Anyone go alone, is it safe?
Depends if you crash or not... Never had a problem, need some decent lights and then you have all new treails, you think you know them liek the back of your hand, till you ride them at night...
All the gear and no idea.
I pretty much only ride solo, and just recently started night rides. I've also started using the app road ID in the event something happens. Start the app when you start your ride and if you remain stationary for 5 minutes, it will text or email a contact of your choosing.
Difference is there are fewer people out at night to help you if a problem. I always figure it is as safe as the choices I make. Meaning, I leave a larger margin for error at night than I do during the day. Night riding is a lot of fun. Try it.
Let someone know where you're going and an expected time you'll be finished.
Use good lights and carry a spare.
Slow down and don't ride at the same pace as you do during the day. If you want to get a good workout, work on the climbs and take it easy on the descents.
You can also make it safer by riding a more forgiving bike. Full suspension or fatbikes are a lot more forgiving when hitting unseen holes or rocks than a rigid bike for example.
Using more aggressive tires than normal can help. The weight and rolling resistance will slow you down, but can also save you when you hit an obstacle you couldn't see and weren't expecting.
Use two lights. Put one on your handlebars and one on your helmet. It will cast two different shadows, which helps with depth perception.
I solo night ride all the time, I enjoy the solitude and the abundance of wildlife that you can see and hear at night. Familiar trails take on a different feel as well.
Expect the first few times to feel a little...creepy. Persevere, this fades as you get used to the new sensory inputs.
All advice given above is good:
- use a light on your bars and on your helmet. You definitely need both to get the most out of night riding
- keep at minimum at least one headlight spare in your pack in case you need to hike out or your other lights die on you. As a bonus, this helps when getting setup and at the end of the ride
- don't stay out past the life of your batteries for your lights! Especially true if you are riding in the cold. For this reason I usually bring at least one spare bar light in addition to those mentioned above
- redundancy and self-sufficiency should be your guiding principles
- dial back the risk level a bit
- let someone know where you are going and when to expect you back
- mechanical breakdowns are the worst in the dark, make sure that you bring all spare parts and tools you might need, or don't venture far from thew trail head in case you need to hike out
After a couple minor mishaps on night rides, I found it is helpful to know the easiest way out of the woods from any point on the course/trail. It would have saved me a lot of bungling around in the dark. (see redundancy note above )
Have extra clothing for rain, cold, etc.
...and bug repellent for when you have to stop and fix a flat in the dark near the mosquito infested swamp.
Also, probably of greater risk where I ride are the weirdos that stop by the parking lot at night. They won't venture too far afield, but they've been known to mess with peoples' vehicles.
Other than that, night rides have been some of my more memorable and enjoyable rides, both group and solo.
It's never easier - you just go faster.
i've done it, but i don't really like it from a safety standpoint. I'm worried i could crash, get seriously hurt, and be in real trouble. plus right now it's cold.
last summer i had a bad wreck doing nothing spectacular, in the daylight. if i had been alone at night the outcome could have been much worse. it has made me rethink some of the riding i do.
the terrain i usually ride is fairly unforgiving and the potential for injury is constant. (I know that's not uncommon)
some areas are very remote and a 5 mile hike out of the woods when injured would be impossible.
it probably depends a lot on where your riding. cell service is a big plus. just be prepared for breakdowns and light failure etc. and as stated above, dial it back a notch.
Rigid SS 29er
"Fully rigid" isn't a thing.
I do it all the time. But I wouldn't call it safe.
Your question leaves too many unaddressed details about where you're riding.
Originally Posted by andersonsmog
Wouldn't this question be contingent on where you are riding and the frequency of who else rides there at night? Perhaps even taking into account your riding skills and familiarity of the location that you are riding.
All good advice above. It pretty much covers everything. But I'll add a few and elaborate a couple.
The helmet light allows you to see around corners that you are riding into, the handlebar doesn't do that.
