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  1. #1
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    Night riding alone?

    Just wondering, for those who ride at night, do you ride alone or with others? ThinkIng aboutinvesting in light setup, but I ride alone and am not sure about it.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by moldau94 View Post
    Just wondering, for those who ride at night, do you ride alone or with others? ThinkIng aboutinvesting in light setup, but I ride alone and am not sure about it.
    I ride alone most of the time. IMO, a powerful helmet light is the most essential item when night riding alone. This doesn't mean having 3000+ real lumens on the head but a good high intensity focused throw to give you total light command on or off the bike. Needless to say a secondary bar light is as important as good flood and back up light. Good batteries are a must because no juice, no light. Use common sense when night riding in your area. There may be dangers others like us don't think about. It is very safe night ride in Australia. mtb riding here is 24/7. We take it for granted.

    There are things to consider like, there may be restrictions imposed on mtb night riding in some national parks and great trail riding areas in other countries. Then there are seasons where certain animals are known to prowl more than others. I am no wildlife expert but most will agree animals attack because they are startled, cornered or protecting their territory and young.

    If you apply common sense and go well prepared its safe to night ride in most places. If you have loved ones at home you give a damn about, don't make them worry unnecessarily. Use a real time GPS tracker so they know where you are at any time.
    Leonard - All things Xeccon + Beyond
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  3. #3
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    Almost always night ride solo. I usually avoid night riding on "urban" trails. At least in my area, they seem to be the haunt of moderate numbers of "undomesticated" humans. Away from town though it is totally worry free. As Xeccon said having a helmet light is the handiest and most versatile.

    One thing I'll add though is that any helmet light should have a low enough setting that one can use it fix a flat, read a map, do repairs to bike or rider. Trying to read a map with too bright of a light is nearly impossible. You turn your head to the side so it is illuminated by only the spill and you're reading it out of the corner of your eye. Kind of awkward IMO.

  4. #4
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    I used to ride alone at night all the time when I lived in Tucson. Some of the most peaceful times I've ever had. When you get used to it, you can feel as at home in the dark as in the day. The animal life is much more present at night in the desert, but never a problem for me.
    If you are already used to riding alone, than doing it at night shouldn't be too hard of a transition, but of course it all depends on the environment around you.

  5. #5
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    Some of my best rides were/are when riding alone. Your senses are heightened to the extremes and am really able to flush the mind.

    ***

  6. #6
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    Points already made above are bang on. I do most of my night riding solo as my riding group usually bail in the cool damp winters here in Squamish BC. Because of some close calls with bears/cougar, and poor night vision I have gone a little over kill on my light set up, but it does make me feel a bit more secure. What I make sure and do now is in heavily brushed areas and blind corners I find simply clearing my throat or coughing any type of human sound will usually clear the way. I've tried an air horn,,, the bear just stood it's ground so don't use that any more. I do carry bear bangers and if in a position where i'm hymned in they do work. As mentioned if comfortable, night riding is some of the most awesome, peaceful riding one can ever do!! Cheers!!

  7. #7
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    I usually ride alone also but this summer we manage to get in more group rides at night than pass summers. It's a lot more fun when riding with a big group as you can see from this video.

    "By Your Command"

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by pucked up View Post
    I usually ride alone also but this summer we manage to get in more group rides at night than pass summers. It's a lot more fun when riding with a big group
    Nice one, pucked. Have to agree that it's more fun when riding in a group, but only if the groups riding skills and speed are about the same. Nothing worse than slowing down or worse stopping to wait for the huffin 'n puffin guy back there.

    Was going mention the 3rd most important thing to have when riding solo - chain-breaker/Tools. Decided to watch the video first then noticed the ending. Did someone's rear derailleur dropout snap at 12:10? Mine did a couple of months back. That week, I decided to leave the chain- breaker at home because I got myself a new smaller Camelbak and wanted to travel lighter. Big mistake. My dropout snapped as I changed gears riding through roots. Never happened before but when I really needed a chain breaker, I don't have it. It would still be ok if it was a puncture or a torn sidewall but a wrecked derailleur or dropout means only one thing, I'm walking. Had about 18kms or just over 10 miles of walking to get home. No problem, had enough juice in the batteries to get me out to the trailhead which is just 5ks from that point. Now reverse this scenario. Have a chain-breaker on board, but came out with only one light and it's about to deplete. I am seriously prepared to walk 20 miles,... if only I could see where I am going.
    Leonard - All things Xeccon + Beyond
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  9. #9
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    I hit a stick one time and my chain jumped into the spokes (no chain protector) and tore up half the spokes. The chain got so lodged in there that I couldn't remove the chain at all. I couldn't even roll the wheel. Using a chain tool I broke the chain and wrapped it around the cassette. I could at at least roll the bike back to my car. If I hadn't had the tool, I would have had to walk back while carrying my bike. I couldn't imagine having to do that in the dark with your batteries running out.

