Solitary night riding - stupendous or just stupid?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Solitary night riding - stupendous or just stupid?

    Did my first solo nighty-night-light ride last night in a long while - maybe since last winter. Gorgeous night - got out right past sunset when there was just barely a little orange/purple in the sky over the Owyhees, the city lights were bright, and the crescent moon was just hanging like a scythe over the city. I just did the Fred-Barney combo (Owls Roost - Kestrel - Freeway - Sidewinder - Hulls Ridge - Hulls Gulch - Chickadee), but it was one of the most fun rides I've had in a long time. Soul and mind cleansing.

    Here's the quandry I'm in - is it "safe" to night ride solo or is stupid to be out there by my lonesome? When I first started night riding a couple of years ago, a friend (who used to work for Jet Lights and who has done a ton of night riding) warned me to always go with somebody else when night riding - in case your light fails, to avoid becoming cat chow, in the event of a mechanical, etc... What's your take? I'm not sure, other than the light failing issue and needing somebody else around to guide you home (RRB, remember that night?), I'm not sure how night riding solo is much different than day riding solo. Thoughts? Impressions? Solo night riding OK?

    I also thought of a simile for night riding: It's like sex with the lights off - sure, you have fun, but it's always better when you can see what you're doing!

  2. #2
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    I too agree with said simile...

    But back to the main question: I've done the solo rides in the dark and they've been exhilirating. I tend to lean towards the cautious side of things now, I personally wouldn't do a solo night ride for all the above reasons.

    Unless it's on a pump track.

  3. #3
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    Night Dorker

    Quote Originally Posted by Earthpig
    I just did the Fred-Barney combo (Owls Roost - Kestrel - Freeway - Sidewinder - Hulls Ridge - Hulls Gulch - Chickadee), but it was one of the most fun rides I've had in a long time. Soul and mind cleansing.
    If alone I stay low and tight - I feel better knowing that someone will probably see the blood and dragging body signs in the dirt/snow. I'll donate to an arm or leg to a kitty, but the whole body to a pack of mangy coyotes forgetaboutit.

    You could always get one of these to take along with you - first you would have to feed him with a little hound meat.
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  4. #4
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    It's probably not the safest thing, but I've done it as well.

    Light failure seems like a minor problem to me. The bigger issue is if you crash and get hurt badly - knocked unconscious, break a leg, etc - you might lay trailside for a long time before somone finds you the next morning. A cold night in the foothills does not sound like fun to me. However, anytime you ride solo in the absolute middle of nowhere, you run that risk.

    As long as you're aware of the risk, and don't take chances, I'd say that it's not a whole lot less safe than any other solo ride.
    Each bicycle owned exponentially increases the probability that none is working correctly.

  5. #5
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    for foothills riding...why not just carry a cell phone

    i take my cell phone all the time. when i had my crash on the speed bump this spring (yeah, i'm a terrible rider taco), i was glad to have my cell phone to avoid having to walk 6 miles (with a bummed knee). front wheel tacoed. i call for someone to pick me up on upper 8th street, and we headed straight to highlands hollow for hippie shake and a bowl of fries. that made me feel much better.

    i will night ride anywhere, anytime...except for some trails back in SC (where i found a dead guy ). it took me a while to start riding that trail in the daytime...i made sure to stay with the group i was with. finding a person in the woods who blew their head off the night before is not cool.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by garnetspur
    (where i found a dead guy
    A dead guy? This sounds good. Tell us more.
    Nobody cares what kind of bike you ride.

  7. #7

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    I keep my night rides short and sweet and usually over in Military Reserve. I usually begin my rides betwixt 5:30-6pm and keep them between 1-1.5 hours so it's still somewhat early in the evening. And yup I carry my cell with me and thankfully have not had to use it. Of course I'm alot slower than usual (jeez can I get any slower!?!?) and more cautious since I don't want to "outrun" my lights.

    Oh yeah I've done a handful of night rides in Wilson Creek as well. Cell phone coverage for me is spotty though out there.

    Never really thought about the big cat issue....

    I have heard howling off in the distance (and sometimes it sounded alot closer) and have seen a whole bunch of deer eyes get lit up by my light and then scamper off (that looked COOL!!!!).

