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  1. #1
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    Please forgive my rant

    Had to work this Saturday. Just my lousy luck, beautiful weather, clear skies, full moon. Didn't get home till 12:30AM. Too late to do anything that night.

    Tonight was a different matter. Same great weather. I decide to drive a good 45 miles to a destination I don't often ride. ( state forest ). I get there and park outside the park so as to not draw attention to my car. Over the years it has been explained to me that the park rangers are only concerned about cars left in the parking area at night. With that in mind I park off site and ride in. Been a good number of years that I've had any encounters with park rangers using this method. Unfortunately tonight I was not so lucky.

    Tonight as I'm riding down the main entrance road I'm not more than 1500 ft. to the first trail head when I see a small car driving down the service road from the park. Soon as I saw the lights I had a bad feeling about the whole thing. Anyway, I continue on and then the car starts blinking their lights at me. I pull over knowing full well what is likely going to happen.

    Turns out it's a woman park ranger who was just leaving for the night. She reads me the riot act, "You're not suppose to be in the park after dark". To me this is all, "been there done that" so I know the drill. Unfortunately I ran into the female version of Dudley Do-Right. I tried to have a polite conversation but it was no use. Debbie Do-Right wasn't going to let me into the park and insisted that she was going to let her superiors know that a guy on a mountain bike was trying to ride the trails at night.....shhhhhhhhhsh.!! ( this is what happens when people take their jobs too seriously. )

    So things being as they were I had no choice but to comply. She followed me a good ways to make sure I was leaving. ( which I did ). A perfect night to ride ruined by some nit-wit rule pounding bi.... Tool. ( Thank God I don't work with people like that or I'd go f'n bonkers..)

    I considered just riding down the road and taking another way into the park ( which I could of done ) but decided not to. I was already getting a late start so I figured it best to bug out and leave. Besides no telling if the trail Nazis would be waiting for me when I returned to my car ( which might have been on the edge of park property...not sure ).

    Now I have to have a new strategy to gain entry to that particular park. What ever I do now I have to make sure I stay away from the main entrance. God I hate when sh** like this happens. If only I had arrived 2 minutes sooner I'd of been on a trail and out of sight Now I have to wait a good while before returning.

    I've already devised another plan but I'll have to wait a while before returning now. Sorry I can't divulge my new plan but I have to now take steps to make sure I don't draw attention for a good number of years. I guess this means I'm a no-good-night-time-trail-poaching SOB. I's hanging me head in shame... NOT!!!

    There is of course a lot more I could say on this subject but I have to keep some of my more negative thoughts off the forum. Let's just say if I could yell "FUDGE'N TRAIL NAZIS"! at the top of my lungs right now I would. ( although I wouldn't use the word Fudge ) Anyway, since I can't do that without waking up the neighbors I'll have to settle with pouring a couple Molsons into my hydration pack and taking the road bike for a spin.

  2. #2
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    ya I hear you, My local park and one down the the sets I ride all the time allow night riding. My local one is cause its city property, they know us, and know we arent going to cause any issues, were just adding things to draw people into the area (building trails). Same with the other one, its the city there that owns the land so they dont care either. County parks on the other hand....my favorite one is NO NOT AT ALL even if your camping in the park. Other 2 are "park recognized club outings only"

    Frustrating but what do you do. I wont poach for the simple fact of can cause issues with the parks, and the 2 I have are good enough for now. Hoping to get the rules a bit more open on the other 2 so I dont have to call the trail steward and con them into calling the park, hoping the park answers, to get the ok to ride. More of a "we have a badge in the window" (club stick on the back window, most of us do) so we're ok to go.

    Its finally getting to the point here where the weather is being cooperative so im taking the day off next friday to spend a 3 day weekend riding (had to work this weekend)

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by tigris99 View Post
    ...Frustrating but what do you do. I wont poach for the simple fact of can cause issues with the parks, and the 2 I have are good enough for now....
    Personally, I can't accept someone telling me I can't ride my bike on property designed and designated for public use simply because the sun is no longer shining. Apparently I'm not alone with this issue. Many people choose to recreate at night, it's just a fact.

    Not only is this true but the governments that control public land have already taken steps to provide places for people to recreate at night. Where I live I see numerous baseball, football, soccer, lacrosse, tennis...etc that are setup to allow people to play and recreate at night. To do this the powers that be have spent millions of dollars in land development, facilities, and high-intensity lighting, all paid for by the tax payer ( you and me ).

    The idiocy in all this is that in order to mountain bike at night the governments don't have to pay a dime in development. The land is already there. The trails are already there. The cyclist provide their own bikes and lighting. Even trail maintenance is provided by the cycling community to some degree. The problem is that no one seems to care. I figure it's because even though there are Mountain biking clubs and organizations, no one cares because most people who join clubs have day jobs and only want to ride day. The few who like to ride night only ride night when the days get shorter and are willing to let the club get permission for a group ride night.

    This means if you're a "lone rider" who want's to ride a mountain bike at night on public trails you have no one to represent you. You pay taxes to send other people's kids to school. You pay taxes for public transit which you don't use. If you live in Maryland you pay taxes so other people ( with day jobs ) can play baseball ( and other sports ) at night using lighting systems and facilities that use megawatts of power paid for by your taxes. Then when all is said and done the powers that be won't let you ride your bike at night even though other user groups have access to the same properties simply because they have representation and you ( the lone rider ) don't.

    This is not the American way. The people who claim to represent the cycling community turn a deaf ear when it comes to advocating for public night riding access. Sure they can organize the occasional night "club ride" but other than that they just don't have the grit to take the next step to advocate for "public night trail access". Need I say, night riding is becoming more and more popular with more and more 24hr and endurance events taking place every year. Sooner or later the laws will change. Sadly by the time it all changes I'll likely be too old to ride.

    In America we can put a black man in the White house ( and we have ). We can change laws so that a man can marry another man or a woman another woman and tell people who are of religious faith that their values are no longer significant. We can take a male Olympian, make him a woman and then tell everyone how wonderful it all is...BUT.. we can't let the the mountain bikers ride trails at night. Yes, frustrating to say the least. Where is the America I grew up with? Sometimes I have to wonder. Maybe I'm turning into Andy Rooney.

