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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 11:03 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.
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  3. #3
    Light freak
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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
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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.
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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
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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!

    <iframe src="//player.vimeo.com/video/80049968" width="800" height="450" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe> <p><a href="http://vimeo.com/80049968">A fine evening</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/jerryhazard">J Hazard</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>
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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.







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  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!

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  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.
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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.
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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.

  26. #26
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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?
    always solo. i usually leave a message on facebook saying where and when i'm going and how long i'll be gone...

  27. #27
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    I love night riding....don't know if i prefer it to day riding, but it's definitely a different experience.
    One of my recent blogposts summed it up nicely...As everyone who rides at night knows, in the dark, out on the trail, live all the monsters and goblins that used to reside under our beds when we were kids. Only now, as grownups, we're supposed to pretend they don't exist. But we ALL know that's a lie....they do exist...and they exist just outside the ring of light cast by our headlamps.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by tracysurf View Post
    ...All alone and gearing up, ...crazy dark ...monochrome bubble of light....laser focus, ...familiar but feel very different... temperature varies as the cool air...freaking if you don't reign it in. Creatures rustling...ending my day with a late hard ride, beer, shower and bed...
    Priceless!

    One of the coolest (no pun or double entendre intended) is when you swoop off a ridge down into a hollow and plunge into the cool air that is settling in there. It's like riding into a cellar or a cave, but you're outside. Like something invisible just entered your light bubble.

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  29. #29
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    Another night-rider here! Heck, in the summers I probably have done more night rides than day rides, as the temps can get pretty blistering in AZ during the summer months! (Plus the experience is just as others have put it - thrilling!)
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  30. #30
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    The past couple of seasons I've rode at night 2-3 times max. This year we moved closer to a great riding area, so I bought a second light with the intention of riding a lot more (which I did).

    The first time out felt a little eery as others are admitting, but after that I was totally pumped to go as much as I could.

    Then a friend of mine sent me a text after he just finished up riding the same area, "all was great, but toward the top I saw a really strange-looking guy walking by himself with no reflective clothing or lights of any kind - it was really weird and creepy".

    Thanks for the Debbie Downer report.

    But never saw him and never once had a less-than-stellar experience.

    How awesome is night riding?-photo-nov-12-6-11-50-pm.jpg
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails How awesome is night riding?-photo-nov-06-6-10-50-pm.jpg  


  31. #31
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    I love night riding, but I haven't done a whole lot of it. The coolest thing I've seen was a great horned owl on the trail about 10 feet in front of me. I was confused as to what it was until it turned its head and lifted straight up into the trees. The worst thing that has happened is that my car was broken into, presumably because of my GPS mount. Luckily, I had nothing of interest in the car.

    Usually I ride solo, but I just did a group ride a few weeks back and am itching for an opportunity to ride with the group. I just got a new MJ-872 clone and battery that I'm itching to try out in addition to my Chinashine XML light on my helmet. It's a budget set-up, but I have just as much fun as the guys with the $1000 set.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by scar View Post
    How awesome is night riding?

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

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  33. #33
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    Night riding is awesome. Went by myself one time. Very spooky and cold. Literally no one else in the park but me. And a cop car that patrols the place at night when I was on my way back to my car. Still incredibly fun though.

    Other times Ive went with a friend. It was fun. Probably the best times Ive ever had riding. Sucks that no one wants to ride anymore. Dont know why.
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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by KGAmoto View Post
    ....Then a friend of mine sent me a text after he just finished up riding the same area, "all was great, but toward the top I saw a really strange-looking guy walking by himself with no reflective clothing or lights of any kind - it was really weird and creepy".
    This reminds me of a funny story. Friends of mine decided to do some late-night trail maintenance. Chainsaw in hand and lights on, off they went into the woods. During their work they realize they saw some other lights flickering in the distance. Spooked out, they killed their lights and stopped their work. Then my buddy reminds himself... "Wait, I'm the creepy guy with the chainsaw in the woods at night!" -- The other guys were probably more freaked out honestly.

    That being said, I ride all the time at night during winter. It can be freaky. Often times I can't even count the number of eyes staring back at me when I take a break. Thankfully the wildlife around my area generally consists of nothing more than deer, raccoons, maybe the occasional fox or possum.