    So you definitely have to be prepared at night. Extra flashlight, small lantern, full tube, patch kit, emergency phone, and tools. I even used to have one of those chemical glowsticks, I should probably get another one of those.

    If you are deep in the woods by yourself you should probably have all the survival stuff, space blanket, fire starter, knife etc. But most of us probably don't get more than 5 or 10 miles from safety.

  10. #10
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    I know it's not the most prudent approach, but I often go without most of the things mentioned in the previous posts. If the ride is a 1-2 hour loop I usually just bring a water bottle. I'm going to jinx myself here, but in 21 years of mt biking I have never broken a chain or derailleur. Never taco'd a wheel. I've had one flat in the past 8 years since going tubeless. I have gotten pretty lackadaisical about gear when heading out. Like I said in my first sentence, not too prudent. I expect one of these days I'll be walking out of somewhere when a simple fix with a tool would keep me riding.

  11. #11
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    I was getting pretty cavalier about equipment last year. Maybe cavalier isn't the right word, I was getting minimal. All I had was C02 inflator, two cartridges, a tire iron and a glueless patch kit in a small under-the-seat-bag. No pump of any kind. I was riding my mountain bike on the road. I jumped onto a patch of grass to let a car pass. I hit a very hidden man-hole cover and got a pinch flat. I was about 9 miles out. I put the glue-less patch on, installed the tube and used up one cartridge. Started inflating the tire and then suddenly lost pressure again. As the tube inflated, the patch was getting rubbed off of the tube. I don't know if they were crappy patches, or if they old, but they weren't working. Tried a second patch with my last cartridge with the same result. Now I was screwed.

    I ended up walking home and it took me almost three hours to walk home in the dark with mountain bike SPD shoes. Not a pleasant experience. It had only taken me 30-35 minutes to get out there. At least it was on a nice warm night.

    So now I carry at least a tube, a real patch kit, Co2 cartridges, a shrader to presta adapter, plus a small frame pump.

    You only make that walk once.

  12. #12
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    Re: Night riding alone?

    I do a lot of night rides alone, i love the zen . . . just you and the trail. I usually wear a bear bell (for the mountain lions we have here). But like others I'm never more than 5mi from the road. I carry an extra tube, patches, c02, pump, multi tool, power links, zip ties, derailleur cable and a cheap spare LED AA flashlight in case my primary dies. Sounds like a lot of gear but except for the tube its all pretty light for the value you get out of it.

    But yeah, its dangerous to be sure, take a hard wreck and no one is going to come across you. Good idea on the space blanket, i will add that. But, yeah, i usually take it a little easy. And my wife knows where i ride and where i park.

    Sent from (redacted by nsa)
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    They're justified and they're ancient and they like to roam the land

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker View Post
    I know it's not the most prudent approach, but I often go without most of the things mentioned in the previous posts. If the ride is a 1-2 hour loop I usually just bring a water bottle. I'm going to jinx myself here, but in 21 years of mt biking I have never broken a chain or derailleur. Never taco'd a wheel. I've had one flat in the past 8 years since going tubeless. I have gotten pretty lackadaisical about gear when heading out. Like I said in my first sentence, not too prudent. I expect one of these days I'll be walking out of somewhere when a simple fix with a tool would keep me riding.
    I have to agree...^^...although I did break a chain on one ride it was on a local trail and was during my early years of MTB'ing when I rode almost every other day. It only took 20 minutes to walk out. After that I took a chain tool on most every ride figuring it was the thing to do. That was many years ago. A couple years back I decided to clean out the excess "stuff" in my bike bag. Since I never did use the chain tool ( except at home ) I took it out. I don't think I'd ever consider carrying it again unless I was really doing a very long ride in unknown terrain. Then again if you replace your chain on a regular basis you likely will never need a chain tool. All I carry now is a spare tube, levers, pump and patch kit. My only luxury item is a CO'2 device for pumping up a tire. At night sometimes I don't feel like hassling with the pump.

    The only other thing I can say about riding alone at night is that is best not to take the same kind of chances you might take when riding during the day. That's because no matter how good your lights are your ability to see things at night is not going to be as good as it is during the day. The light that comes from a set directional source will never be able to approximate what you can see when using ambient lighting. Things like drop offs, sharp turns, steep drops, big logs or log pyramids can be crazy dangerous at night. Yep, many a time I could of killed myself by being over-confident about how bright my lights were.