  4. #4
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    There have been at least 3 major multi million dollar lawsuits this year at state parks where I live - people during the middle of daylight who fall where they should have never been in the first place, their kids playing on handrails which are not designed to be played on and then get hurt, or just plain bad luck - all falls under the state's liability - or so these people would hope. Even if the state settles out of court, they are at least getting all their medical bills paid for.

    Now imagine this same liability for failing to enforce "park rules" or "park hours" - that Debbie Dogooder is barking orders at you because if you or one of your night riding buddies fall over and get hurt - what if someone sues - there goes the extra money for the season that allows her to have her job or her overtime hours..

    World is going to hell in a handbasket!

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    I'm happy to live in Sweden where we have a strong history with the "freedom to roam" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_to_roam#Sweden.

    But we don't have any strong trail culture at all. I'm a little bit jealous about the IMBA thing you have "over there" https://www.imba.com/model-trails/epics

  6. #6
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    Tualmbr explains the ENTIRE problem. The fact that people can sue the parks due to their own stupidity. Its the problem with most things. Can get sued for it.

    Fix the problem, make people responsible for their own actions. Except even here there is plenty of people that blame their lack of skills and crashing on everything except their own lack of skills.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by tualmbr View Post
    There have been at least 3 major multi million dollar lawsuits this year at state parks where I live - people during the middle of daylight who fall where they should have never been in the first place, their kids playing on handrails which are not designed to be played on and then get hurt, or just plain bad luck - all falls under the state's liability - or so these people would hope. Even if the state settles out of court, they are at least getting all their medical bills paid for.

    Now imagine this same liability for failing to enforce "park rules" or "park hours" - that Debbie Dogooder is barking orders at you because if you or one of your night riding buddies fall over and get hurt - what if someone sues - there goes the extra money for the season that allows her to have her job or her overtime hours..

    World is going to hell in a handbasket!
    Yep, the old , "Somebody is going to sue somebody argument". The weakest argument in the world because someone is ALWAYS going to sue someone over something. Doesn't matter what the reason. What matters is the people who are against "ANYTHING" will use this argument even though the same legal threats exist for every other sport or activity that is already allowed. It's just one of those flaws in our legal system that has yet to be fixed.

    Now about after sunset hours...the park in question allows camping. Believe me all kinds of things can happen in a campground. Kids are running around, the family pets are running around. People using gas stoves with little to no experience. All a recipe for crap to happen...and it does. There is hazard in life itself. It's just the way it is. Not a good idea to ban an activity unless it has been proven to be overly dangerous. From my point of view riding a bike on the road is more dangerous than mountain biking. Not to mention that riding a bike on a road ( day or night ) is legal almost everywhere. Yeah, I might fall and hurt myself on a MTB ( been there, done that ) but I won't be run over by a drunk driver while riding trails at night.

    Like I said before, the old park rule system is antiquated. If the powers that be wanted to they could issue special park passes to people who wanted more access to trails. You make the people sign a wavier, pay a fee and it's a done deal. Simple as pie. Debbie Do-right gets her raise because the park system brings in more money. Heck they might even offer her the chance to work O.T.

    The real problem is not the danger of mountain biking at night or the legal threats that exist. It's the system itself that doesn't want to change to accommodate the sport of night riding but only because not a lot of people are really into it. I hate saying that but it's true. Get enough people to want something and things change. That's why I get mad at the cycling advocates because they will strive to get things like "Pump tracks" in county parks ( tell me those aren't dangerous ) or get special permission for group rides ( for their friends and/or club members ) but they won't try to get something as simple as freedom to ride public trails " for everyone" beyond sunset. It just seems to be one of those things that is falling through a crack right now. Like I said before, one day it will all be legal and people will sit around and talk about the "old days" when nobody seemed to care about being able to ride trails at night.

    Maybe one of these days we will all get lucky and a dyed-in-the-wool night rider will win the Power ball lottery and be willing to throw millions of dollars into the legal fight to change the system. Someone throw me a winning lottery ticket and I'll gladly volunteer.

  8. #8
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    Cat im with you lol. My job kind of sticks me riding mostly after dark. My local trail is work in progress and for me its a climbing nightmare (big guy trying to get back in shape after several months of rarely able to ride due to elbow injury). The other option is almost an hour away from me. I am a member of the clubs in the area, maybe I can push to get something easier arranged. Who knows. I do wonder if more is opened though how many idiots trying to use WalMart lights are going to cause issues.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    ...the park in question allows camping. Believe me all kinds of things can happen in a campground. Kids are running around, the family pets are running around. People using gas stoves with little to no experience.
    You should have told Debbie Do-Right that your were just on the way back to your campsite where there was an unattended gas stove burning while several similarly unattended children and family pets were playing.

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    Cat - I'll assume you're talking about a state forest in MD - which is run by the Department of Natural Resources of MD - and they allow several activities "outside of park hours" such as hunting with a permit, boat launches, fishing... Have you called and talked with the park ranger at the specific location you're trying to ride at? By the looks of the DNR website - they leave quite a few things up to each specific location.

    Like you mention - if enough people show interest, the "policy" is likely to change - if you call and talk to the ranger - ask to meet face to face when the ranger has at least 30 minutes to discuss biking with you. Inquire about why that specific location doesn't allow biking after hours. Ask if they allow fishing, boat launches, hunting after hours. Be prepared with specific facts - how many people drowned and died last year compared to fell off their bike and died. Ask the ranger how many hunters have fallen, broken limbs, unsafely discharged their weapons - compared to the number of bikers who have done the same things, or rode unsafely, etc. Don't be afraid to ask for safety logs or incident logs - make it known that you're not going to give up, make them think about "which sport" actually causes the most trouble in their parks..