  35. #35
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    Although I love night riding and did it all of the time as a kid I don't do it much anymore. The lights have gotten MUCH better over the years, but I am spooked easily now. Maybe because I got older...or maybe it is because I have seen both a bobcat and a mountain lion right here at my house. Oh, logically I tell myself that I have ridden with them for years and that they are more afraid of me than I am of them, but I just can't seem to get my logic to over-ride my emotions these days.
    Maybe 4000 lumina of light will help.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by bad andy View Post
    This reminds me of a funny story. Friends of mine decided to do some late-night trail maintenance. Chainsaw in hand and lights on, off they went into the woods. During their work they realize they saw some other lights flickering in the distance. Spooked out, they killed their lights and stopped their work. Then my buddy reminds himself... "Wait, I'm the creepy guy with the chainsaw in the woods at night!" -- The other guys were probably more freaked out honestly.

    That being said, I ride all the time at night during winter. It can be freaky. Often times I can't even count the number of eyes staring back at me when I take a break. Thankfully the wildlife around my area generally consists of nothing more than deer, raccoons, maybe the occasional fox or possum.
    That's really good.

    The area where I was riding at night this Fall, is pretty close to my house, but up in a canyon that goes up a ways. The main trails in the heart of the canyon aren't creepy at all, but one night I wanted to venture all the way to the top as a "one last big loop" before temps and snow were supposed to hit the next day.

    That was a bit creepy; but I once I was far enough into it, I didn't want to turn back, so I just kept pushing.

    When I got back and some friends checked out my route on Strava, they all kept asking me "are you purposely looking for mountain lions?"

    There is a BLM-placed camera on one of the bridges in this area, but down at one of the lowest points. They have captured images of a mountain lion right on that bridge at night. The BLM printed the photo and stapled a laminated version of it to the bridge for all to see. Kinda cool, but kinda not.

  37. #37
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    Awesome write up! You really captured the essence of riding at night, and I too enjoyed your monochrome bubble of light comment.

    I will say that when riding at night, a trail that I know really well, takes on a completely new feel at night. It almost feels like a new trail when I drop in, and only after I get in the flow, and probably forget about the darkness aspect, that I start riding faster in that sub-conscience mode and the speed and comfort increases. It is a really trippy feeling actually when you first do it. Ripping down a single track in the dark is a whole new feeling.

    Also in the dark, I have tried obstacles that I have avoided in the light, just based on how they look in the dark versus the light. Shadows and lighting do some weird things to roots, rocks and drops.
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  38. #38
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    On familiar trails at night, dark drop-offs can be a rush. Knowing what lies below allows you launch into the darkness with some level of confidence in a favorable outcome. Even though you know what's below, it remains a thrill dropping into the abyss.
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  39. #39
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    In the pacific northwest winters, it's doesn't get light until maybe 8am and gets dark by 4:30, so if I don't ride at night, I can't ride except on weekends. It also rains a lot up here this time of the year, so I try to get out when the rain is less than a steady downpour if possible. It's a lot of fun, and I see more and more people out riding than I used to. I have some pretty good lights - 2 Nightrider 650's, one on helmet, one on handlebar. I ride mostly solo, which can be a problem if you crash out. Happened to me in November. I had to walk out approx 3 miles with a broken humerus and I am just now about ready to get back on the bike. When I start up night riding again, I'm planning on an extra layer of caution than before (a small layer).

  40. #40
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    I've started riding at night this "winter" (Florida). I like it, it's a different experience. I'll miss it in the summer.

    The only part of my ride that I found creepy was the ride in from the trailhead to the singletrack. On my home trail, there's a straight, flat, doubletrack mixed-use trail into the forest to get to the bike trails. It's like a dark tunnel through the trees that seems to go on forever. Once on the singletrack though, I'm focused on the ride itself and forget about all that, and after awhile I even got used to the tunnel.

    Quote Originally Posted by bad andy View Post
    That being said, I ride all the time at night during winter. It can be freaky. Often times I can't even count the number of eyes staring back at me when I take a break. Thankfully the wildlife around my area generally consists of nothing more than deer, raccoons, maybe the occasional fox or possum.
    When I first started night riding I noticed that the trails were covered with these tiny, emerald-green sparkly lights all over the place. At first I figured they were some kind of crystal reflecting my lights, like how granite can have bits of quartz in it. But then I realized the trail network I ride is all sand; there is no stone. Curious, I zeroed in on one and found that it was a wolf spider a good 2.5" across! The lights were it's eyes reflecting, like how other animal eyes reflect in the dark. Aaahh! The trails are covered in spiders! Literally hundreds and hundreds of them! And that's only the ones facing me!
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  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by jjaguar View Post
    Aaahh! The trails are covered in spiders! Literally hundreds and hundreds of them! And that's only the ones facing me!
    That freaks me out more than the thought of a bear or mountain lion encounter.

  42. #42
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    The worst is the way they seem to like to hang out on the outside of berms. Watching. Waiting.