The tunnel vision is a good thing. It bothers some people but not having peripheral vision allows me to focus only on the trail, where I am riding. You don't need to see the tree 20 feet off the trail.
The lights casting shadows on roots and rocks can make the roots and rocks look a lot bigger than they actually are. It can take a while to figure this out and realize the 4" inch high rock is not actually the 10" high rock it looks like. Knowing the trail you are night riding helps you figure this out.
Another way to keep others aware of your night ride is to post it on Facebook and tag friends who you know are active on FB. Put the time when you are starting, when you expect to be done, where you are riding and that you will post again when you finish your ride. I have a friend that does this a lot, he calls it a safety post.
If you have a dog that can keep up with you and will stay with you, take them. I ride with 2 dogs. They hear anything that's out there well before you will, then you can keep track of what is moving around you. Most of the time it is just deer, but they have keyed in on the coyote a couple of times.
I go all the time. You won't be going as fast as you do in the daylight and it's easier if you ride familiar trails. So I say it's SAFE and I'm over 50 yrs old. I get the what if something happens to you question all the time, because I hardly ever have my phone,and my reply is always ," I'll do the same thing that I would have done 20 plus years ago before the phone."
I go out alone at night (dusk) all the time. I do carry a phone on me, but I've never had to use it. Like has been said, make sure you have at least two lights. I typically have a light on my helmet, one on my bars and carry a spare run-o-the mill headlamp in my pack just in case. You don't have to run them both at the same time, mind you, it's just nice to have a backup in case one craps out.
It's a lot of fun; you definitely need to be self reliant. In a lot of ways, I prefer it over riding during daylight hours. Less people, it's typically cooler out and the trails just feel more alive! So awesome to go out somewhere to check out a sunset, and then bike back down in the dark.
Depends on where you are riding.
Around here it's safe. No wild animals are going to eat you. No murderous hobos hanging out on the trails. No trails so steep you're going to fall off in the dark and disappear.
So for NE Ohio - yeah, it's safe.
Where you are, it's hard to tell.
The joys of riding in your 'sphere of light'.
Originally Posted by andersonsmog
It is no more or less safe than doing the same activity in the same place, by yourself, during the daytime.
Some details change, like traffic levels, visibility, temperatures, etc.
Sometimes, night riding is the BETTER choice. You try riding in midsummer in E. Texas when it's 105F outside with 50% humidity during midday. And then after sundown when it's only 95, there's no direct sunshine, and the humidity is very similar.
Urban trail in a rough neighborhood, and you're a woman. That'll be different than if you're a guy in the same place, or if you're in a remote place with no traffic.
Depending on where you are, wildlife may be a concern for solo nighttime travel in the woods by any conveyance. I've been stalked by large predators in dark canyons in Utah miles from the nearest people while working. Gotta know how to handle that situation, and be able to GTFO if something goes outside your comfort zone.
If you're talking about the riding itself, then it's fine. The key is not to be an idiot.
There you go making a statement like that.
Originally Posted by Harold
Might as well bring Artificial Intelligence into the equation.
All the time. There's nothing quite like solo night riding on a calm night with 2-3" of fresh powder on a single speed....absolutely dead quiet.
Been night riding, mostly solo, for over 10 years. For me the rules are simple and most have been touched on already.
1. Take a spare light and battery. I use a single unit that has the battery and light in the same housing for my spare. Quick and easy to slap on. I also take a headlamp for trail side repairs.
2. In cold climate take extra clothing. I also take matches and a small amount of cotton balls to act as starter material. Soak them in a little lighter fluid, place in a baggie and they take up almost no space. Take a space blanket. If you fall and break something the ability to build a fire is a must. Never had to do it but you never know.
3. I take the necessary tools and spares for most emergencies.
4. cell phone - fully charged.