    Here is where I would start : Maryland Statewide Directory

    Of course, the 2 biggest reasons I would think of for not allowing after hours biking - 1 - You really have to have lighting to ride safely in the dark - and if too many riders are out there with lights - they eventually have to stop looking for poachers who are using lights for after hour illegal hunting. And 2 - Usage Fees - with the other sports you mention, there are typically trucks, boat trailers, tents, campers - etc - pretty easy to see if people have paid their park usage fee. With bikers - and even moreso at night - you're there 1-3 hours for a typical ride - you mention parking down the road and biking into the place - are bikers making a habit of paying the entry/usage fees or are they making a habit of not paying to use the trails? This could have a lot to do with their attitude too.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by arphaxhad View Post
    You should have told Debbie Do-Right that your were just on the way back to your campsite where there was an unattended gas stove burning while several similarly unattended children and family pets were playing.
    ( LMAO ) Actually, funny you should mention this because after last night I started thinking of all kinds of very convincing lies I could of said that would of invoked some very interesting responses. I can't tell you though what I came up with because some of the stuff is damn good! ( lol )...AND...I'm not about to let that CAt out of the bag.

    Sadly though I have no wish to lie ( although admittedly it is tempting ) . That's because by my very nature I'm not a liar and tend to abhor people who do that sort of thing. Even though if I were to lie I have a great imagination and the stuff I can think up could quite possibly work like a charm. Of course there is such a thing as a benign or "white lie" but truthfully I'm not good at telling those either.

    Quote Originally Posted by tualmbr View Post
    Cat - I'll assume you're talking about a state forest in MD - which is run by the Department of Natural Resources of MD - and they allow several activities "outside of park hours" such as hunting with a permit, boat launches, fishing... Have you called and talked with the park ranger at the specific location you're trying to ride at? By the looks of the DNR website - they leave quite a few things up to each specific location.

    Like you mention - if enough people show interest, the "policy" is likely to change - if you call and talk to the ranger - ask to meet face to face when the ranger has at least 30 minutes to discuss biking with you. Inquire about why that specific location doesn't allow biking after hours. Ask if they allow fishing, boat launches, hunting after hours. Be prepared with specific facts - how many people drowned and died last year compared to fell off their bike and died. Ask the ranger how many hunters have fallen, broken limbs, unsafely discharged their weapons - compared to the number of bikers who have done the same things, or rode unsafely, etc. Don't be afraid to ask for safety logs or incident logs - make it known that you're not going to give up, make them think about "which sport" actually causes the most trouble in their parks..

    Here is where I would start : Maryland Statewide Directory

    Of course, the 2 biggest reasons I would think of for not allowing after hours biking - 1 - You really have to have lighting to ride safely in the dark - and if too many riders are out there with lights - they eventually have to stop looking for poachers who are using lights for after hour illegal hunting. And 2 - Usage Fees - with the other sports you mention, there are typically trucks, boat trailers, tents, campers - etc - pretty easy to see if people have paid their park usage fee. With bikers - and even moreso at night - you're there 1-3 hours for a typical ride - you mention parking down the road and biking into the place - are bikers making a habit of paying the entry/usage fees or are they making a habit of not paying to use the trails? This could have a lot to do with their attitude too.
    You mention a lot of issues here, too many for me to comment on but I will say that I have talked to some of the park rangers and many of them see no reason why biking on trails at night can't be allowed. That said it's their job to enforce the park policies whether they agree with them on not.

    This brings to thought an encounter I had with a DNR ranger one night some years ago when I came popping out of the woods and found him sitting in his car doing paper work. ( I was like, OH Crap! ). ..Of course he called me over and told me I wasn't suppose to be riding at night. Then I started talking with him ( very openly ) and starting telling him how the game poachers see me coming and start to run. I also recounted to him the numerous times I saw ATV'ers riding the trails ( some of those are illegal hunters as well ) and how they run when they see me coming. I told him they must think I'm a park ranger. When I told him this a look came across his face that said to me, "Gee, I never thought of that". Heck, I'm just out riding trails for fun and exercise. I've even chased off kids starting fires back in the woods and I never said a word to them. I figure they see a guy on a bike with big lights coming and think to themselves, "Maybe this isn't such a great idea, maybe I should leave".

    Many of the parks I ride at charge usage fees. Those fees however only apply to people who are using the park facilities. Trails are not considered "facilities" or so I have been told. Therefore if they walk or ride into the park you don't have to pay for entry. I'm told that is the official policy.

    This doesn't mean I don't pay fees or have never paid fees. I would be more than happy to pay a reasonable fee to be able to ride at night but standard policy is that you can't park or be in the parks after sunset. Usually though, the people who work for the parks are pretty understanding if you get back to your car after dark. Believe me, bikers are not the only user group using the park at night.

    Maryland's DNR is a pretty large organization. The local MTB advocacy group deals with them on a regular basis and also has a couple DNR people who are also members in good standing with the MTB advocacy community. Still the power they have is very limited as they can't change park policy. At best they are "good will" liaisons between the MTB'ers and the park service management.

    I still remember some of the early encounters I've had with a few of the DNR officers. Oh the stories I could tell! Some would make you wonder how some of these people ever got their jobs but most of the officers who work in the parks are likely very nice people who are more than willing to lend advice in helping someone try to get changes made in park policy.

    Regardless, trying to get changes to park policy is almost impossible unless you are able to show there is a BIG demand for the change. Oh how I wish that wasn't so. Actually I've thought about writing the Governor's office about the issue but right now the Governor is battling cancer so I'm not going to bother him in his time of troubles with such a trivial matter.

  12. #12
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    Well I do recall you mentioning other night riders you've encountered. Try to encounter and talk to them, may give you a few more voices or even signatures on a letter to the dnr about opening up night riding. Bring the things to their attention that night riding is good for deterring illegal activities things like that. Doesn't take a huge number, a hand full of ppl (even a couple) making a good case can be enough. Especially if you show having the best interest of the parks in mind as well.

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    Which forest is it Cat? I'll call some people!

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    Quote Originally Posted by tualmbr View Post
    Which forest is it Cat? I'll call some people!
    Due to the nature of the incident I can't give out that information. I wish to remain anonymous at this time to the DNR. This is not to say that in the past an effort was not made by others within the local MTB advocacy to obtain permission to ride at night at the location in question. Sadly the best they are able to come up with is "sanctioned group night rides". Personally I don't do group rides so none of that means anything to me other than the local MTB advocacy caved in and took a compromised solution. Sadly I cannot agree with any such compromise. To me it is an insult to imply that I need someone to chaperone me while I do a bike ride.

