First, overcome fear, put on bike gear, get the shiny new 29er out of the shed, go and meet a group of guys you’ve never met in a car park and follow them into a dark, wet, wintry, unlit wood…… Literally the best experience I have had off-road in ages.
A friend, who regularly goes out on a Tuesday night, suggested that I should go out with the Brighton MTB crew at night, at first all I could think of was darkness, hazards and low branches – don’t get me wrong all of those elements are there but not in a negative sense. Following a light really focuses the mind and you start pre-empting up coming obstacles more than I ever have done on a day ride, its takes some getting used to but it just adds another level of enjoyment you can get out of a bike.
Ronnie who runs Brighton MTB was there and very much lives to the ethos of ‘never leave a man behind’ – quite handy as I was at the back of a very experienced but most of all incredibly friendly Tuesday group. Seeing my lack of experience in the dark I was thrown handy tips and by the time I started the second hour of the ride my confidence was growing massively.
If you know your way round Stanmer and the downs and have the skills I highly recommend the Tuesday night session, I definitely want to go out with this group again but for the time being I am going to go out on the Thursday night which I have been promised is a bit more ‘grass roots’ and suited to my level AKA darkness/trails beginner.
I have no bartered with my wife to move her sewing class to another night so Thursdays are ON!
If you’ve ever had doubts about giving the night rides a go, put them to bed and get out there you will not regret it!
By the way if you ride a road bike as well, don’t mention that to Ronnie – you’ll see!