Night riding

People say it’s one thing to nail a 12 ft gap jump, carve a wallride and get weightless down a drop so big you get a sense of what Felix Baumgartner went through but it’s quite another thing to do the same in the pitch dark with only a couple of battery powered lamps strapped to your helmet and handlebars to light your way.

To be fair I wouldn’t have a clue about gap jumps, wall rides or drop offs of more than a foot high but since riding with Brighton mtb I’ve taken to riding at night like a fish to mud, at least in enthusiasm rather than competence.

 

It’s a self-evident truth, and often said in forum discussions, over the handlebars on a ride and in the pub afterward that for nine to five people (like me) who only get a limited amount of time at the weekend (like me) that if you want to ride your bike off road more than once a week for all but three months of the year that means getting out when it’s dark, and believe me it’s bloody fantastic.

I’d ridden over the Downs a fair bit only illuminated by a couple of p7 torches but it was only with Brighton mtb that I started having a go at the singletrack too. Corners arrive faster than they do in the daylight, roots, holes and changes in camber need to be felt as much as seen and trees have a nasty habit of jumping out at you but dammit you’re out on your bike, riding labyrinthine routes (and slippery roots) in the dark with only owls, rabbits, badgers and other riders for company. It feels contrary, challenging to the order of how things should be, why aren’t you in watching television listening to the wind blow against the window or at the very most dragging yourself out to the gym with its protected stale sweat luminous mtv blaring plastic humidity? Well you’re not, you’re outside and the air is rushing past your ears, making your eyes water as you flow down the trail, tyres gripping and then slipping and then holding again, and you were cold when you rolled out of the car park but you’re warm, properly warm now, despite the mud, despite the rain and despite the night.

Did I get a bit carried away there? Maybe, but I wouldn’t say it if I didn’t mean it. I’ve spoken to some people who know what they’re doing and I’ve compiled their advice into a top three tips for nightriding

 

  1. Grab your bike, get some lights and come out for a ride
  2. Grab your bike, get some lights and come out for a ride
  3. Grab your bike, get some lights and come out for a ride

 

Lights don’t have to be expensive, have a look on the website for our reviews, check the forum via the website link or drop us an email and we’ll try and point you in the right direction. If you fancy giving it a go and don’t have any lights we have a loan set from Freedom bikes in Brighton you can borrow.

If you’ve never tried riding in the dark come along and try, you’ll be welcome and it might even change your Thursday nights.

 

John

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