Night rides

gerroffandmilkit
gerroffandmilkit Posts: 160
edited August 2013 in Road general
What are your thoughts regarding setting off for night rides? I'm talking about riding out late at night, say from around 10 0'clock onwards.
With the onset of summer (if it gets here!) I imagine it to be quite pleasant to set off on a quiet summers evening when the roads are very quiet and you have them to yourself. Not sure if I'd fancy unlit rural routes. - probably scare myself stupid with daft thoughts while riding! :lol:

Any body do it on a regular basis?

Comments

  • Went out the other night at about 8 and didn't get back until quarter to 10 by which time it was dark. Roads were beautifully quiet although a little too quiet at one point when I briefly got myself lost.
  • ooermissus
    ooermissus Posts: 811
    Did a lot of late, dark and often very wet rides in the few months before Christmas. Leaving at 9ish after getting back from work and eating. Mostly rural roads. Some tracks. You need great lights - I had a cheap torch from China which worked very well, plus a backup if that went wrong. Only odd thing is that you can't see anything (or anyone) outside your cone of light on a truly dark night. Really beautiful at times - especially when the floods turned the fields into massive lakes. In the summer, it's good to start in the dark and ride towards the sun rising.
  • Strith
    Strith Posts: 541
    Love it, I ride regularly with a bunch of guys around the lanes outside of london and it's great. Mostly unlit lanes, so you need good lights.
    In the middle of summer when it's warm it's amazing. I've also done the same on holidays in parts of asia when the daytime temps have been knocking around 40 degrees, good fun too.
    Probably the best night rides I've done are midweek rides around central london at about 3am. I'm a bit of an insomniac and on occasion I've gone out for a spin through town, and with no one around and without the hustle and bustle it can be quite breathtaking.
    Just let people know you are out and when to expect you back, and get good lights.
  • Not sure if I'd fancy unlit rural routes.
    With some decent, powerful, front lights, two on the back (you're not going to know if one packs up...), and some useful reflective clothing*, you're very visible indeed. 99% of my road riding is on rural roads, and I've no qualms at all about the being seen at night. Combine that with the low levels of traffic and I reckon it's actually safer late at night than during the day, from a getting clouted point of view at least.

    If anything, the most dangerous aspect of it all is spotting potholes, which can hide pretty well in the shadows. A powerful MTB-style head (as in, mounted on your head) light can help loads here, but you've still got to keep your eyes peeled. It's just common sense really, like driving a car on the same roads with dipped lights - you see it later, so be aware of speed.

    The other thing to bear in mind, and this is really important, is riding at night in the country on a summers night is bloody awesome. The silence, the fauna that flits/scampers/wanders into view, the heavens above, the sense of peace and pleasant loneliness... it's just superb. Do it. (It's pretty good when the weather's manky as well, just not as good.)


    * As in, something with a decent area of reflective stuff, not just the odd logo. That stuff shows up at a huge distance in full beam lights.
    Mangeur
  • raymondo60
    raymondo60 Posts: 735
    Strith wrote:
    Probably the best night rides I've done are midweek rides around central london at about 3am. I'm a bit of an insomniac and on occasion I've gone out for a spin through town, and with no one around and without the hustle and bustle it can be quite breathtaking.

    That sounds a brill idea strith - definitely gonna give that a go!
    Raymondo

    "Let's just all be really careful out there folks!"
  • ct8282
    ct8282 Posts: 414
    Get yourself a set of Ayup lights. I used them during my MTB days. Me and my best mate used to go riding from about 11pm and we would literally tear up everything, roads, woodlands, town centres, rural tracks etc and the lack of other people around made it much more enjoyable.

    The Ayup lights are astonishing!! They're about as big as if you put your 2 bent thumbs together side by side and weigh next to nothing. On the rural roads we would see cars dipping their headlights as they came round corners because they assumed we were another car coming the other way! The beams are so bright and the whole system is completely water proof, freeze proof, drop proof etc. in fact I'm pretty sure on their website is says that if you can find a way to break one they want to hear from you and will obviously replace the set. Check out their videos when they freeze a set in a block of ice and it works flawlessly. Want to wash them off, check them into a bowl of hot soapy water with all the battery's and cables connected. It doesn't matter, they just work. And they look awesome too.

