The "Unusual" night bike ride- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    The "Unusual" night bike ride

    Managed to get my second night MTB ride in of the year today only this time things got strange. Actually this was more of a, "start while still daylight" ride. I still brought the PR-1200 along with my Convoy M1 for helmet duties. Trails were once again buff, firm and a joy to ride. Very strange to see such nice conditions this early in the year. Been a while since I started a ride in the day. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Very nice watching the sun go down while riding in the woods.

    Anyway as I'm about 3/4 of the way through my ride I stopped after climbing a short steep to catch my breath. It was almost dark now and I had just turned on my lights. As I was looking around I happened to notice what looked like a number of fires back in the woods and across the river valley from where I was resting. My first thought was that perhaps these were from people camping, maybe boy scouts or something like that. Then I realized that the fires were very close to a section of Railroad tracks. No one would setup a camp site that close to railroad track. Finally I called out across the way to see if any one was over there. I was maybe 1000ft. from where the fires were so I figured I was close enough that someone might hear me if there was someone over there. No answer.

    Only one other option now as I saw it. Must be a brush fire and with conditions as dry as they have been I realized it could be trouble if something wasn't done about it. By this time it was getting more dark. I decided to call 911. Very strange reporting a brush fire when you are in a secluded wooded park area. Luckily I was within cell range. After being switched over from one county 911 to another I finally got a chance to speak with someone who was going to respond. Thankfully my smart phone has map apps and that helped me tell the fireman just where the fire was. They did not waste any time. I knew I was just 20 minutes or so from where the trucks were sitting so I jumped on my trusty steed and 15 minutes later I was talking with the fire crew and describing ( and showing on my map ) just where the fire was.

    Likely the fire was started by a passing train. I'm sure I've seen sparks flying off of train wheels before so that's no surprise. Interestingly, one of the fire crew told me that they get reports of fires along those tracks all the time. Well....I guess you can now call me "Fireman Cat". My civic duty has been done and my "Fire-Cat" merit badge well earned ( Wouldn't ya know, my bike is "Fire-engine" Red. )

    I couldn't help but think afterwards, "Gee, I sure hope the fire crew in their little 4x4 got in touch with CSX before juking on down the railroad tracks. Trains come through that area all the time. Then again I suppose they already know about that if they handled fires in that area before.

  2. #2
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    Thats an interesting one. And truly those can spread rapidly when its dry, could have saved the area, maybe a life. Never know.

    I just got my first night ride of the season (cant say of the year since I went out a couple times in the frigid cold) and man it was nice to do again.

    Be safe out there, may not be the first fire to worry about if its that dry already.

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  3. #3
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    That's a very worthwhile ride when you can have that type of positive effect !
    We've had a few fires here in C Springs area recently with some hefty property losses too.

    I'd heard that about trains starting fires also. I guess it's not uncommon but I do wonder if the train crew follows any type of protocol or 'watch'. It sure seems logical if there is a method.

    Glad you didn't have any injury while riding out there. Can you imagine the responders thinking you set a fire to get help for yourself ?? lol

    Headline; MTN Biker suspected of setting fire to get medical assistance

    bachman must spread some Reputation around before giving it to himself again. :madman:


  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    Managed to get my second night MTB ride in of the year today only this time things got strange. Actually this was more of a, "start while still daylight" ride. I still brought the PR-1200 along with my Convoy M1 for helmet duties. Trails were once again buff, firm and a joy to ride. Very strange to see such nice conditions this early in the year. Been a while since I started a ride in the day. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Very nice watching the sun go down while riding in the woods.

    Anyway as I'm about 3/4 of the way through my ride I stopped after climbing a short steep to catch my breath. It was almost dark now and I had just turned on my lights. As I was looking around I happened to notice what looked like a number of fires back in the woods and across the river valley from where I was resting. My first thought was that perhaps these were from people camping, maybe boy scouts or something like that. Then I realized that the fires were very close to a section of Railroad tracks. No one would setup a camp site that close to railroad track. Finally I called out across the way to see if any one was over there. I was maybe 1000ft. from where the fires were so I figured I was close enough that someone might hear me if there was someone over there. No answer.