5. extra food
6. Always let someone know where you're going and that you will be calling them when getting off the trail.
7. I only ride trails that I know well. Never explore a new trail at night. I don't necessarily go slower. I actually tend to go faster because I know the trails will be clear of others. (Won't count the one time I nearly t-boned a deer)
8. My light setup has evolved over the years. I've owned all the major brands. tried bar/helmet setups but now I use lights on the bars only and they are my own design. I've found that if the light on the bar has sufficient spread and depth there is no need for the helmet light. I have no problem seeing around corners and I don't have to deal with the dual beams bouncing around in my field of view. Building your own lights also allows one to pick your tint. I found that the white/bluish tints that most manufacturer's use are too harsh and don't show terrain detail in correct color. They also tend to make the eyes tired.
With the right preparation solo night riding can be exhilarating. I've seen every kind of animal at night. Nothing more exciting than bombing a trail at night with a bobcat in the lead.
As already covered, there's less traffic, it's likely to be cooler, and any falls or mechanical issues leave you on your own to resolve. The points about having a backup (or two) for lighting can't be understated.
If your area has large predators that see you as a potential meal you also stand that risk (although at a lower level) during the day. However, most animals will avoid you if given the chance. One of my rides takes me through an area with range cattle and evidently a bike comes upon them suddenly and can/will spook them.
But riding under a canopy of stars? Ahhh, now THAT's interesting! I'll usually stop and let my eye adjust fully (about 15 minutes) with the lights off. Heaven, literally.
Riding Solo is how i roll .
Hit the trails with your bike and get freaky.
I have used Live Track through Garmin Connect to provide near real time tracking to whoever you are interesting being able to follow your travel. While I have experienced some phone-tower-GPS connection issues on occasion, it's performed pretty well.
I go alone almost every time I ride. Ride is under an hour (on the trail) as where I ride the trails are just a few mile loop. Always have some level of cell service but mainly I make sure my wife knows what trails im going to, text when it get to trail head and text when I get back to trail head from the ride. She has gained a good idea as to time between check ins so if im late, she texts. No answer, calls. Never been hurt but I occasionally end up running into a friend or decide to take and play with cameras. So ill be out longer.
Make sure your supplied for how long you'll be out/distance from vehicle or help. Not something I worry about as never more than a mile or so from trail head. Carry same as I do for normal rides.
Makes sure someone knows that your going out and how long before you should be checking in.
NEVER EVER GO OUT WITH ONLY ONE LIGHT. I dont care what anyone says ot what light you have, always have 2 fitted or at least a small flashlight in your pack in case a light fails. Its completely stupid not to (unless riding with a group)
Well I still haven't tried alone. IDK why it just scares me lol
Always bring a way to start a fire, and whiskey. If things go south I'm gonna start a campfire and get drunk till daylight.
Trek Madone 4.5
Surly Ice Cream Truck Ops
Salsa Pony Rustler GX1
And a couple other beater bikes.
Just got back from a nice night-ride here in Anchorage, alone. During the winter, many of our rides are "night", but that is starting to change rapidly as we are entering the season where the day-to-day change is significant. Now it's light until almost 6, at the end of the month maybe 7:30 or so...
Of course, I go out and ride with other people and without all the time. We got bears and moose, but truthfully the bears are mostly asleep in the winter. The moose are more dangerous, but usually less active at night. Still, I have a big can of bear-spray in my pack's avalanche probe compartment that can be opened from the outside, also convenient for storing my tire pump. I have some other bail-out gear like extra gloves, handwarmers, sweater, mask, in my pack.
Riding at night works really well when you have a situation like here: we have several places to ride that are within or on the edge of the city. That works well for night rides without making you get back way late. Rides way into the wilderness at night are less entertaining to me, as there are more opportunities to get lost or for things to go bad. I also don't care to wake up at 4am to go night riding, although I know people do in the summer in the desert. I'll shoot myself before I ruin sleeping in on the weekend.
"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.
I have some singlegrack I can hit from the house that I ride solo at night. If I have an issue, I am not too far from a road or neighborhood. I let the wife know where I am heading and just go for a mellow ride. No issues so far!
