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  1. #1
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    Safety of desert night riding?

    Yo homies-

    Been living out here a month or so and with my new work schedule this week can't get in a full ride before night fall. I ride Taliesen and Quartz trails in the Sonoran preserve near West world. I would assume that on the whole these trails are safer in terms of wildlife than more remote desert trails. Have only had one daytime run in with a Bobcat-looking animal and it was no biggee.

    Is it cool to night ride or is a Gila monster going to swallow me whole?

    I just picked up a trinewt dual handlebar light and tried it last night and it worked great. I especially enjoyed the flash mode riding back home on the pavement and watching it paralyze and cars in my path. I've never seen such courtesy!!

  2. #2
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    You did what?

    First of all there are the Javelinas which hunt at night in huge packs, dozens of hikers are mauled each year by these beasts as they have sharp tusks and are very agressive. Then there are the mule deer that are in mating season right now. They have been known to charge cyclists.
    Overall the sonoran desert is, in my opinion, the most dangerous place in the country to ride. Cactus, scorpions, afore mentioned gila monsters, snakes, coyotes, javelinas, rabid road runners... I only ride here on group rides. If you are ever in Tucson we meet at the senior center parking lot off 22nd ave on sundays at 7:00.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by beastwood9
    Yo homies-

    Been living out here a month or so and with my new work schedule this week can't get in a full ride before night fall. I ride Taliesen and Quartz trails in the Sonoran preserve near West world. I would assume that on the whole these trails are safer in terms of wildlife than more remote desert trails. Have only had one daytime run in with a Bobcat-looking animal and it was no biggee.

    Is it cool to night ride or is a Gila monster going to swallow me whole?

    I just picked up a trinewt dual handlebar light and tried it last night and it worked great. I especially enjoyed the flash mode riding back home on the pavement and watching it paralyze and cars in my path. I've never seen such courtesy!!

    You might run into a Javelina or 2 out there. Coyotes are also abundant. Only thing I would really worry about would be the Javelina if you get them riled up, or the very slight possibility of running into a mountain lion.

  4. #4
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    I have been night riding for two years now and have had zero problems or run ins with any wild creatures of the night. I feel perfectly safe riding by myself at night here. Rattlesnakes are the only thing out there that really worry me and they come equipped with a stay the hell away from me warning device so you usually hear them before you even get close enough to be in any real danger. Also running the trinewt is a great set up and provides plenty of light to see up the trail with. Plus if you get bit by a gila monster then you deserve it they aren't the fastest lizards around.

  5. #5
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    I was kinda paranoid my first few night rides. When I first moved here I barely knew what a coyote was, so hearing them howling just after sundown was pretty freaky. But i've gotten over it...now i kinda like seeing them. In fact, yesterday, on my commute to work..on the road nonetheless, going thru Paradise Valley I ran into a pack hanging out next to the road, one of them had just scored a rabbit. Almost fell off my bike just checking them out.
    Scorpions still freak me out and the ONLY time i've seen any is at night around SOMO ( swear one big one was flashing gang signs at me). I'll admit I ride extra conservatively at night b/c i"m paranoid of falling onto one, or many..but I'm betting its not that likely, since I still end of falling and haven't been stung...yet! Tarantulas make an appearance on the trails, but i think their only danger is their creepy factor. From what I understand they don't really bite, or if they do its harmless to humans. If I'm wrong, someone please correct me.
    I still haven't seen a javelina...and am totally okay with that. I hear you smell them before you see them.
    Of course, snakes = bad, but I hope folks are right when they say you will hear them before its too late. I've only came across 2 and I think they were dead since it was during the day and over 100 degrees.
    What does still freak me out, are those little black bug looking things, which I think about 6 legs or so, about 1/2 and inch that seem to run into the middle of the trail when your light is on it....what are those things??? I've seen them on every trail I've ridden at night!!!
    Enjoy the rides!!! It looks like they go back on their hind legs flashing gang signs at you when they get to the middle of the trail, or the middle of your light beam. Freaky!!
    Salvation Outdoor
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  6. #6
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    Its probably not a good idea to judge the amount of wildlife in your area by what you've seen during the day. Desert animals are smart - most of them sleep during the day when its hot and come out at night. Its not a reason to freak out or anything, just be careful and aware of your surroundings and you'll be fine.

    By the way everybody, you're about 1000 times more likely to get stung by a scorpion in your house than out in the desert. Heh heh...
    Disclaimer: Bo does not actually know anything at all.

  7. #7
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    Don't forget about the Chupacabra!