    Only one other option now as I saw it. Must be a brush fire and with conditions as dry as they have been I realized it could be trouble if something wasn't done about it. By this time it was getting more dark. I decided to call 911. Very strange reporting a brush fire when you are in a secluded wooded park area. Luckily I was within cell range. After being switched over from one county 911 to another I finally got a chance to speak with someone who was going to respond. Thankfully my smart phone has map apps and that helped me tell the fireman just where the fire was. They did not waste any time. I knew I was just 20 minutes or so from where the trucks were sitting so I jumped on my trusty steed and 15 minutes later I was talking with the fire crew and describing ( and showing on my map ) just where the fire was.

    Likely the fire was started by a passing train. I'm sure I've seen sparks flying off of train wheels before so that's no surprise. Interestingly, one of the fire crew told me that they get reports of fires along those tracks all the time. Well....I guess you can now call me "Fireman Cat". My civic duty has been done and my "Fire-Cat" merit badge well earned ( Wouldn't ya know, my bike is "Fire-engine" Red. )

    I couldn't help but think afterwards, "Gee, I sure hope the fire crew in their little 4x4 got in touch with CSX before juking on down the railroad tracks. Trains come through that area all the time. Then again I suppose they already know about that if they handled fires in that area before.
    One of my friends owns Central New England Railroad. We were down at the ConRail maintenance yard looking at some huge melted wheels from worn out brake shoes. Trains can throw a lot of sparks from engine exhaust or ill maintained brakes. A properly cleaned track bed and approach area keeps the fire hazard down also.
    I am glad you were observant of the hazard and reported it quickly.

  5. #5
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    Bug season is in, Not to mention Pollen season as well

    Luck of the draw I guess. Just a couple weeks ago I remember some of us talking about riding at night and dealing with bugs. Usually the bugs are not a big deal in my neck of the woods but like I said before, "except at certain times of the year".

    Last week the rain in my area was a real ride killer. I think it rained for almost a complete week. Finally Sunday the clouds parted and that made a ride possible. Unfortunately not for MTB'n though. Too much rain for the trails to be dry enough to ride on. That will take a bit more time but...I was able to catch a nice road / paved trail ride on my road set-up.

    Well wouldn't you know, it turned out that all that rain must of woke up all the gnats in the area. At least that was the way it seemed while riding on the wooded paved trails I was on. Didn't take two minutes before I had the first few fly into my mouth. Unfortunately for me this issue was more problematic because all the pollen floating in the air had my nasal passages clogged so that meant I had to do most of my breathing through my mouth. That meant I had no choice but to keep spitting the nasties out every couple minutes.

    Now if that wasn't enough it was also very hard to keep the buggers out of my eyes. Thankfully I wear glasses but even though I was wishing big time that I had brought one of my bottles of eye drops along. More than a couple gnats came real close to getting in my eyes....funny, the whole thing brought back memories of when I was a kid and was riding my monkey bike down one of the local hills ( at full speed ) and was almost completely blinded by running through a swarm of gnats ( back then I didn't wear glasses. ). Yes indeed, you gotta hate gnats. When I got home I had to wash them out of my hair, nose and corners of my eyes. ( and no, I wasn't using a helmet light )

  6. #6
    Co Springs
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat-man-do View Post
    Luck of the draw I guess. Just a couple weeks ago I remember some of us talking about riding at night and dealing with bugs. Usually the bugs are not a big deal in my neck of the woods but like I said before, "except at certain times of the year".
    That sounds kinda miserable. Hopefully just a short time span for those micro size terrors. We've left some bug problems behind coming to CO from MI and so long ago, I hardly even think of that slight benefit. Definitely lots of worse places though.

    Until I started night rides in the past year or so, I had no idea how much crap is thrown into the air on trails and dirt/gravel roads. That beam of light coming off the helmet puts the visual right there at the eyeballs magnifying the scene like a special effects feature in a movie.