Group night rides are fun, and usually involve a more spirited pace and some food/drink afterward. Look forward to those!
I was too drunk and too much in pain to ride. Good times. - TacoBeer
Most of my rides are solo, but for night rides I really prefer to go with someone. I feel like a bit of a wimp but I get a little freaked out alone in the dark woods with just my little pool of bright light surrounded by blackness. With a buddy or two it's a non issue and I have a blast. Some trails that are close to roads and street light it is less of an issue.
As for safety, depends on the trail, what are the risks and how far are you from help. Be sure to have back up lights, a little pocket flashlight, an emergency space blanket, some food, extra water, extra layers. If things go bad, what would you need to get out of the woods, what would you need if you had to wait till morning. Weather and location will change what you need.
I really don't see how solo night riding is any more dangerous or would require doing or packing anything differently than riding in daylight (beyond charging your batteries and mounting your lights of course). You really should be just as prepared during daylight rides as night rides. Darkness in and of itself doesn't change anything (excluding human and non-human predatory patterns, if that's an issue where you ride).
I guess if you're someone whose general plan for an emergency consists of 'wait for someone to randomly show up and rescue me', you should probably avoid not only night riding, but also riding anywhere besides small crowded parks on busy days.
Sunday River Mtn Bike Park
Wachusett Brewing Co.
I have a general sense that if I go in alone, I should be equipped to come out alone. I expect no one to look after me or come to my aid unless I'm seriously injured. I have the skills, tools and the most common spare parts to accomplish just about whatever it takes to return to my vehicle unaided. I realize that things can go wrong, but I try and plan for those issues and deal with them accordingly.
I like it, but haven't done it in a while. Always feels like there are bears and mountain lions lurking in the shadows.
The last time I did any night riding was finishing the last 4 miles of Slickrock under a full moon with no lights. That was awesome.
Try starting out with an hour of light or so and finishing in the dark. It's easier to set out with some daylight. It takes a little nerve to set out in the dark, maybe it's something about looking down the darkened trail with pitch black on either side. Once you get moving you don't even think about it, except for all the noise (and glowing eyes).
Originally Posted by andersonsmog
Originally Posted by derekbob
At least im not the only one that gets nervous sometimes when going out solo after dark. I still love it but the pack of coyotes that is near my local trail gets unnerving when they start closing in to investigate. This season im just going to ride with headphones in so I dont have to hear them. Though my "battle bellow" turns them around lol. Would freak anyone out hearing it in the dark woods. My only other "threat" is deer and skunks.
I ride at night solo and I love it. I don't have any large predators in my area, worst thing is vipers that are active at night, but mostly are in the grass and not in the trail. I ride with three lights, helmet, bar, and one of those inexpensive chinese led lights on the bar as well. I also keep a Fenix EO1 in my bag if I have to change a flat, fix something, etc., without screwing around with the other lights. My wife knows how to access my Endomondo program which is always running when I ride, and she knows where I am, and the local trail has strong cell and gps reception.
That said, I do take it easy on a couple of the tougher sections, and ride more slowly on those sections than during the day. The biggest problem is other humans. Sometimes people are out on horseback, and you can meet them at an inconvenient place. They usually see me coming though because I am running around 1400-1500 lumens. The other problem is that there are areas where people come in with cars and do all night raves, and they are blasting techno music, and partying way too loud which takes away from the enjoyment. For the most part, it's a lot of fun, and I feel safe. Worst was coming around a corner a week after the rains, and I did not see the 20 foot long, 2 foot deep mud pit until I was already in it.
In the summer here, you ride early or you ride late. I ride late during the week and early on the weekends. It's normally 15-25 miles, and I have a few different loops that I do. Some of the other guys think I'm nuts, but I am also not the only solo rider out there.
All good until a moth flies close to your headlight. The 2 foot shadow looks like giant bat up close. Not good.