    I will also add that I've tried in the past to invoke others ( locally ) to fight the system but no one at the time seemed to be remotely interested. Like I said before most people with day jobs aren't going to make riding a MTB at night a major priority. They do the occasionally sanctioned group night ride and they're happy.

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    Cat - I have called at least 8 different phone numbers for rangers, assistants, general info, even the superintendent - NOBODY ANSWERS their phone in Maryland!!

    If you want to PM me which location you want to see the change at - I'll try to bug the staff at that particular location and keep you anonymous.

    It will be interesting to see what can happen...

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    Interesting topic to me... The first question: do you have any wild forests left in the US? I mean, if particular park's rules aren't suitable to you, why not to exclude it from your routes, and ride in other places not governed by such authorities? Just curious...

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    Everything here is owned by someone or a govt. entity. Whether its city, county, state, or federal. If its not owned by a person or company, the government owns it.



    Problem is our country is so full of idiots that can't manage to have any form of common sense or respect for anything, everywhere and everything has rules. Then add in all the groups of people that complain about whatever it is they believe while being hypocritical at the same time. Freedom here went from a great thing to the great illusion over the last several decades.

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    But, but, but..... What about this?

    O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

    Perhaps you could just recite specific lines from our national anthem right to the park ranger's face. That should do it!

    Funny this subject bugs me badly. I get really angry thinking about it and the stupidity of it all.

    Everyone is spot on this thread.

    This past Thursday I had an incident myself.

    Oh the dumb people and rules in this country.

    F 'em. Out of spite, I might just do all my riding at night instead now.
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    Sad to hear that. Here in Estonia, forests mostly belong to the state, managed by special institution, and freely available to the public at any time. I just can't imagine some officer coming to me and saying something like "Do not ride here!"...

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    All you have to do Archie is go check out the trail building and advocacy sub forum. Will see what stupidity we deal with.

    That said there are alot of "parks" that are "national parks" (federal govt owned) that the rules are much less irritating and more freedom to enjoy. But the areas are so vast anyway, the money and man power to police it would take that equal to a standing army. Most of our problems come from local governments (our govt has more layers than an onion). County and state levels and their insane levels of rules and regulations. City governments seem to be much more "open" to new things. The 2 parks I can ride anytime the trails are open (not too wet so use ruines the trail surface) are both owned by the city they are located in. My local trail we were flat out told is our "play ground". City owns it but as long as things dont get out of hand we are free do build and use as we wish. Just can't enter the main park after dark via normal entrance, we have park boundary access points thanks to the equestrian club that we share the trails with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thickfog View Post
    But, but, but..... What about this?

    O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

    Perhaps you could just recite specific lines from our national anthem right to the park ranger's face. That should do it!

    Funny this subject bugs me badly. I get really angry thinking about it and the stupidity of it all.

    Everyone is spot on this thread.

    This past Thursday I had an incident myself.

    Oh the dumb people and rules in this country.

    F 'em. Out of spite, I might just do all my riding at night instead now.
    When I told the ( women officer ) that I wasn't going to argue further and that I would just leave ( after I spoke my opinion on the matter ), she acted like my whole opinion on the matter was utter sacrilege to "Her" way of thinking. Personally, while I might be the type of person to buck against the status quo on occasion I deviate very little from most standards of social conformity. Since she was a women and a person in authority I felt compelled to honor and respect her and her authority. Still, no rule says you can't question authority once in a while as long as you're civil about it. I was being truthful and civil although no doubt I had the look of irritation on my face. Totally understandable considering the circumstance I was in.

    That said it was her attitude toward me that bothered me the most. When she started telling me that she was going tell her superiors "Everything I said" and report the whole incident ( like it was all some big deal ) I found that utterly childish. Then when she followed me out of the park ( which was proper though I didn't like it ) she took it a step further and followed me down another road once I left the main park road. I found all of this rather insulting because when I tell someone I'm going to do something I do it, whether I want to or not. I didn't need the escort. Now if I had been rude, impolite or had indicated I wasn't going to comply with her orders I could of understood her reaction.

    Now I don't know why this is but almost every encounter I've had with female Maryland DNR Park rangers has been VERY negative. The male park rangers on the other hand just tell you ( and enforce ) the rules but are otherwise very sympathetic to your plight and are very polite. In some cases they almost sound as though they are sorry they have to turn you away... And THAT, need I say, is a very important difference when it comes to any job that involves interfacing with the public. When you have a job that involves enforcing rules or laws that are very minor you have to understand that some people are not going to be happy when they are being told to comply with those rules. Okay to be stern but you don't have to act like your correcting a misbehaving child ( although I'm sure that happens too ). In that kind of job you have to give respect to people, even when they break the rules. You give respect you get respect. I gave respect but I didn't get any in return and that my friend was enough to get my goat.
    Last edited by Cat-man-do; 08-12-2015 at 12:46 PM. Reason: grammer

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    Respect for respect. Im a little different, if ive given no reason to be treated in that way and been nothing but respectful, I get a "screw your authority, my taxes pay your paycheck" type attitude at which point I would have bolted onto trail access shortly after she started following me, just to prove my point. Then used a near by location to exit back out and head to my car, and pull the "I didn't know it was a ranger, I panicked and took off to be safe" card just to piss them off. But at that point not a thing they could do besides lecture me.

    Probably not best option but I've done it with unmarked police cars and such, they get pissed but even a judge says "you had no way of being identified by the accused, so he was in his rights to flee", case dimissed

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    Chocolates and flowers to soften her up, then ask her out to a movie.

    While shes waiting for you to show up at the theatre you can go riding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tigris99 View Post
    Respect for respect. Im a little different, if ive given no reason to be treated in that way and been nothing but respectful, I get a "screw your authority, my taxes pay your paycheck" type attitude at which point I would have bolted onto trail access shortly after she started following me, just to prove my point. Then used a near by location to exit back out and head to my car, and pull the "I didn't know it was a ranger, I panicked and took off to be safe" card just to piss them off. But at that point not a thing they could do besides lecture me.