  8. #8
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    Night riding

    In my opinion riding at night is far safer than riding during the day for the simple fact that there are less people out....My crashes or close calls have been during the day when coming around blind corners at speed (I ride DC at SoMo almost every weekday and it's especially busy this time of year). At least at night, you see the lights coming from the opposite direction.

    The biggest danger is getting used to reading the terrain. Nightlights have a tendency to wash the shadows out, so it takes some getting used to.

    The critters at night are no big deal - generally speaking you won't see many and when you do they are more afraid of you than you are of them.

  9. #9
    My other ride is your mom
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    are you referring to the black beetles that stick their but up in the air when you approach them? Don't know what they are, but that might narrow it down. As for what I'm concerned about in the desert at night....never been worried about Javelina...they seem to turn the other way when hearing me. The ONLY thing that keeps my heart moving at night in the desert on a ride is......Cholla. Overshoot a turn in that flat light and you are in for a world of pain. Scorpions, schmorpians....I almost stepped on one barefoot in my kitchen making oatmeal this morning. Spatula took care of if.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maadjurguer
    are you referring to the black beetles that stick their but up in the air when you approach them? Don't know what they are, but that might narrow it down. .
    Bingo. And why do they stick up their butts? The freak me out. Afraid I'll drop into a wash and there will be 1000's of them waiting to eat me on in The Mummy.
    Salvation Outdoor
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  11. #11
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    Stinkbugs aren't poisonous or dangerous, just stinky. Given you've been riding a mountain bike prior to coming across a stink bug, odds are good you're even stinkier than they are.

    Sometimes you'll come across a MESS of scorpions in the dark. Totally freaky. Don't put your foot down, don't slow down, just keep fcuking pedaling. You might end up with one or more of them flicking up onto your jersey from your front tire as you go crunching through. I speak from experience.

    Um...I saw a bobcat once at SoMo, many years ago -- I wouldn't be surprised if they were all gone now. And lots of coyotes. We're interesting to them, but they're not a danger to us.

    The most consistently dangerous thing in the desert at night is the cactus you fly into because you didn't see it. That, and occasional chupacabra.

    p.

  12. #12
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    Safety meetings work just as well with night riding

  13. #13
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    confused

    A bit confused...a few posts imply that I'm a suicidal maniac then most say its cool. I'm thinking the specific trails I'm mentioning since they are in washes in neighborhoods are probably safer than others?

    Anyone up for a night ride soon, maybe Taliesen up and back or other combo--I had a blast last night there. Maybe we can hunt some Javelinas thingys whatever they are.

  14. #14
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    Beastwood, pm me. I live in the area and run into the same problem of never having enough light to get in daylight rides. Always looking for someone to join on a night ride.

  15. #15
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    I'm sorry, let me give my totally non-sassy answer: Night riding in the desert is quite safe, especially in the winter months when it's cool enough to keep the reptiles underground and poisonous bugs are generally dormant. There are no bogeymen in the dark (the men in the dark on T100 are otherwise occupied). You MIGHT come across teenagers drinking/screwing/smoking -- ah, youth. You will not be stalked by coyotes, javelinas or peccaries of any kind, wild dogs, irradiated dogs, irradiated wild dogs or irradiated peccaries. You're in far more danger of crashing and/or getting intimate with a cactus than you are of any harm being done to you by an outside agent. So go ride! It's beautiful this time of year.

    p.

    p.s. bring a friend, though, just in case -- you know, chupacabras.

  16. #16
    Meatbomb
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul B
    p.s. bring a friend, though, just in case -- you know, chupacabras.


    I had one of those bastards latch on to my leg last night and had to hit it with a rock

  17. #17
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    Originally Posted by Paul B
    There are no bogeymen in the dark (the men in the dark on T100 are otherwise occupied).
    Two words “Desert Sasquatch”
    Better than most, not as good as some.

  18. #18
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    Everything in the desert has thorns/is sharp/makes you bleed.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  19. #19
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    Wait until next monsoon when the Palo Verde Root Borers come back.........I lived here for a few years before I ever saw them. They are about 5"-6" long and are attracted to light.

    I was in my garage one night when two of them flew in, slamming into the light, ceiling and wall. Scared the crap out of me, I though I had seen all the critters having been here a few years by then! They might come after that trinewt light you have !

  20. #20
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    The best advice I have is to always try to get someone else to ride with you. If you crash hard at night (very real possibility) you could be out there for several hours before anyone comes up on you. I also make sure to carry a spare light, just in case (a small led flashlight works fine).
    Desert Sunset Calls/Upward, Pain, Perseverance/Welcome Solitude

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