    Most of my night rides are solo although every now and then my buddy Doc Jay would join me if our schedules meshed.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Earthpig
    Did my first solo nighty-night-light ride last night in a long while - maybe since last winter. Gorgeous night - got out right past sunset when there was just barely a little orange/purple in the sky over the Owyhees, the city lights were bright, and the crescent moon was just hanging like a scythe over the city...Soul and mind cleansing...I'm not sure how night riding solo is much different than day riding solo. Thoughts? Impressions? Solo night riding OK?
    EP, I love that you are nearly completely predictable...LMAO!!!

    Glad you had such a great ride. "Soul and mind cleansing" rides are always the best. Night riding, whether in a group or "all by your lonesome," can be a much different experience than day riding because your perception of what you think to be true changes. An altered perception without drugs, booze, blow to the head = funner.* Is solo riding in the Boise foothills ever really "solo?" Riding alone at night might not be the safest bet, but sometimes you've got to shoot the roll and chance the kitty and the potential brain injury. Otherwise, life is too boring. Besides, that kitty on Hulls is not that big. I'm sure you could take him.

    BTW: Next time you ride alone at night, make sure you tell someone other than the random person where you are. I'm sure your family would like to recover as many of your body parts as possible.

    *"Funner" is not a real word, but it should be. Feel free to use it.
    Last edited by sweetflowersister; 09-27-2006 at 10:00 AM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwistedCrank
    A dead guy? This sounds good. Tell us more.
    not really much to tell. i was riding with a friend one humid morning in south carolina. i started feeling like ass so i told my friend to go ahead and come back to get me. i was just sick feeling. (this trail system crossed over a gravel road, so he could go get the truck and come back to get me).

    to keep it short...i was looking for a shady spot to sit and rest and throw up...and there's the dead guy with his head blown off leaning up against a big ol pine tree.

    that's the fastest i've ever ridden . i caught my friend...told him what the deal was and we went to the police.

    strange thing was that i was a friend of mine was good friends with a friend of that guy (6 degrees, or less, separation i guess). that was kinda weird. it was confirmed that the guy was unstable. too bad.

  10. #10
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    I ride at night solo but keep it slow and on familiar trails close to town. Not saying I can't get hurt, but it limits my chances of stupidity. My cell phone is always with me; Cingular has crappy coverage so I'd probably be playing video golf while waiting for the cougar to come snack on my Hammer Gel and third nut.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Earthpig
    Did my first solo nighty-night-light ride last night in a long while - maybe since last winter. Gorgeous night - got out right past sunset when there was just barely a little orange/purple in the sky over the Owyhees, the city lights were bright, and the crescent moon was just hanging like a scythe over the city. I just did the Fred-Barney combo (Owls Roost - Kestrel - Freeway - Sidewinder - Hulls Ridge - Hulls Gulch - Chickadee), but it was one of the most fun rides I've had in a long time. Soul and mind cleansing.

    Here's the quandry I'm in - is it "safe" to night ride solo or is stupid to be out there by my lonesome? When I first started night riding a couple of years ago, a friend (who used to work for Jet Lights and who has done a ton of night riding) warned me to always go with somebody else when night riding - in case your light fails, to avoid becoming cat chow, in the event of a mechanical, etc... What's your take? I'm not sure, other than the light failing issue and needing somebody else around to guide you home (RRB, remember that night?), I'm not sure how night riding solo is much different than day riding solo. Thoughts? Impressions? Solo night riding OK?

    I also thought of a simile for night riding: It's like sex with the lights off - sure, you have fun, but it's always better when you can see what you're doing!
    So, that was you on the white inbred last night. we passed each other on the Freeway (I was going the other way).
    Night riding solo is perfectly safe if:
    1. You have a cell phone
    2. You have a spare light (mag-lite's work great!)
    3. Someone knows you're out there
    4. You know how to work on your bike
    5. You stay on trails that you know like the back of your hand.
    Of course, having said that, all through my night ride last night, i was flashing my helmet mount like my head was on a swivel and I looked back behind me more than a few times just to make sure that there were no eyes flashing back at me... Definitely more freaky if you're solo since you know that you may not be on top of the food chain out there.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by flipnidaho
    2. You have a spare light (mag-lite's work great!)
    That's probably one of the best pieces of advice right there....last year I had both batteries die on me heading back to Fort Boise. Luckily there was enough ambient light out there that I was able to get back safely, but it was a slow ride back. I'm now going to pack my Petzl Tikka Plus all the time.

  13. #13
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    blink, blink...