    Probably not best option but I've done it with unmarked police cars and such, they get pissed but even a judge says "you had no way of being identified by the accused, so he was in his rights to flee", case dimissed
    Yep, I could of done the same thing. First when I saw the car stop to wave me over I could of took off and been on the trails before she even had a chance to turn the car around. Of course that might have caused a number of problems that I can't go into. I could have gotten away with it too because she was in an unmarked car. While I doubt she would of attempted to hunt me down ( a possibility ) I would have been riding the whole time and wondering if a car would be waiting for me at a trail juncture or at my car when I returned.. which would of course been in the back of my mind and have ruined the fun of the whole ride.

    I already have plans for stealth entry for most places I ride. Exiting, I'm not too worried about. Looks like I have to come up with some new ideas for the park in question. The previous plan ( B ) was a little too bold. Then again if I'd not of shown up so late I wouldn't of been caught. Now I have to go back to previous plan A as plan B had too low a stealth entry factor. My fault, I should of figured all the possible scenarios. Working on a new plan ( C ) but I need to scout out some stuff to see how it will work out. Next time I go there I need to track all my movements with my GPS app so I know my options better. It'll be a while before I go back there though.

    Last year I scouted out some stuff I found on Google map/satellite close to the same area. Using my GPS app I tried following what should have been a remote back road but ended up going through woods and forest all grown up leaving just a small trail. Ended up crossing over barbed wire fences with No Trespassing signs all over the place...Geez was I over my head!. Won't go there again and just goes to show Google ain't right about everything!

    I also scouted out other stuff near there that is linked with some kind of industrial area. I checked it out at night once but the place is super spooky! Would make a great exit point if I can handle the spook factor. Never know what I may find in an area like that at night. All I know was that I could hear gun shots in the distance so the locals might be out target practicing or whatever. Not really what I want as an exit point but it is a super cool area ( so long as I don't see anyone or have anyone shoot at me ).

    @znomit > Is that the peanut gallery from down-under I hear in the back ground?

    In honor to all people who tolerate and hate all the stupid "no night riding " rules or signs I offer up an old song from my days of youth. The song is called "Signs". Came out in the seventies so bare with me. Interestingly though that some of same petty rule systems that were in place back then are still in place today. You can now marry someone of the same sex but you still can't ride state parks at night. What a wonderful world we live in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    In honor to all people who tolerate and hate all the stupid "no night riding " rules or signs I offer up an old song from my days of youth. The song is called "Signs".
    Seems to perfectly fit this topic!

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    Interesting story. I will play Devil’s Advocate and say this – what do you expect her to do? It’s her job and she did it. You don’t have to like the rules but they are what they are. It’s like folks complaining when they get a speeding ticket…you were speeding (and likely knew it)…you got a ticket…not really anything to argue about. I will tell you about our situation here. We have a state park that is v. popular for riding and fun to ride at night. It’s illegal to ride at night unless you are staying in the park (camping) and considered trespassing. I am not above admitting that I used to sneak in and ride during the winter. This is a safety issue (as the park explained it) due to the fact that they won’t know who is there if you sneak in and if something happened..well you know how that goes. The volunteer group here that works to maintain the trails at the park worked with the park to get nigh-riding access. We got it. During the low-light months, you can ride 2 days a week and just follow some simple rules such as helmet, backup lights, no solo riding, only riding on the designated trails (not all of them), be out by a certain time, park in a certain place, and fill out a form that you leave on the dashboard of your car letting the rangers know who you are and who to contact. Simple. Works. Everyone is happy and I have a feeling we will get more access this year b/c of the good behavior exhibited by folks last year with this new program. We had some guided night rides in the past (had to be pre-arranged with the park through the vol trail group and have a leader) but this new system ("self-guided" night mountain biker is what they call it) is much better. Just something to think about.

    Edit. Riding illegally (no matter what your feeling on this) is a sure-fire way to limit any future legal riding.
    Last edited by TiGeo; 08-11-2015 at 12:01 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiGeo View Post
    Interesting story. I will play Devil’s Advocate and say this – what do you expect her to do? It’s her job and she did it. You don’t have to like the rules but they are what they are. It’s like folks complaining when they get a speeding ticket…you were speeding (and likely knew it)…you got a ticket…not really anything to argue about. I will tell you about our situation here. We have a state park that is v. popular for riding and fun to ride at night. It’s illegal to ride at night unless you are staying in the park (camping) and considered trespassing. I am not above admitting that I used to sneak in and ride during the winter. This is a safety issue (as the park explained it) due to the fact that they won’t know who is there if you sneak in and if something happened..well you know how that goes. The volunteer group here that works to maintain the trails at the park worked with the park to get nigh-riding access. We got it. During the low-light months, you can ride 2 days a week and just follow some simple rules such as helmet, backup lights, no solo riding, only riding on the designated trails (not all of them), be out by a certain time, park in a certain place, and fill out a form that you leave on the dashboard of your car letting the rangers know who you are and who to contact. Simple. Works. Everyone is happy and I have a feeling we will get more access this year b/c of the good behavior exhibited by folks last year with this new program. We had some guided night rides in the past (had to be pre-arranged with the park through the vol trail group and have a leader) but this new system ("self-guided" night mountain biker is what they call it) is much better. Just something to think about.
    Well, I thought I addressed most of the issues you mentioned but I'll do it again FWIW. I will address each highlighted item one at a time:

    1) I don't blame anyone for doing their job. Regardless it's not just about doing a job it's about common courtesy in doing that job. Real important when you have a job that interfaces with the public. I talked about this before, maybe you didn't read it.

