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Night riding

slc123slc123 Posts: 407
edited December 2018 in MTB general
About 75% of my riding is spent at night due to work and family commitments. I tend to ride once a week on my own and then once a week with a group of pals. I've done quite a lot of it so feel quite comfortable doing it... It definitely adds another dimension and makes some of the more ordinary trails a bit more interesting. Strangely it's made my day time riding different too as I can see so much more I find myself concentrating on lines more and often deliberating over the obstacles sometimes to the detriment of my riding. At night you end up hitting stuff a lot harder and faster as you see things later...

Ultimately, during the day I find myself able to really open up and ride faster, but it's interesting to see how sustained night riding has altered things. Has anyone else found this?
Cannondale Trail 27.5 | 2015
Titus El Chulo 27.5 | 2017
Trek Slash 9 27.5 | 2015 (building)


  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 11,730
    I tend to back off slightly as I've overcooked it in the past.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • For me, night riding does cause you to focus a lot more on the trail (as that is all you can see) and you can get tunnel vision a little bit. Not in a bad way as there is nothing else to look at. I certainly back off of the faster DH stuff as the depth perception is different and I don't do jumps or drop offs.

    The guys I ride with have all found that we tend to climb quicker in the dark as we can't see the tops of the hills and just focus on the front wheel. Some sort of psyco-babble effect.

    I love night riding but certainly take more care and would advise caution as a crash when solo ridng at night is not a good thing.
    "Ride, crash, replace"
  • steve_sordysteve_sordy Posts: 2,438
    My first and so far only night riding experience was with someone that I had only recently started riding with. He had lent me a bar light. He had helmet and bar light. There was no moon. it was overcast and we were out in the middle of nowhere. I found out later that we were actually mostly in the grounds of a stately home. I found it disconcerting that when I looked away from what the bar light was illuminating I could see absolutely nothing, zip, nada, black dark, not even my hand in front of my face.

    I saw him turn right in front of me, only because I saw his lights, I couldn't actually see him. It was a gap in the hedge. My bar lights did not light up the turn, so I couldn't see where I was going and there was a one foot drop into the field that caught me by surprise. I should have learned from that, or maybe I did!

    About 40 mins in we were in the ornamental part of the grounds, with flower beds, gravel paths and benches. I followed him down the path and he went between a pair of stone columns about 3' high, each surmounted by an ornamental carved ball. They looked like the start of a flight of steps going down. I had assumed down because I couldn't see any steps going up. I was following slightly to the left of him, so I could use his lights to see further ahead. As I approached the steps, my bar lights did not illuminate the steps at all, there was just inky blackness. It looked like a big hole. Something primeval sparked at the back of my brain and at the last second I swerved to my right so I was directly behind him....... and rode straight down a plank that was bridging a big hole! I stopped and used my bar lights to see what I had just ridden over. All the steps had been removed; the plank was for the workmen to use I suppose. The gap was about 8' long, 6' wide and varied in depth from about 4' to 1'. The bottom of the hole was littered with random lumps of broken stone, the far edge of the hole that I would have hit was jagged and nasty looking. The helmet light on my mate would have lit up that hole quite clearly, but the stupid bar-steward never thought to warn me! That was a narrow escape and no mistake.

    I will never ride at night again with just a bar light. Maybe just a helmet light, but ideally both.
  • JBAJBA Posts: 2,852
    Having two lights, one on the bars and one helmet-mounted is a must for night riding off-road.
    The bar light floods the way ahead and the helmet light allows you to look around and pick out detail.
    “Life has been unfaithful
    And it all promised so so much”

    Giant Trance 2 27.5 2016 ¦ Sonder Broken Road 2021¦ Giant Revolt Advanced 2 2019 ¦ Giant Toughtroad SLR 1 2019 ¦ Giant Anthem 3 2015 ¦ Specialized Myka Comp FSR 2009
  • FishFishFishFish Posts: 2,152
    I regularly night ride in the Thetford forest but stick to big trails rather than singletrack trails through the trees. My concentration was on getting the illumination right - a very bright light on the bar and helmet light and a spare. Certainly it is exhilarating and seeing the eyes reflected from the forest beside you adds to it. You feel you are going much faster - and you get lost more often! I always come back and do it again though.
    ...take your pickelf on your holibobs.... :D

    jeez :roll:
  • Agreed, I think the best recipe for success is light on the bars and on the helmet, that way you have both bases covered
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