    Quote Originally Posted by flipnidaho
    ... I looked back behind me more than a few times just to make sure that there were no eyes flashing back at me... Definitely more freaky if you're solo since you know that you may not be on top of the food chain out there.
    I took my dog with me on a ride once on what is now Rock Garden. I saw some eyes glowing ahead of me and figured that he had done some bushwhacking and got ahead of me. And then I heard his collar jingling...behind me. Coyotes look MUCH bigger at night!

    I agree with Flip's other comments. Most importantly, let someone else know where you're going and how long you'll be gone.

  14. #14
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    Bah. What ever happened to good old fashioned adventure? Just go out n ride. Don't tell anyone where you are going, make up some vague response to the questions about when you'll be back and don't bring the cell phone. Just make sure your lights are fully charged. If you're afeared of cats just put some eyeball stickers on the back of your helmet.

    Sheesh, you might as well be riding with suspension, fat tires, a GPS, some oxygen tanks and the feeling that your gear has made the trails easier.
    Nobody cares what kind of bike you ride.

  15. #15
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    Geez. How many times have I told all of you. You don't need to fvckin' see to ride your bike.

    Do you need to have a partner during the day??? Do you dwell on eating shiatzu at high Noon? Nope. Don't dwell on it at night.

    Safe...if I wanted to be safe, I wouldn't ride my bike, move to the Midwest, and order take out while watching Dancing with the Stars!!!

    I need an eyeball sticker for the front...for my C & B.
    ...building wherever they'll let me...

  16. #16
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    Well, I've given the issue some thought, as I've done a couple night group rides and half a dozen solos. But I'm done with night solos, ever since I unwittingly rode within a quarter mile of that big cougar found in a tree on Claremont, and almost ran into a group of drunk bubbas out in the MR area, and that same ride my bar light was dead from git-go so I had to plod along with my much weaker helmet light. Thanks to Flip for that next morning emailing me pictures of the big cat I rode past the night before. No thanks. No more night solos.

    CDB
    May your trails be narrow, crooked, lonesome and dangerous, leading to the most outrageous adventures. Paladin

  17. #17
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    LEDs

    Quote Originally Posted by flipnidaho
    Night riding solo is perfectly safe if:
    1. You have a cell phone
    2. You have a spare light
    (LED headlamps work great)
    3. Someone knows you're out there
    4. You know how to work on your bike
    5. You stay on trails that you know like the back of your hand.
    I started riding alone. I started night riding alone. I love it, every minute. With some common sence, preparation and caution, it is quite a rewarding experience.
    I suggest teh LED headlamps, they can throw enough light at your front wheel to actually ride out, as well as allowing you to try and resolve mechanicals with two hands.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by CBro
    ....that big cougar found in a tree on Claremont...
    Where's Claremont? Is that around Somerset Ridge?

    Ya' know what spooks me? Riding around the cemetary side of Military Reserve.


    I rode out there one Halloween several years ago and just felt chills run down my spine.

    And my "fear" has only been compounded several times over ever since sfs told me about how devil worshippers use to hang out somewhere in the vicinity.



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by BelaySlave
    And my "fear" has only been compounded several times over ever since sfs told me about how devil worshippers use to hang out somewhere in the vicinity.
    What's so bad about devil worship? I do it all the time. Heck, my daughter can make dogs spontaneously combust. Heck, everyone can stand to have a couple dozen hexes tossed their way every day. Sheesh.
    Nobody cares what kind of bike you ride.

  20. #20
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    Claremont is the name of the street that bisects the start of Crestline, where the humble shacks sit overlooking the city.

    My group night rides have always been fun. Solos have been a bit creepy. For example, had a good crash coming down Hulls one black night on the SS, and probably broke a finger, had a flat once, so on, etc.

    My main concern is to not feed the cats....

    CDB
    May your trails be narrow, crooked, lonesome and dangerous, leading to the most outrageous adventures. Paladin

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    Quote Originally Posted by BelaySlave
    And my "fear" has only been compounded several times over ever since sfs told me about how devil worshippers use to hang out somewhere in the vicinity.


    Glad I could add to your adventure! Remember, as with the kitty, the devil worshippers are likely more afraid of you than you are of them.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by CBro
    But I'm done with night solos, ever since I unwittingly rode within a quarter mile of that big cougar found in a tree on Claremont, and almost ran into a group of drunk bubbas out in the MR area
    CBro, the fact that you were so close to the cat and were not attacked by it, only proves that there is nothing to be afraid of.

    Sorry... no advice in regards to the drunk bubbas.
    Each bicycle owned exponentially increases the probability that none is working correctly.