How ironic. The opportunity to hear all of the night sounds is the lure for me. I love to hear the coyotes, screech owls and other critters of the woods. My predominate complaint is the sound of my tires when I'm trying to hear the critters. I frequently will pull off of the trail, turn off all lights and sit silently to capture all of the sounds of my surroundings.
Originally Posted by tigris99
In the silence, you can often hear a mouse scurrying through the leaves or a distant coyote communicating. If you're lucky, you get the thrill of hearing something larger moving through the woods. This is where the adrenaline can begin to elevate.
Yes, and yes. I crashed and separated my AC joint and broke my helmet one night about 6 miles from home in a no cell phone zone. So, I had to ride home. I still ride at night and by myself, just a little slower. If Zinger-UK didn't live across the ocean I might ride with other people at night more often.
Nothing worth doing is truly safe.
^^^I have done this - in the daytime as well!
Originally Posted by Cleared2land
My bro and I have often said you could hear the worms waking up as the sun warms the earth near our hunting stands.
btw - a pic from my last night ride... and I lived to tell about it.
It's never easier - you just go faster.
I go alone quite a bit, mostly because it's the only time I can get out. Best part about it is the crowds are gone, the place is empty, and it's absolutely serene. I like descending in the dark much more than I do climbing. We have lots of deer in the area and I get a few carcasses that they have left. I'd say the carcasses are good because the kitty cats are full. My buddy went up and on his way back down came face to face with a large cougar. I like to wear headphones. I don't want to hear the cat before it eats me.
This weekend the almost full Moon rises just before Sunset, maybe a good time to ease into this.
I'd join the party.
Originally Posted by Galeforce5
Are there any good bike shoes that are also good for dancing?
I do a lot of night riding. Mostly on dirt and gravel in the Kisatchie National Forest as I train for the Tour Divide.
I have two NR Lumina 750s that give about five hours of burn time each on the low setting and provide plenty of light for this kind of riding. I can charge them from my front hub.
One is a backup.
I have two red blinkers on the seat stays and a helmet light for reading maps and setting up camp. I also have small LED flashlight but I'm trying to cut the weight of my gear so I probably will not take it on the race.
It can get a little creepy in the middle of nowhere in a pool of light with blackness all around. I sometimes carry a gun if I'm going way, way out...like fifty or sixty miles but generally even in the woods it's more sparsely rural than outright wilderness.
No, not a good idea. Even if you're a good rider, anyone can come up and hit you.
Originally Posted by griwulf
Thanks for the valuable contribution. You can probably back this opinion up with a metric buttload of anecdotal evidence.
Originally Posted by griwulf
As I have gotten a bit more mature.. we have a few simple guidelines
1) Be Prepared (Extra Food Clothing etc, More light than you need, Know trail well, Understand your risk profile )
2) Don't Ride Solo unless you are really good at #1.
3) If riding solo use the remote buddy system :
i.e. Txt friend leaving / trail. Txt Done. Friend should understand trails.
I like riding solo sometimes so I understand the draw, but it is a calculation. My calculation is that it is *relatively* more risky to ride night solo.You have to know your self, if you are one that struggles to control your risk.. then probably not the best idea, if you know how to manage your risk and are comfortable then ok.
At at this stage, I pretty much prefer to ride with small groups at night, reduces some of the risks... but I still get the night experience / Zing!
We did a night ride on Saturday...but tonight is a full moon which would have been a blast.
(Thanks for the pic Slowrunner )
The last full moon ride, we didn't need much light
Eat your veggies
I rode last night. The days are getting longer, so I actually set up and headed out in twilight, but it quickly got dark. I find the twilight period tough to ride in, your lights do not reveal the trail details as well as they do under the high contrast conditions when it is fully dark. I hit a lot of babyheads that I did not even see coming. I was on my hardtail too, so I sure felt them.
Setting up in daylight is a huge plus though. Much easier than when it is fully dark.
The moon was full, but too low in the sky for my ride to provide any benefit.
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