    If you get their 'adventure v4' set you'll get 2 lights so you can place one on your bars (great for roads) and then fix the other one on your lid and there's not a pot hole, patch of ice, puddle, fox, mouse, or bit of glass that you won't spot ahead of time.

    Check out how much brighter the lights are compared to the car headlights and rear lights. Its not marketing bull, they really are that good.

    http://youtu.be/lF-PytIrF_8
  • diy
    diy Posts: 6,473
    I like the idea of a London night ride. I've done loads of MTB night rides and a fair few night MTB enduros (6hr+). Its great riding in the dark with all the wildlife and as others have said there are plenty of lighting options which will turn night in to day. Though having ridden with people who have bought ay-ups, I can't say they would be on my short list. Great if you want something cool looking, but their day of being better than the rest is well and truly over.

    With road riding I would be careful about just how bright a set of lights you use. For MTB I tend to run 3-4 lights giving me about 1500-2000 Lumen as its all about seeing the trail, on road I run 2 on medium/low (about 2-400 lumen) and its more than enough. I'd be worried about blinding people if I had anything other than a small flashy on the helmet. Remember its useful to have a light pointing back at you a bit (just a single cheapo led) as it makes your profile much bigger for oncoming traffic.

    As with night mtb, you don't want to do this on your own.
  • TakeTurns
    TakeTurns Posts: 1,075
    I've done the Dunwich Dynamo, which was an epic ride. 9-10pm start 6-8ish finish (120miles) at the beach. Did it with a friend and it was great fun. It was a spontaneous idea at the time, so wd had only gathered some nutrition. Only real mistake I made was to not take an extra layer. I went out with S/S Jersey + Shorts. It was predominantly flat and therefore it felt a bit cold around early morning.
  • marcusjb
    marcusjb Posts: 2,412
    Riding at night is one of the great pleasures in life. I love it. Especially in summer. But every night we ride through, my favourite moment is when you can feel dawn arriving, the birds singing, the growing light.

    Bit grim in winter, but that's life.

    Decent set of lights and do it a few times, all becomes second nature really.
  • ooermissus
    ooermissus Posts: 811
    the most dangerous aspect of it all is spotting potholes

    And wildlife. Once had a deer jump out of a hedgerow in front of me just after dawn and then slip and fall on the road. Still don't know how I missed it.

    For lights, I went with the "dead simple, all you need to get going" guide on the MTB forum - less than 40 quid as I recall and works a treat with around 3 hours use per battery (I always carry a spare). viewtopic.php?p=17265285#17265285
  • marcusjb
    marcusjb Posts: 2,412
    TakeTurns wrote:
    I've done the Dunwich Dynamo, which was an epic ride. 9-10pm start 6-8ish finish (120miles) at the beach. Did it with a friend and it was great fun. It was a spontaneous idea at the time, so wd had only gathered some nutrition. Only real mistake I made was to not take an extra layer. I went out with S/S Jersey + Shorts. It was predominantly flat and therefore it felt a bit cold around early morning.

    The dun run is a great intro to night riding.

    It is a real laugh and every cyclist must do it once in their life.

    Seeing the string of lights ahead of you is a fabulous sight that you won't forget in a hurry.

    It's maybe got a little too large now - the run out of London can be a bit hairy with so many riders. But it is still possible to find yourself pretty much alone in the lanes once you reach them.

    I've not ridden it for a couple of years now - and probably won't be riding it this year as it's the week before LEL - but it is well worth doing.
  • ooermissus
    ooermissus Posts: 811
    Or for a night ride in just over a month's time: http://dorsetdash.blogspot.co.uk/
  • Hoopdriver
    Hoopdriver Posts: 2,023
    I ride a lot at night, or rather, very early in the morning - two-hour rides from 4:30am to 6:30am and for much of the year that is night-dark. I love it. I have a good light and enjoy the quiet empty roads, moonlight and stars. Nice.
  • hatch87
    hatch87 Posts: 352
    Most of the rides I do in the evening so Oct to May is spent in the dark. I tried a cheap torch but just didn't feel safe at decent speeds. Ended up getting an Exposure torch for £200, which is a lot of money for a torch but the battery life is fantastic and gives out enough light to see the whole width of the road, and plenty far enough ahead.