  23. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by laffeaux
    Sorry... no advice in regards to the drunk bubbas.
    What about high bubbas??


    http://www.boiseweekly.com/gyrobase/...d=oid%3A212556

    Best Place to Smoke a Joint

    The Pagoda

    Well, it's not really a pagoda, per se. It's more of a picnic table under a stone and log roof, located on the Eagle Ridge Trail in the foothills right behind the Mountain Cove alternative high school. And even though it offers a beautiful overlook of the city with minimal hiking necessary to get there, it's not much of a place to smoke a joint, either. Know why? Because now everybody will know that's where you're going, stupid! Geez, go back to class before you get busted for truancy again.
    I've run across "partiers" before in MR...no biggie...I don't bother them and they don't bother me.

  24. #24
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    I'm not convinced the cougar is not a threat. They have a bad track record afaic...

    For example, http://4cornerscup.com/2004/cougar.htm

    CDB
    May your trails be narrow, crooked, lonesome and dangerous, leading to the most outrageous adventures. Paladin

  25. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by CBro
    I'm not convinced the cougar is not a threat. They have a bad track record afaic...

    For example, http://4cornerscup.com/2004/cougar.htm

    CDB
    Dude! That was the same story that my co-volunteer at the HPSF was telling me about!!! He use to live down there and use to ride in that same area.


    BTW...we're Barney'ing tonight at MR if you're interested...taking off at 5:30.

  26. #26
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    If I remember right, those gals were CA BOMB members, and Craig either knew them personally, or knew people who did. Tey happen to belong to my current denomination, and our church magazine did a really neat writeup and interview with the gals soon after it happened.

    CDB
    May your trails be narrow, crooked, lonesome and dangerous, leading to the most outrageous adventures. Paladin

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by CBro
    If I remember right, those gals were CA BOMB members, and Craig either knew them personally, or knew people who did. Tey happen to belong to my current denomination, and our church magazine did a really neat writeup and interview with the gals soon after it happened.
    Yeah that attack was big news when it happened. It really sucked. However, in the whole scheme of things, being attack by a mountain lion while riding in the foothills, is still pretty small. The drive/ride to and from the trailhead is a lot more dangerous.

    Here's a statistic from an article about that attack:
    <blockquote>The attacks, which were considered separate incidents, raised to 14 the total number of mountain lion attacks on humans in California over the past 114 years, six of them fatal.</blockquote>

    full article: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/...ain-lion_x.htm

    14 people dying is a huge bummer. But how many people were killed while crossing the street in that same amount of time. I'm betting it's a whole lot more.

    Again, none of this applies to the drunk bubbas or devil worshipers that hang out at MR.
    Each bicycle owned exponentially increases the probability that none is working correctly.

  28. #28
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    just started riding at night with my dog . i wear a niterider helmet light and my husky wears a headband light i bought at walmart for 10$, it fits around her neck perfectly so i can keep good track of her, and if my light fails i just take hers, i love riding at night although it gets a little creepy occasionally, especially when you start seeing the eyeballs shining. good thing is she always knows the way back

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by laffeaux
    Yeah that attack was big news when it happened. It really sucked. However, in the whole scheme of things, being attack by a mountain lion while riding in the foothills, is still pretty small. The drive/ride to and from the trailhead is a lot more dangerous.

    Here's a statistic from an article about that attack:
    <blockquote>The attacks, which were considered separate incidents, raised to 14 the total number of mountain lion attacks on humans in California over the past 114 years, six of them fatal.</blockquote>

    full article: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/...ain-lion_x.htm

    14 people dying is a huge bummer. But how many people were killed while crossing the street in that same amount of time. I'm betting it's a whole lot more.

    Again, none of this applies to the drunk bubbas or devil worshipers that hang out at MR.

    statistics can be misleading sometimes. it's the same with shark attack on surfers. the chance of getting killed by a shark are miniscule for the general population. however, on a stretch of beach, where there are known to be great whites cruising, i'd think twice about paddling out OR I'd go when there are more surfers out so the big fishy would have more choices than say... me...

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by flipnidaho
    I'd go when there are more surfers out so the big fishy would have more choices than say... me...
    LOL

    So group night rides it is!
    Each bicycle owned exponentially increases the probability that none is working correctly.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by laffeaux
    LOL

    So group night rides it is!
    and only invite slow people...

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by flipnidaho
    and only invite slow people...
    Dang you featherweights, the clydesdales like me always get picked off while you rabbits scurry to safety.

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