    We also have banana spiders. The biggest ones are as big as the palm of your hand, thought most are 2-3 inches across. They come out after dark and spin their webs across the trails, and they sit in the middle, right at face-height. Some nights my bike looks like it's been in storage for years from all the webs hanging off it. At least they start building fewer webs once the temps drop below about 70, and around 60 they disappear altogether.
    Speed solves all problems, except for those things it makes worse.

  43. #43
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    Florida spiders are legit. I rode Santos a few times when I was down there once, and my bike was covered in spider webs. I don't know how many spiders I got to the face. I guess it's better not to be the first one on the trails.

  44. #44
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    There's a reason the logo of the Ocala MTB association is a banana spider, and one of the trails at Santos is called "Spider Kingdom".
    Speed solves all problems, except for those things it makes worse.

  45. #45
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    I actually enjoy pavement at night for some reason, at least I did when I lived in Vegas,,,Calgary not so much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jjaguar View Post
    There's a reason the logo of the Ocala MTB association is a banana spider, and one of the trails at Santos is called "Spider Kingdom".
    I am familiar with that trail (unfortunately). I was trying to ride to the Vortex area but ended up riding aimlessly through Spider Kingdom.

    How awesome is night riding?-spider.jpg

    Just to keep my post sort of on topic, here is a pic from my ride the other night. I was testing out my new MJ-872 clone on the bars (paired with my XML clone on my helmet). I had just passed three bucks (deer, not dollars) about 1/4 mile back.

    How awesome is night riding?-0108142132-00.jpg

  47. #47
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    How awesome is night riding?

    Great post from the OP and I agree wholeheartedly.

    I love the solitude of the night ride as I'm a bit of an antisocial animal to heart. However it is also one of convenience. During the week I get out after my kids go to bed. That means I often don't start my rides until 9pm. During the heat of the summer it is refreshingly cooler. During the winter it is a chilling necessity if I want to ride. The trail system here is very busy. I actually found that on many trails my fastest rides are actually at night because I can let it rip without fear of running some toddle or dog walker over. During the day I have to ride slow and yield. Night is a totally different animal.

    I started riding at night in the mid 90s with a set if NightSuns. The lights have evolved a lot since them. Now I have Cygolite TridenX 1100 on the bars and MityCross 800 on the helmet. It's a powerful combo.

    I track my position using Glympse on my phone so my wife knows were I am but still there are risks. My biggest crash of recent years was done at night. Then there's the wildlife. I've seen snakes, coyotes, dear, cows, horses, a tarantula, a bobcat run down the trail in my lights and a black bear cross the trail 15ft in front of me. The idea of meeting a mountain lion still scares me.

    I haven't been out since December. I need some night riding action in the next week or I'll go crazy!

    How awesome is night riding?-imageuploadedbytapatalk1389363577.728545.jpg

  48. #48
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    Ben Stiller on night riding


  49. #49
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    Somehow I don't think Stiller experienced the same euphoria and awesome elation that we here have.
    A bad day of cycling is better than a good day at work

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  50. #50
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    How awesome is night riding?

    Quote Originally Posted by tracysurf View Post
    Thanks for reminding me of that. I'd seen if before but had forgotten about it.

    That's awesome!

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cleared2land View Post
    Somehow I don't think Stiller experienced the same euphoria and awesome elation that we here have.
    Ha, true. I think he's using a little "creative license".

    "No Brunch". Wonder if he's making an Asian joke?

  52. #52
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    One of mine from last year.

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/plWz-DgYu1Q?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    Mountain Biking at Night - GoPro Hero 3 Low Light/Night Time Test - YouTube
    Last edited by TheNormsk; 01-10-2014 at 01:49 PM.

  53. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheNormsk View Post
    One of mine from last year.
    Doesn't look like you're using a helmet light. You might want to consider that. When I was running only one light, It was a helmet light because just a handlebar light was really sketchy for me.

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by tracysurf View Post
    Doesn't look like you're using a helmet light. You might want to consider that. When I was running only one light, It was a helmet light because just a handlebar light was really sketchy for me.
    No I am. It's just at the time the helmet was only 480 lumens against the 1100 on the bar so it doesn't really standout in the video. For this Christmas I just got an 800 for the helmet so it should be more balanced. There was actually a lot more light than the video shows. The camera was getting throttled down in exposure due to how bright the center was. I'll try videoing at night again one day on some different settings and the bar lamp angled higher up to try to improve it next time.

