Night Riding Danger: Killer Trees- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Night Riding Danger: Killer Trees

    I just read a story tonight about a bicyclist killed at night by a falling tree. Apparently it took place on the C&O Canal Towpath not too far from where I live. Supposedly there were storms on that night. I have ridden the towpath on more than a couple occasions. The man was on a two day trip with a companion. Making it more eerie is that the man was the same age as me.

    I still remember not too many years ago when I was resting at a quiet open spot while on one of my regular night time excursions. On an otherwise clear peaceful night suddenly there was a piercingly loud crackling noise, followed by the typical sounds of a falling tree not too far from where I was sitting. I about jumped out of my skin. I turned my lights on but I still couldn't see it as it was somewhere back in the woods. The same woods I had just walked through not more than ten minutes previously. As I comprehended the situation it sent shivers up my spine.

    Anyone that has spent time in the woods knows that it is not unusual for trees to fall across a trail. Most of us never think of it happening though when people are around or even more to the point, at night when people are around. Just the other night I was riding my usual trail when I came up on a very big dead-fall right across the trail. I paid it no mind at the time but now it has me thinking... What if.....nope I'm not going there.. One thing I do know, if I'm back in the woods and a storm moves in, I'm going to get real nervous. Not fun being back there with lightning flying around anyway but falling trees......that there is some scary s***.

    Anyone else have a similar experience they'd like to share?

  2. #2
    mtbr member
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    Never anything as scary as a falling tree
    Just an occasional mountain lion blocking the trail, a few rattlesnake close calls tarantulas scorpions, and I chased a bobcat 2 nights ago, oh yah the wife and I were once chased by a pack of very hungry looking coyotes once at night I had a hard time getting her back into night riding after that., but nothing as terrifying as a falling tree.
    I think the scariest thing was when I was chased at night down a fire road by a bunch of drunk gangbangers but that's life in SO CAL
    I always type in bold cuz I'm blind as a bat
    For the Rich there is therapy!!!! for the rest of us we have Mountain Biking


  3. #3
    He be a moose too.
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    I was out riding a week ago and got caught in a very bad thunderstorm. Heavy rains washed the salt out of my helmet pads into my eyes. On a u-shaped turn, I heard a very loud crack and slowed down, panning my helmet light to try to figure out where the tree was coming down.

    I then saw the 15-18" diameter tree drop about fifteen feet in front of me. Good thing I slowed down! I had to ride a few more unpleasant minutes where I heard several more trees come down as well as numerous branches falling all over until I hit an opening where I could catch an access road back to the car.

    It was hard to see on the access road, so heavy was the rain and then when I got to the parking lot I was nearly blown over by the 50 mph winds. I was happy once I was in the car, that's for sure.

    The cracking of the tree was quite loud but I'm not sure if it answers the question of whether a tree falling in the woods without anyone there makes a noise.

  4. #4
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    The closest I ever came to "killer tree" was having a branch snag a helmet mounted NR halogen years ago. Wasn't sure what was going to break first, the branch, the light mount, or my neck. Since then I have been an advocate for mounting helmet lights low and forward.

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