    Also, never a good idea to explore new trails at night. Do your exploring during the day. Ride what you know at night.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbRevolution View Post
    Nothing worse than slowing down or worse stopping to wait for the huffin 'n puffin guy back there.

    Did someone's rear derailleur dropout snap at 12:10?
    We were all at about the same condition, some of the guys that were out with us that night was not familiar with the trail so was going a bit slower than the rest. They were not too far behind the wait was not very long at all, we just didn't want them to turn the opposite direction when we came to a fork on the trail.

    Yeah one of the guys bump into a stump on the trail and wrecked his derailleur hanger. It was about a 10 - 15mins bike a hike back to the parking lot. A quick fix the next day and we were all out a couple of days later.

    So adding a derailleur hanger to the list to have along with you when going out for a night ride. Also depending on how long you ride for having extra batteries / battery packs is always a good thing.
    "By Your Command"

  15. #15
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    I too alter my route for night riding. I skip the expert loop as I don't really need to increase the chances of me falling off of a cliff. Instead of taking the downhills, I climb them (single track climbs instead of my usual firelane climb). This also keeps me closer to the park entrance so I am at most 2 miles in. No needs for any tools as I can probably walk home quicker than I could change a flat tire. Only had 1 flat in the 1.5 years of going tubeless, and that was from user error (going too fast over sharp, loose rocks in WV).

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    Also, never a good idea to explore new trails at night. Do your exploring during the day. Ride what you know at night.
    Dang it, another thing I do wrong. When I go on a road trip for riding, it's not unusual that I get to the destination late in the day or into the night. Not one to waste time, I often will gear up and hit the trail for a one to two hour ride. On these rides I do carry a map and compass and maybe even GPS with the truck location marked.

  17. #17
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    The flashlight app on my smartphone has saved me more than a few times!

  18. #18
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    Yeah, forgot about the compass. I always carry one of those. Saved my butt a couple times. I upgraded to a compass/emergency whistle/temp gauge last year. Since I bought the smart phone I carry that all the time and have GPS, map and real-time weather access at a moments notice.

    When riding very large areas with lots of trail junctures navigating at night can be strange/disorienting. Even if you think you know the area if you don't ride it much it's amazing how different things look at night. Real easy to get turned around and lose your sense of direction.

    One of the worse times I ever got lost was in a large recreation area. Trail junctures every quarter mile or so. It was dark and I had my old style halogen lights. Somehow I took a wrong trail and lost my sense of direction. Back in those days halogen lights only gave you so much run time so it was real important to be headed the right way. I had a map and a compass. Using a river as a point of reference along with the compass I determined I had somehow crossed the river without really noticing. ( DUHHH ). Hey, it happens. What I thought was a stream was a river. Anyway, figured it out and I was fine. Nowadays with LED lighting I have all the run time I will need, no matter what. Along with the smart phone getting lost should be a thing of the past unless you lose your signal ( which can happen ). Still, there are programs that give you an off-line map and GPS will almost always work. Regardless, I'll always carry a compass even though the phone has a compass app.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    Even if you think you know the area if you don't ride it much it's amazing how different things look at night.
    Exactly!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vancbiker View Post
    Dang it, another thing I do wrong. When I go on a road trip for riding, it's not unusual that I get to the destination late in the day or into the night. Not one to waste time, I often will gear up and hit the trail for a one to two hour ride. On these rides I do carry a map and compass and maybe even GPS with the truck location marked.
    Haha, I think you just like living dangerously. Maybe we can arrange to have you followed by a large pack of angry dogs, just to increase the danger factor.

  21. #21
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    I was under impression that this tread is purely-technical one, but if not... Well, I do night riding both alone & with company. The latter is preferred, though!

    BikeTime 14 03 2013 ????? ? ????? - YouTube

  22. #22
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    I like how NiteRider has a super low power "walk" mode, that's long enough to last all the way till the morning. It's a shame that Light & Motion doesn't have that. The High / Med / Low on L&M are all designed for when your bike is operational - but the mode for when it's not is simply not there. This is a really bad oversight, don't you think ?

  23. #23
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    Just buy the battery which will allow you to ride as long as you want without switching to the "moonlight" mode!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by -Archie- View Post
    Just buy the battery which will allow you to ride as long as you want without switching to the "moonlight" mode!
    ok i think somebody is missing the point ... or was that sarcasm ?

  25. #25
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    I remember the days when riding with 4*AA-powered halogen light was considered "normal", but now? Why one want to have super-low mode on bike light?

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