    Now that you mention bugs (and we are sure to see some here), I can imagine that last millisecond when the beam catches a bug coming at me just inches away and seeming proportionally Gigantic. How is that not going to be a target fixation moment ? Maybe a duck-n-weave.
    bachman must spread some Reputation around before giving it to himself again. :madman:


  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by bachman1961 View Post
    ....Now that you mention bugs (and we are sure to see some here), I can imagine that last millisecond when the beam catches a bug coming at me just inches away and seeming proportionally Gigantic. How is that not going to be a target fixation moment ? Maybe a duck-n-weave.
    For us, spider season comes around during the late summer. In my neck of the woods there is a certain species indigenous to the region that has the ability to span their webs across very large distances and they love building webs ( head high ) across trails. The spiders themselves can get to about the size of a silver dollar. I still tell the story of when I was a kid and I was riding my bike home just as it was getting dark ( no lights ) and right as I was riding up to our front porch... yep, I rode right through the web of one of those damn things with the spider landing right on the kisser. I think I screamed all the way into the house as I made my way to the bathroom so I could make sure the damn thing wasn't still crawling on me somewhere....ah, memories. While I'm not an arachnophobe I have no love of spiders.

    Thankfully I have good helmet lights that help spot the webs. I can deal with the spiders. It's snakes I have absolutely no tolerance for. I've run into rattlers before ( while in the mountains ) and they always totally freak me out.

    Anyway, that's one of the reasons why it's always good to have a helmet light. That said on the rare occasion I still end up riding though a web but as long as I can dodge the spider itself I don't let it bother me.

  8. #8
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    I hear ya...One of our regular ride times is every Sunday at 8AM. I usually lead the group and depending on location and time of year some rides are endless web encounters. About 50% of the time I can see them and give 'em a hand swipe...the other 50% are cleared with my head/face.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sturge View Post
    I hear ya...One of our regular ride times is every Sunday at 8AM. I usually lead the group and depending on location and time of year some rides are endless web encounters. About 50% of the time I can see them and give 'em a hand swipe...the other 50% are cleared with my head/face.
    It's worse on trails that are rarely ridden if it's that certain time of year. When I start seeing webs every 100 ft or so I'll stop and and find myself a foot long thin sappling or twig and stick it in the visor on front of my helmet. The effect being that it acts kinda like a face guard and keeps most of the web off your face. Looks funky but it works. Thankfully I've only had to do this a couple times.

    funny, but being point man on a group ride through an area like this brings new meaning to the word "Spiderman".

  10. #10
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    Tragedy avoided

    Weather out on the east coast continues to be dismal. I've lost count now of how many weekends have passed since I've been able to get a decent night time MTB ride in without worrying about bad weather. That said my road setup has been getting a lot of use lately. I'm very glad now that I decided not to remove my full fenders

    Anyway, another disappointing day with a spot shower hitting the area just as the sun was going down. Didn't last long but it killed any idea I might of had about getting in a night ride on the MTB. At about 10:30pm I decided perhaps the roads and MUP had dried enough to take a quick jaunt on the road setup. Leaving from my home I started out taking the local MUP's and decided to stay on those a bit. Ten minutes into my ride I came very close to having my first ever road fall. The roads and paved paths were still not completely dry. That meant my tires and brakes ( v-brakes ) were moist. On rides like this I usually keep the speed down because one never knows when they will see a pedestrian walking in the dark and need more time to slow.

    After coming to the end of one MUP I had to ride a short distance on a sidewalk to reach the next section of MUP. As I did I made a sharp right turn onto the next paved path which immediately takes a 20 decline. At the time I'm only using my Raveman CR-900 on medium mode. Usually there is a tendency to really step on the crank to pick up speed when I make this turn. That said with the recent rain and the trails wet along with some ground fog I was being a bit careful. Oddly though there was also a sudden distraction as I made the turn. There was a house off to my left that had someone outside in their yard shining a video projector onto the back of the house. That caught my attention. It was that distraction that almost did me in.