  55. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheNormsk View Post
    No I am. It's just at the time the helmet was only 480 lumens against the 1100 on the bar so it doesn't really standout in the video. For this Christmas I just got an 800 for the helmet so it should be more balanced. There was actually a lot more light than the video shows. The camera was getting throttled down in exposure due to how bright the center was. I'll try videoing at night again one day on some different settings and the bar lamp angled higher up to try to improve it next time.
    Oh, okay. I see it now. Really noticeable on the technical stuff towards the end. Also, the forum cuts off about 1/3 of the right side of the video.

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by tracysurf View Post
    Also, the forum cuts off about 1/3 of the right side of the video.
    Thanks for the note. I edited the embed code settings to make it smaller.

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    Pheckin awesome video matey, looking at the video the helmet spot light and the bar mounted flood work really well together! Nice one.

  58. #58
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    The best thing about riding at night.........it's a black and white world.

  59. #59
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    Big fan of night riding as well. I love how it can take a trail you know like the back of your hand and make it completely new.

    "wow, this spot is kinda techy to go down, why dont i remember this? Oh.... thats right, i usually jump over this." =P

    The part that freaks me out the most with night riding is off camber hill side trails. The downhill side always looks like it drops off into the abyss. Up, flat or down i can pretty much go the same speed i do in the day. Off camber i slow to a crawl to avoid falling off the cliff. The cliff that isn't really there and i KNOW isn't there but cant convince my self to ignore.

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    I also love riding at night with my regular riding group out here in Southern California. However, every once in a while I ride solo when my regular buddies don't show up or when our schedules just don't sync up.

    When riding alone you can typically turn down your lights since you don't have to worry about your buddy with the NiteRider Pro 3000 casting shadows while riding behind you.

    However, for me, mechanical breakdowns on solo night rides tend to suck, because that's when I start noticing the noises in the bushes wondering if it's the boogeyman.

    As I try to stay focused making the necessary repairs I nevertheless keep hearing banshee howls in my head, then once back on the trail I ride faster hoping that the sound of my heavy breathing and knobbies rolling along the trail will gradually drown them out... : )

  61. #61
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    You can only outrun the headless horseman at night, so that is sweet.
    Keep trying to do the awesomest thing you've ever done.

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    I'd say half of my rides are done at night. I live in So Cal and ride Marshal Canyon a lot at night. It's awesome when you ride in a big group as well. It's even cooler when you see other large groups of riders tearing it down the hill.

    To help facilitate the night riding for the homies, I kinda became the light guy.

    I started with 2 NR 150 (later converted to 250s). But then went bananas and bought:

    5 NiteRider Lumina 650s
    2 Gemini Olympias (1900) with 6 cell batteries
    1 Serfas Tru 1500

    I haven't tried this, but it'd be funny to go overkill and mount all those lights onto a single bike one night.

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    As for fear of others and animals on the hill when I'm out solo at night, I'm 6'5" @300lbs. I just keep telling myself I'm the apex predator out here. lol.

  64. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by osmarandsara View Post
    I also love riding at night with my regular riding group out here in Southern California. However, every once in a while I ride solo when my regular buddies don't show up or when our schedules just don't sync up.

    When riding alone you can typically turn down your lights since you don't have to worry about your buddy with the NiteRider Pro 3000 casting shadows while riding behind you.

    However, for me, mechanical breakdowns on solo night rides tend to suck, because that's when I start noticing the noises in the bushes wondering if it's the boogeyman.

    As I try to stay focused making the necessary repairs I nevertheless keep hearing banshee howls in my head, then once back on the trail I ride faster hoping that the sound of my heavy breathing and knobbies rolling along the trail will gradually drown them out... : )
    I LOVE riding at night! I also live in SoCal(Orange county)and ride with a dedicated small group of regulars. We will do "The Luge" or Weir Canyon most of the time and Limestone Canyon when they have the docent led night rides. I use an older Nightrider Minute on my helmet and dual Trailtech HID lights on the bars(they are my helmet lights when I'm racing the moto in Baja). No shortage of light there.
    Once I was riding the fire break near Glendora Mountain Road in the San Gabriels with a friend. Near the top we heard something off in the bushes not too far from us. We decided to head back down hill to the trucks. Whatever it was, it followed us for quite awhile. We could hear it in the brush stepping on leaves and such. Dear don't follow you and coyotes will yip. Ever since then I keep something large, sharp, and pointy with me.

  65. #65
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    Great thread. I love riding at night. I pretty much have to if I want to get rides in throughout the week being that I work an 8-6 job. I must say, my local trail seems pretty boring compared to the stuff you guys are posting.

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    As posting here I like riding at night to upside no Dog walker, Alway know I going to have a good night when the Owl give me a hoot welcoming me to the woods.

    Another plus the darkness make it feel like I'm going faster.