    2) Ah yes, the ol', "It's not safe to ride at night argument". If this were true and a valid reason not to do something at night, people would not be allowed to drive motorized vehicles at night because , "It would be deemed too dangerous to do so". That said, strange as it may be I can ride my bike on the road at night and do so legally. The kicker in all this is that in my opinion if I ride on the road at night I'm in more potential danger than if I ride trails at night. If I ride trails at night no one is going to run me down in a tractor trailer or go flying 3ft. from my bike at highway speeds driving 2 tons of metal. Nor will I face the potential fatal encounter with the drunk driver. Nope, while mountain biking can be looked at as a sport with the potential for danger, that potential danger exists both in the daylight and at night. Heck, for that matter all of my own bad accidents happened in the day, go figure. I see no reason to draw a line in the sand and say one is more dangerous than the other so long as you have the right equipment and rider skill level....( pause ), I'm smiling now because I just realized that at some ski resorts you can ride at night. DAMN! if that ain't dangerous what is?! ( Oh, I forgot that's on private land so that doesn't count...my bad. )

    Anyway, summing up; I feel I'm safer riding at night than during the day but that's just my personal opinion based on my own experiences and night riding habits. I had a park ranger tell me once that if I had a bad accident back in the woods at night that no one would find me if I were to be rendered unconscious. At the time I was being reprimanded for being in the park at night so I didn't have the heart to tell him that even in the day I have ridden entire rides and not seen a soul the whole time. Because he was being polite I zipped my tongue and just let him talk. Like you said, they are just doing their job. Doing the job and being respectful always earns my respect in return.

    Now about the "speeding in a car and getting a ticket thing"...Man, I could talk on that subject for hours because I drive for a living so I'll not bore anyone with my comments on that subject...but the stories I could tell.
    For the record though in 40 yrs. of professional driving ( plus my own driving on my own time ), I've only had two speeding tickets that I can recall. One was earned ( aged 21 ) but one was BS ( on an army base )...and so it goes. Like I said before I'm generally pretty good at following rules but as things go in life I guess there is always going to be some exceptions...Do I hear an Amen?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TiGeo View Post
    "It’s illegal to ride at night unless you are staying in the park (camping) and considered trespassing."
    Just for clarification - the way you constructed this sentence would make it sound like it is legal to ride at night if you're a camper staying in the park?

    I will assume you mis-constructed your sentence since it doesn't appear to be legal to ride at night, regardless of your camping/trespassing status.

    However, if being a camper allows you the right to ride at night - why not just pay for a camp sight on the nights that you want to ride? Last time I went camping, the fee for a no-hookup tent site was dirt cheap - some parks even have a communal tent area that is cheaper than dirt cheap.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tualmbr View Post
    Just for clarification - the way you constructed this sentence would make it sound like it is legal to ride at night if you're a camper staying in the park?

    I will assume you mis-constructed your sentence since it doesn't appear to be legal to ride at night, regardless of your camping/trespassing status.

    However, if being a camper allows you the right to ride at night - why not just pay for a camp sight on the nights that you want to ride? Last time I went camping, the fee for a no-hookup tent site was dirt cheap - some parks even have a communal tent area that is cheaper than dirt cheap.
    You read it correctly - if you are staying, it is my understanding that you can night ride - again..this is because they know you are there vs. coming in at night without anyone knowing. Sure, my buddies and I have discussed getting a site for a few nights just to night ride but now, you can do it legally if you are a little flexible.
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    Cat -so you are mostly annoyed with her attitude - fair enough. But then again, do you want to get an earful (no matter how polite) from someone that is doing something they shouldn't be and your job is to keep that from happening? Again..just playing Devil's advocate on this. I would have just said "sure thing" and rode off without another word happy I didn't get tazed. But that' just me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiGeo View Post
    Cat -so you are mostly annoyed with her attitude - fair enough. But then again, do you want to get an earful (no matter how polite) from someone that is doing something they shouldn't be and your job is to keep that from happening? Again..just playing Devil's advocate on this. I would have just said "sure thing" and rode off without another word happy I didn't get tazed. But that' just me.
    I just looked the camping fees in Virginia ( Where you live TiGeo, yes? ) - from $11-30 at most of the state parks. I would pay $11 to go on a night bike ride "legally".

    I just don't know how camping there for the night makes the night riding any safer than coming/going.

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    Yep...in VA. It's cheap and I have an annual parking pass that gets me a discount. Again...with the new deal...I can ride a few days a week without the big group which by the way I don't typically care for either. We have a v. active FB page for our MTB community and its easy to find folks to meet and rise with at whatever speed you want.

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    Last edited by TiGeo; 08-12-2015 at 03:46 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiGeo View Post
    Cat -so you are mostly annoyed with her attitude - fair enough. But then again, do you want to get an earful (no matter how polite) from someone that is doing something they shouldn't be and your job is to keep that from happening? Again..just playing Devil's advocate on this. I would have just said "sure thing" and rode off without another word happy I didn't get tazed. But that' just me.
    I'm assuming you mean that if I were a park ranger would I enjoy having to tell someone that they were breaking park rules. ( ? ) Well, that depends on what the person or persons are doing. That said, it's part of the job of being a park ranger and with minor issues I wouldn't think it should be considered a major inconvenience to the ranger unless the people or person is being very obnoxious or threatening. Now if the person being corrected is being crass and threatening that of course is quite a different thing. In this case all I did was basically answer questions that were given me by the officer. I was being as civil as possible under the circumstance. I did state that I didn't think it was right to not allow riding at night but that was just me trying to justify my presence and maybe earn a little sympathy.

    The conversation between us was short but only because I figured out very quickly I was dealing with someone who was either a complete newbee to the job or just completely naive ( or anti-biker ) when it came to the sport of mountain biking. There was no reason for the officer to react the way she did but of course that is just my opinion. I understood I had to leave. That doesn't mean I can't try to state my point of view and have ( what I thought to be ) a meaningful conversation with someone that works for the park service. I wasn't so much irritated that I was being told to leave ( I pretty much expected that ) as I was by the way she reacted to my presence and what I had to say. I was the one to cut the conversation because I could see it was going nowhere.

    I forgot to mention before ( I think ) that she asked me ( during the encounter ) if I was "the guy" that had come into the park earlier and asked if he could ride trails at night. I told her no that it wasn't me and that I was just arriving. I don't know why but she asked me the question twice ( which I found strange ) She didn't say but maybe her attitude had something to do with that previous encounter. Whatever, water under the bridge now.

