as enough to eat and drink, and the most important tools to deal with minor bicycle repairs. Then you can get going!