  67. #67
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    Guess I am one of the few on this thread anyway. The only reason I ride at night is because I run out of day. Not knocking it at all, it is just not my thing. As I need to ride in the winter months, I still keep good lights and ride on. But, if I had the option I would trade the night hours for a few hours in the afternoon.

    Old guy vision probably doesn't help. And here is western Virginia in the winter night riding is always cold by the end.

  68. #68
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    "Old guy vision probably doesn't help."

    you got that right.

    and i'm with on on the "running out of day" comment. i work 10-6:30 and by the time i'm suited up and ready to go it's 8:00pm. that means the only time i get to ride in daylight after work is during a short period during high summer.

    it sure would make it easier if ALL of my my nights were not solo.

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    Back in the saddle again after a 15 year layoff. When I was riding I was too far from the trails to make it convenient to ride them. I worked midnights for years. Was in a good rhythm working them and to get adjusted to a new work week I would stay up on Sunday night till about 2-3am. I had a headlight/tail light battery combo. Hit the streets at 11p for about a 2-3 hour ride. Sunday nights rocked. Was the quietest night of the week. Came across a lot of cops but never got stopped to asked what the heck I was doing out that time of night. Great times.

  70. #70
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    My favorite part about night riding is the sweet hoppy beverages that await the end of the ride
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails How awesome is night riding?-beer.jpg  

    coastin' along

  71. #71
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    I remember my first night ride. It was just this past summer with a group of really good riders. Such a fun time, I could barley see due to my cheap, crappy light, but I was much more keen to ride things I would normally walk, probably because I could barely see
    2 Hands Working Do More Than 1000 Hands Praying

  72. #72
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    very wow. much awesome. so night.

  73. #73
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    Night riding makes regular trails feel like new, so in that way it is awesome. In other aspects it's not. Last night's ride was anything but awesome

    Yesterday it was a sunny 64F so I planned to ride after work. At 4pm a front came though and by 5pm it was already down to 31F. By the time I got out it was down to 19F and for most of my ride I had flurries of snow come down on me. After the warmth of the day I over compensated for the cold and was way too hot for my outbound ride. As I slogged up the climbs, because I was too hot, I suffered fogging of my goggles and soaking of the foam (not usually an issue) so I took them off but when I came to put them back on, the sweat in the foam had frozen and it was like putting ice cubes around my face

    Not only was the cold getting to me but it was getting to the bike as well. My dropper cable froze and got stuck with my dropper in the down position. I had to do trail side surgery to disconnect the cable from the dropper to get my dropper back up again. My front shifter cable also started to freeze and my chain got stuck on the big ring. After some work I got it onto the middle ring and I decided to leave it there.

    Then on the return to home, downhill but with an unusual East wind blowing into me (it's usually behind on my return runs) I had chilled and was now becoming increasingly cold due to my wool base layers getting wet earlier in the ride. I lost the heat in my feet (my feet only stay warm for 2 hours in 20F weather and I was now up to 2 3/4 hours with my troubles) and warming packs didn't help (they don't work in the low oxygen of Colorado). By the time I got home my feet were numb and felt like blocks of ice. I seriously think I weren't far off from risk of frost bike in my toes and this was with, so called, winter boots.

    For 60% of the ride I grinned and bared it. Considered it a character building exercise and a necessary evil to keep fit. There was no joy in last night's ride, it certainly was not awesome. Especially when the day was so nice.

    I look forward to my summer night rides when I can ride with shorts and t-shirt and the night offers respite from the 90+F days. Just a few months away now....

  74. #74
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    Night riding is super fun. It's one of my favorite parts of winter. What I like even more is night time scuba diving. When a sea lion buzzes you out of the inky blackness just on the edge of your beam of light or you sneak up on an octopus or looking up through a kelp forest and you can see a full moon above the surface.
    I like to ride bikes.

  75. #75
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    It looks like my first season of regular night riding will be coming to an end this weekend with the DST change, and just in time. The weather is warming up and the spiders are starting to come out after dark again. A couple of nights ago I was feeling an itch inside my helmet that I couldn't reach so I stopped and took it off, and an orb weaver about an inch and a half across rappelled out of one of the vents!

    Night riding is fun, though. Maybe I'll sneak in a midnight ride sometime during the summer.
    Speed solves all problems, except for those things it makes worse.

  76. #76
    Mmmm Rocks Good
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    I love night riding! Winter time with a little snow on the ground and a full moon is really surreal. We had a fantastic ride last PM, good snow base, no ice or mud and 20 degrees! So fun!
    Big, strong, rock crushing, IPA drinking, big hit bike rider!

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