    I will add that I've had much worse encounters with park rangers so this one was pretty much nothing in comparison. Oh the stories I could tell.. Anyway, time for this thread to die.

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    Night riding; More thoughts and a new Conclusion

    This week I've done some deep thinking on the subject of riding trails at night. I've been mountain biking for almost twenty years and night riding for about 17 of those. A lot has changed in those years. During those years mountain bikes themselves have changed in so many ways I don't think I could list them all. My first lamps were basically plastic flashlights with a bar mount and were only for basic road use. Then along came the first higher powered halogen lamps and that's when people started talking about riding bikes at night. Quickly it was learned that the local state ( Maryland ) parks had curfews after dark. That said enforcement of those rules were generally lax because no one really wanted to be back in the woods at night anyway..but then things slowly began to change.

    Halogen lamps ruled for a good number of years and during those years I began to hear of other people on the local forums recount their experiences while riding trails at night. This told me that I wasn't the only one to enjoy riding at night or to ignore the rules. Regardless, night riding on trails was still illegal at the local parks. During those years I had many run-ins with the park rangers and from what I heard I wasn't the only one. Still, very rarely did I ever see anyone riding trails at night.

    Currently night riding and night riding cycling events have helped change public awareness of the availability of cycling at night as a viable option to riding in the day. With the newer LED lighting systems a person can safely ride half a night or more without running out of power. The sad part is that during the 17 yrs. that mountain bikes and mountain bike lights have evolved the Maryland state park system has failed to upgrade their rules for using trails at night. This of course begs the question, "Why"?

    Well, as I see it, it's basically a numbers game. The hard fact is that not many people really want to ride at night and the ones that do know there are rules against it and therefore either write it all off or buck the system and ride illegal. That means that the ones that ignore the rules and ride anyway are looked at as outlaws or oddballs. I find that sad to say the least.

    Just the other day I started to imagine what it would be like if indeed riding at night were legal in the state parks. Right away word would get around and soon there would be more organized rides and more people opting to ride at night. Some local forums or clubs would probably offer internet sites designed to monitor riders who chose to ride at night alone. With current GPS technology and the fact that almost everyone has a smartphone ( or so it seems ), safety factors could be raised to new highs. Not to mention that ATV'ers and poachers would just have to go elsewhere if the area were heavily used by mountain bikers at night.

    No doubt the state would also realize the potential for revenue and begin to set new rules and regulations. They could offer "night riding passes" that could be renewed annually. They might even offer GPS locators at some point to people who couldn't afford their own. With all the new technology out there the sky's the limit. It just needs to be realized by the powers that be.

    So what "IF" one day it all changes, will I be happy? That's a good question. I like the quietness of the trails when I ride at night. If tomorrow it were all legal I'm not sure I would enjoy riding as much at night as I do now because likely I would see more people, especially on summer weekends. Odd that I never really thought it all out before. Yep, if it all changed tomorrow it would take me a good while getting used to seeing trail runners, dog walkers and groups of people at night on trails and of course people going the opposite direction with bright lights.

    Well, I don't think I have to worry about it too much because the chances of the Maryland state parks changing their rules is in the same league as the likelihood as Hell itself freezing over. In the mean time if I happen to see a park ranger while riding I'll just ask them before they can say a word and say, "Has Hell froze over yet"? Then when they ask me why I asked that question I'll smile and say, "Well if you said it had I knew I'd be able to ride at night". "Since it hasn't, I guess that means I have to leave"...."Have a nice day".
    Last edited by Cat-man-do; 08-16-2015 at 02:09 PM.

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    ^^^I too have fond memories of the "old days". I got my first lights in ~1995 (Vista Lites) and these were a nice setup for the day, cost me $250 or so. They worked great and I had no issues riding fast at night with these. Night riding was starting to get popular due to the endurance races of the day - 24 Hours of Canaan which I did two years in a row with those lights (1996-1997). Good memories!

    I really think you should try the route we did here and work with the park to get the ability to night ride without large organized groups. Have you contacted them to see if this is an option?
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiGeo View Post
    ^^^I too have fond memories of the "old days". I got my first lights in ~1995 (Vista Lites) and these were a nice setup for the day, cost me $250 or so. They worked great and I had no issues riding fast at night with these. Night riding was starting to get popular due to the endurance races of the day - 24 Hours of Canaan which I did two years in a row with those lights (1996-1997). Good memories!...
    You were likely using the second generation Vistalites. If my memory serves me those were pretty nice and used something like "stick batteries". My first halogen lamp was a first generation Vistalite that looked something like a periscope flashlight. I believe it had a ten watt bulb in it but not the MR11 type. Unfortunately it was using a NiCad battery pack and the NiCad's stopped holding a decent charge after just one season. My next lamp was a Performance Viewpoint that was a Marwi clone using the standard MR11 halogen 10 watt bulbs. It used 4-cell NiMh batteries. The NiMh batteries tended to last at least 2 seasons before losing major capacity.

    Not soon after I bought the Viewpoint I bought a Niterider 10 watt for the helmet and I was then in business for major night riding. Of course back in those days you could only ride for about 2 hours before the batteries would peter out. Still if you only used the helmet lamp as needed you had longer run times.

    I never moved up to HID when they came out but only because they were asking so much money for them. A couple years after that good LED lighting sets began to appear along with newer Li-ion batteries that were lighter weight than the old NiMh, had almost no self discharge and had more capacity than standard NiMh. Not to mention that LED lamps were the first lamps to actually use adjustable modes. For me that was the biggest advantage for switching to LED.

