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  1. #1
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    How awesome is night riding?

    I do a lot of night riding (Southern California) and one night I decided to take it easy (recovering from a brutal ride the previous day), take photos and share the awesomeness night riding.

    It was nearly 5 years of riding before I became aware of night riding, thinking there's no way you can mob single track at night, right? After another year considering it, I got a light and I drove up to the trailhead. All alone and gearing up, it's cold, damp, crazy dark and now I'm asking myself what the eff am I doing, but I manned up. Now night riding for about 5 years, It's a completely different kind of riding that pushes you in different ways. It's also liberating not to be confined to just daylight hours, able to roll up at the trail at 8 or 9pm. Of course it's cooler too.

    Instead of vast landscape of the day, the night riding environment is all about your monochrome bubble of light. You have a laser focus, just concentrating on what you can see in front of you. Trails you ride during the day, are familiar but feel very different in your small sphere of light. Remarkably you can ride nearly as fast as you can in the day. The temperature varies as the cool air wafts up from the valleys. All alone on the trail can get your mind freaking if you don't reign it in. Creatures rustling in the bushes sounding much larger than they actually are. Lots of rabbits scurrying everywhere and the occasional startled deer or the warning of a rattlesnake. Seeing a coyote or fox happens, but are a rare treat. I've even been sprayed by a skunk. I've finally lost the fear being eaten by a mountain lion.

    I typically ride my local trails solo, but wouldn't recommend it for safety reasons (I have cell coverage and my family knows where I'm at)

    I love ending my day with a late hard ride, beer, shower and bed...

    I started with a $120 Serfas 250 helmet mount then worked my way up to a better lighting system. I have MagicShine helmet and handlebar lights now.
    How awesome is night riding?-20130903_203931_lls.jpg

    Get plenty of these in the face. Just have to keep rolling and hope the spider is not on you. I was fortunate to see this one in time.
    How awesome is night riding?-20130903_204408.jpg
    How awesome is night riding?-20130903_210809_lls.jpg

    Plungs into an abyss of black
    How awesome is night riding?-20130903_212150_lls.jpg

    The thing I spend too much money on.
    How awesome is night riding?-20130903_211148_lls.jpg

    Friends I saw. Actually the mouse was my friend, the others are not.How awesome is night riding?-creatures.jpg

    How awesome is night riding?-20130903_204226_lls.jpg

    How awesome is night riding?-20130903_213457.jpg

    The beginning of a horror movie?
    How awesome is night riding?-20130903_214552.jpg

    An previous ride with the kiddos on San Juan Trail.
    How awesome is night riding?-30345_10151251194297556_697676968_n.jpg
    Last edited by tracysurf; 01-04-2014 at 10:03 AM.

  2. #2
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    I love riding at night too. Our latest night ride was New Years Eve.. unlike your ride, ours was in the cold and on ice and snow!

    Good pics of the wildlife on the trails.

    Very good write up as well.
    F*ck Cancer

    Eat your veggies

  3. #3
    Light freak
    Reputation: scar's Avatar
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    How awesome is night riding?

    Totally awesome!! So much so that I do not like riding in the daytime any longer

    ****

  4. #4
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    I'm very new to night riding, I can't wait till it warms up some to start enjoying it more. The freeze thaw sucks around here. The experience is great though.

    I too run Magicshine lights, 808 on helmet and 872 on bars. Cool pics!

  5. #5
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    I dig it!

    We night ride here on the east coast, too...

  6. #6
    turtles make me hot
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    I love night riding. I actually like night rides in the winter better because there's no endless stream of bugs flying into my lights.
    I like turtles

  7. #7
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    NIght riding is the best. Love getting up a few hours before dawn and riding 'till the sun comes up.

  8. #8
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    A well crafted expression of night riding that I couldn't agree more with. You've articulated the heightened sensory inputs that touch on the adrenaline inducing moments where a you talk yourself through. Well said! People sometimes ask what's it's like and to ride at night and you've touched on most of those things we experience from our first night ride to present.

    My interest in night riding was initially driven by a combination of factors, but mainly from wanting to ride something different and as a necessity to wanting to ride after work and the shorter days of winter. I slowly upgraded lighting as my night riding skills and speed began to exceed my lightings ability to stay ahead of me. Out riding your light can induce adrenaline spiking moments that I prefer not to consider a Standard Operating Procedure. As you called it: " your monochrome bubble of light"

    Thanks for the read!
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  9. #9
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    Night riding is my best friend in the winter time.

  10. #10
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    We night ride when its to hot in the summer and in the winter we night ride cause we have no choice. I love it, I'd almost rather ride at night. I ride local stuff solo simaler to the OP but will ride almst anywhere as long as someone is with.
    13 Banshee Rune, Pushed Fox 36Float RC2, I9 Blunt35's

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  11. #11
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    Haven't done it yet, looking to buy a light soon. My only night riding is on city streets so far, nothing really fun.

    Hardest thing to do for it so far, picking the proper light.

  12. #12
    the half breed devil
    Reputation: shekky's Avatar
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    all of my weekday rides are after dark 'cause i work 10-6:30. most of the time, i don't start pushing the pedals until 8.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails How awesome is night riding?-dscn2640.jpg  


  13. #13
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    Agreed. When the time changed here (Utah) I rode almost even more in the dark because it was so much fun (and it was still 45 at night). I have two budget-yet-super-bright-LED lights and really dig it. Two other friends that were new to it this year felt the same. We rode a ton. But for us, the snow came and now it's pretty limited, but still doable.