    It is great on a clear night having the stars keeping you company :D
    http://app.strava.com/athletes/686217
    Come on! You call this a storm? Blow, you son of a bitch! Blow! It's time for a showdown! You and me! I'm right here! Come and get me!
  • fatsmoker
    fatsmoker Posts: 585
    Having bought myself a decent mtb front light, I am keen to get out on a night ride while the weather is warm. So, what's more fun - leaving at sunset/twilight or leaving when it's already dark, or indeed a really early start to see the sun rise?
  • mrfpb
    mrfpb Posts: 4,569
    I've been riding at. Night for a few months as prep for the L2B moonride, which I did last Friday. Country rides have been fantastic, especially on a moonlit night. Descending in the dark is a real thrill. The actual L2B was different - obviously a big group ride would be. London after 11.00 pm wasn't any different to a major town centre at rush hour, so all my traffic skills were used.
  • raymondo60
    raymondo60 Posts: 735
    Doing the Dunwich Dynamo for the first time this weekend and cannot wait - really looking forward to it. Have followed some ideas from above and done some city night-riding recently - London is a completely different place at 2am, from the cyclist's perspective. Rode through St James Park at 2:30 couple of weeks ago and it was an almost spiritual experience. Bring on the Night (sorry Sting)!
    Raymondo

    "Let's just all be really careful out there folks!"
  • marcusjb
    marcusjb Posts: 2,412
    If you think London is a different place at night - wait until you get into the countryside at night - no sounds of cars, starry skies etc.
  • Dezcore
    Dezcore Posts: 34
    Been riding nightime regularly since March 2013 as I commute to my 5-10pm job cycle time is about 40mins each way when on fixed. If I go the long way home, it might be about an hour. Can be very peaceful due to lack of traffic and as roads are well lit, my lights aren't the most powerful. Sometimes if I go home via Ravenscraig Sports Centre the lights are out and it is absolutely pitch black. Makes you feel small :)
  • redvee
    redvee Posts: 11,922
    My commute home is at 22:00 and traffic levels are much lower till the last 1.5 miles. I see some wildlife occaissonaly such as badgers or owls and was buzzed by a bat one night, no bird was that shape against the moonlight.
    I've added a signature to prove it is still possible.
  • mrfpb
    mrfpb Posts: 4,569
    I see lots of bats around my way. They come out around sunset to get feast on the midges. They need to eat around half their bodyweight in insects to justify the effort of flying. I "saw" a big bird of some kind one night flying ahead of me just above my cone of light, so couldn't make out what it was. As someone said earlier, night riding is awesome (apart from when you get a puncture in the rain on you way to a night shift in December, and haven't packed your tools).

    So has the OP done any night riding since starting this thread?
  • davep1
    davep1 Posts: 836
    I used to do a lot of road riding at night, out in the country in Leicestershire and loved it. Is it just me or does it seem faster? Lights and visibility are very important but in my experience other road users are so surprised to see a bike at night they give you loads more room anyway.

    I never got into mountain biking at night; I use a good road light, but it just doesn't have a wide enough beam and you end up fixating on the spot of light on the ground, so you get hit by branches and other things. And you miss the views; on the road you can still see around you, but off road you can't, you have to concentrate so much on the light.
  • marcusjb
    marcusjb Posts: 2,412
    It definitely always feels faster at night - especially descending, where it feels like you're going at warp factor 9, even though you are probably descending significantly slower than you would on any given hill in the daytime.

    Climbing is an interesting experience on hills you do not know - with only being able to see a short distance in front of you, you've often no idea whether you'll be on the climb for 3 minutes or 30 - makes pacing more of a challenge.
  • fatsmoker
    fatsmoker Posts: 585
    :D Did my first night ride tonight, left at 10.45, got home just before midnight. 16 miles around the lanes between Hinckley and Bosworth. Great experience. All you can hear is the wind and it's loud.