    I believe DiNotte was the first to offer a 600 lumen bike lamp using Li-ion batteries and yes I bought one of those as soon as I had the $400. Not long after that the S. Koreans began to market the first 600 lumen single emitter, the SSC P-7. The Year after that Cree entered the market place and offered the MC-E emitter. After that things just got better. A year after I bought my DiNotte 600L the Chinese began selling the P-7 in torches using 18650 Li-ion cells for about $25 a pop. Then not long after Magicshine offered the MJ-808 with 3-modes using the P-7 emitter and 4 x 18650 batteries for about $75. After that things got really competitive in the LED lamp market. Hard to believe now that we use to pay $400 for a 600 lumen LED lamp. That's the thing about the electronics industry. When products are new they draw a premium price. Then everyone starts making and selling like products and the prices drop like a rock. Amen to that. All that stuff, flat screen TV's, Smart phones, Computers...I couldn't afford that stuff until the prices dropped. ~ ~

    Quote Originally Posted by TiGeo View Post
    ...I really think you should try the route we did here and work with the park to get the ability to night ride without large organized groups. Have you contacted them to see if this is an option?
    TigGeo, in Va. it is much easier to get things like that done. Maryland is governed very differently because of the higher population density no doubt and the size of the over-seeing ( highly bureaucratic ) land manager, The Maryland Dept of Natural Resources. Matter of fact I'd be totally surprised if I went anywhere in Va. and was told I couldn't ride night ( unless it was private land ). The same goes for Pennsylvania.

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    Yes, I had the second gen lights and not the periscope type which I remember b/c one of the guys I rode with had them and they used lead-acid batteries. Mine were not the stick-type, but the larger pouches. They had the curly phone type cords. I ran a 10w/15w on the bar and a 10w on the helmet. Plenty of light. Mine actually were useable for ~10 years before one of the batteries wouldn't hold a charge. I too skipped the HID lights and went right to LEDs about 3 years ago with the SSC P-7 MS 808s...great lights. Now on Gemini's as my primary and loving them.

    Are there any trail advocacy groups that you can join/are a member of that can take this up with the state folks?
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiGeo View Post
    Yes, I had the second gen lights and not the periscope type which I remember b/c one of the guys I rode with had them and they used lead-acid batteries. Mine were not the stick-type, but the larger pouches. They had the curly phone type cords. I ran a 10w/15w on the bar and a 10w on the helmet. Plenty of light. Mine actually were useable for ~10 years before one of the batteries wouldn't hold a charge. I too skipped the HID lights and went right to LEDs about 3 years ago with the SSC P-7 MS 808s...great lights. Now on Gemini's as my primary and loving them.

    Are there any trail advocacy groups that you can join/are a member of that can take this up with the state folks?
    I still have an old Vistalite battery pouch kicking around somewhere.

    ...Are there any trail advocacy groups that you can join/are a member of that can take this up with the state folks?
    There are local Trail advocacy groups but they have kind'a made it clear to me that that no one among them is interested in what I want. They tell me that if I want unconditional night riding that "I" have to be the one to step up. Well, I don't have time for that kind of stuff and more importantly I don't have a constituency to represent. The only way to get changes made in government rules is with potential voters who happen to think the same way. Since I seem to be the only one ( that I know locally ) interested in my area I have no power base. The voice of one crying in the wilderness is not going to get much done unless someone listens. With government entities one voice is not going to get much done.

    Anyway, If you can't get no love among fellow cyclists in your region where else can a person go? Things being as they are I've decided it best to drop the issue and just continue doing what I've been doing for the past 17 years. The local Advocacy groups will continue doing the same stuff they've done for years and since they represent more people I suppose it makes more sense to give them what "They" want.

    What bothers me the most is that the people who associate with the local advocacy groups seem to all mouth the same rhetoric as the DNR. Even when I speak up to voice opposition to the BS they spout it is ignored, no matter how good an argument I may make. When I talk to them it's as though I'm talking to the DNR people. It's gotten to the point where I'm more tired of listening to the BS coming from the local cycling advocacy because it's like they've been totally brain washed by the DNR or are simply unwilling to acknowledge that what they've been listening to all these years from the DNR is complete BS.

    I could go on and list all the stupid arguments they give one by one and shoot each one down one at a time and still no one would listen. Why....because they either don't want to mess with the status quo or they DON'T RIDE AT NIGHT and don't really care or understand what issues are real and which are complete BS. Regardless, they spout the same BS as the DNR when it comes to unsupported riding at night so I figure why bother. Yeah, I'm sure there are others like me that want to ride at night unsupported but like me they probably already figured out that not too many people ( even among cyclists ) are really going to take their side.

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    I think the key is that you have to start small...you won't have unconditional but if you could get one a week...its better than none a week! Good luck and I hope you guys can work it out like our group did (which by the way I take no credit for helping with...just happy that they are here for us!).
    Geologist by trade...bicycle mechanic (former) by the grace of God!

    2018 Niner RKT 9 RDO - enduro AF

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiGeo View Post
    I think the key is that you have to start small...you won't have unconditional but if you could get one a week...its better than none a week! Good luck and I hope you guys can work it out like our group did (which by the way I take no credit for helping with...just happy that they are here for us!).
    Like I said before I'm not saying there can't be guide lines for riding at night. I'm not demanding "unconditional" night riding, just better rules. Give me access three hours after sunset and I'm fine. There could be more limitations during the week ( perhaps two or three days only ) but weekends and holidays you want to ride. That way I can watch my football games in the afternoon and still get a ride in. Damn shame to have to choose to ride or miss my game ( sorry , no I don't own a Video recorder. )

    Now about my encounter with the female ranger; Don't know why I forgot to mention this before but when I had chance to rethink some things I remembered something very important. When I was approaching her car she high beamed me. I was momentarily blinded when that happened and started to weave a bit. At the time I was only running minimal light ( ~100 lumen ) so my eyes were very much attuned to the dark. Eventually I had to hold my hand up to block the light so I could see where I was going. The car had very bright high beams. Seeing that I drive for a living I run into vehicles with high beams once in a while so I would have to say that her lamps were very, very bright. Brighter than average beyond a doubt. Then again I was no more than a couple hundred feet away so perhaps that was just how it seemed at the time. Eventually she figured out she was blinding me and turned them down. I was not happy about this but I never said anything about it while we spoke. If there was a look of disgust on my face it was there for good reason. That's because ( The Golden rule ) YOU NEVER HIGH BEAM A CYCLIST BECAUSE DOING SO COULD CAUSE THEM TO CRASH. I would think most idiots with a drivers license would know this but apparently I'm wrong about that.
    Last edited by Cat-man-do; 08-22-2015 at 08:14 PM. Reason: stupid word misspells.

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