    The last ride I did at night didn't even start until 7pm, and finished after 9. It was awesome.

  14. #14
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    Night rides are whole different world, well put OP. Haven't done one in couple weeks, need to get back out.

    From a few weeks ago. Started with a bar mount and helmet mount, but ended up catching a wire on something and snapped it. Was glad I had helmet as a back up!

    A fine evening from J Hazard on Vimeo.

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  15. #15
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    My favorite is under a bright moon with the lights off.

  16. #16
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    Mornings are the best!

    5 am before work rides are the best way to start your day

    We get to share the trail with fox, skunks, deer, elk, and even have run across 2 bears. Have had some eyes checking us out from up above a few time (pretty sure they were mountain lions) but they did not want anything to do with us. The mornings are cool as this is when the mountains "wake up" and become alive.







    ****

  17. #17
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    I have done lots of night riding and some of my fondest memories of mountain biking were at night. Love it. It gives a whole new perspective to your normal trails.
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2012 Specialized Stumpy EVO 29 HT

  18. #18
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    Gotta jump in and say I love riding at night, too.

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  19. #19
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    Are you typically riding solo at night or are you riding with other riders?

  20. #20
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    I ride solo and with others. I can generally ride harder when with others. I guess it's the competitive thing. But it does make for a harder workout. I just show up to ride; if others are there to ride, then it's a group ride. If not, I ride solo. It's a slightly different experience when riding by yourself.
    A bad day of cycling is better than a good day at work

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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by oilnewby View Post
    Are you typically riding solo at night or are you riding with other riders?
    Mostly solo and kinda like it that way, aside from being aware of the risks involved ...

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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by oilnewby View Post
    Are you typically riding solo at night or are you riding with other riders?
    I like to do both as they are totally different experiences. Nothing like the camaraderie that comes along with night riding with your bro's. Hooting and hollering, feeling like you are living on the edge while the rest of the world is sleeping.

    Riding alone in the dark is a very surreal experience. Seems like all of your senses are amplified, you hear every crunch of the tires against the trail, every tree branch crackling in the wind. I like to stop and turn off my light and be in total darkness for a bit and just listen to the silence of the night and looking up into the stars. It really makes you feel small and kind of helps you forget all your problems and brings you back to reality. You definitely want to be prepared if riding alone (tools for repairs, back-up light, knowing the trail that you are going to be on) and be sure to let someone know where you are going to be riding and about how long you plan on being out there.


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  23. #23
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    One of the things I sometimes do when riding solo (particularly at night) in some areas that might be a little remote or isolated is to use Garmin's Live Track that I use through my Garmin 510. Obviously for those of you that don't have a GPS unit that can do this, then this is moot. It allows you to pick who you want to follow your ride online (can be a multiple of people) and they get an email that provides them a link to follow or track your ride in real or near real time on a map. It provides other additional data such as speed, distance, elevation, etc., and your heart rate if you have a heart monitor on.

    It's pretty cool tool so family or friends can keep tabs on you if you're so inclined to share your ride. It's not without some glitches or conditions though. The main thing is you must have phone coverage and be in range for cell service. It transmits through your phone. For some areas, this could present a problem.
    A bad day of cycling is better than a good day at work

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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleared2land View Post
    One of the things I sometimes do when riding solo (particularly at night) in some areas that might be a little remote or isolated is to use Garmin's Live Track that I use through my Garmin 510. Obviously for those of you that don't have a GPS unit that can do this, then this is moot. It allows you to pick who you want to follow your ride online (can be a multiple of people) and they get an email that provides them a link to follow or track your ride in real or near real time on a map. It provides other additional data such as speed, distance, elevation, etc., and your heart rate if you have a heart monitor on.

    It's pretty cool tool so family or friends can keep tabs on you if you're so inclined to share your ride. It's not without some glitches or conditions though. The main thing is you must have phone coverage and be in range for cell service. It transmits through your phone. For some areas, this could present a problem.
    You can actually do this with your phone though too - MotionX GPS app has a feature that will periodically post your location via Twitter or even email. You can set it to push your location out every minute or whatever interval you set. I've done this for the wife to watch as I dodge mountain lions at night up in the hills.

  25. #25
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    I discovered night riding myself this past (Southern Hemisphere) winter. Having just taken up mtbing last summer I set up my bike on a wind trainer to try and retain my 'cycling fitness' over winter. But that was so boring I was never going to keep it up. Then I discovered the magic of night riding after reading about it on these forums. A good set of lights and some warm kit opened up a whole new world of night time winter riding. Magic!

    I agree about the heightened senses, you certainly need your wits about you. Some parts of the trails I ride during the day are quite dark due to the thick bush canopy and I felt that I saw more detail of those trails at night with the powerful night lights than I do during the day.

    I must say that the NZ wilderness is totally benign in terms of wildlife. There is nothing dangerous in the woods I ride. Just a bit of birdlife and possums. Having mountain lions, bears, coyotes and rattlesnakes on the trail would certainly heighten the senses when riding alone!!!

    BTW to the OP great write up and pics.

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