    Suddenly I noticed at the very edge of my beam pattern an object on the trail. Seconds later I could clearly see it was a very, very large piece of a broken tree branch ( OH MY GOD! ) On dry pavement this wouldn't of been a problem but tonight I've got damp asphalt, wet tires, damp brakes and I'm going downhill and picking up speed. ( 700 x 32C Conti. Gatorskin tires ) I hit the brakes....rear tire starts to fishtail...I let up and regain balance, feather the brakes and hold my breath as my front wheel looms ever closer to the tree branch. Somehow I managed to stop about 1 ft. from the branch without falling off the bike. Folks, that was a close one. I've never taken a tumble on asphalt before and I have no wish to do so any time soon. After that encounter I decided to use the helmet light a little bit more. Lesson learned; If I had had my helmet light on at the time the whole thing would of never happened. I'll remember that the next time it rains and I want to do a ride on wet, dark asphalt. .

  11. #11
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    Waging war with an obnoxous trail

    Finally got a beautiful day for doing a night MTB ride. Tonight I was riding a trail loop that currently seems to be my "Go to" night ride when I want to ride my MTB and not drive too far from home. The last time I rode this trail I was really disappointed because of the poor trail conditions ( almost a month of rain including some very heavy down pours ). All that rain really screwed up some of the main sections including some major dead-falls.

    Thankfully most of what I rode tonight was in pretty good shape, all things considered. As I approached the last quarter mile ( a winding, roller coaster type downhill, I was filled with apprehension because the last time I rode it the final short section of rock strewn single track was denied me because of a humongous mud hole ( just before it ) that had been left after the clearing of a very big dead fall.

    As I rode down the hill I was really hoping the hole had dried up and that when I got to that section I would be able to roll up and attack the short rock strewn last section. I've come to think of this section as my personal, "Trial by fire". Rarely do I clear it without having to stop. Still, its' doable if you get the right line. Problem is you have to dodge a couple good size rocks just before clearing a tree that partially blocks your view when you make the final turn. When you finally get an eye-ball on the rocks you either think fast to choose a good line or you're going down.

    Tonight I was in a good mood and had the energy for throwing down the gauntlet. I was going to clear that section and the only thing that was going to stop me was that mud hole, unless of course it was dried up and if so I was going for it.

    As I made my way down the various turns I couldn't help but notice that there were new outcroppings of various size rocks along the way just begging to take someone out. I made mental notes of these new obstacles but continued my descent. Some of these did almost take me out so I was on my guard. Finally I could tell I was nearing the final section. When I came to the spot where the mud hole had been I had to suddenly throw on the brakes. Nope, no mud...the mud had dried but in it's place was a whole new section of wheel eating rocks just begging for the unsuspecting yahoo to come flying down the hill to meet his death. I sat looking at this new array of "wheel eaters" with utter disgust. Hard enough to clear the last section. Now I have two back to back "wheel eaters". No way to clear any of this without any momentum, true at least for me and my over-weight 63 year old butt. In utter disgust and shame I had to walk through the newly dubbed, "Double wheel eater" section.

    Now I was mad. The more I thought about it the more it pissed me off. I rode along the last moderate section of trail that ran parallel to the river as I made my way back to the car. As I approached the final stream crossing I remembered that when I had crossed it earlier, it too had a couple new rocks just begging to catch a wheel. The more I rode the madder I got thinking about all this. I knew that the far end of the stream crossing was going to be rocky and that sometimes it too will cause me to get hung up. "Nope", I said to myself. "That ain't'a gonna happen tonight". "I'm clearing that stream and the rocks on the other side if it kills me".

    I cleared the stream and the rocky slope on the other side. Lesson learned; While there is anger in defeat there is solace in victory. I kicked that stream's a*s and spit bullets at the rocks on the other side. When I reached the road I beat my chest in victory. "Today the stream, tomorrow the Wheel Eater". Next time I ride this trail I'm bringing the knee and elbow pads. Then me and "Wheel Eater" are going to have a little, "Winner take all contest". Looking forward to "Round one".

  12. #12
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    The Spiders have arrived

    Last night was an oddity of sorts. After suffering almost half the summer with lousy weather I finally had an opportunity to get a night time MTB ride in. Then crap happened while I was driving to the trail head. First thing was I noticed a light drizzle was starting to hit my windshield when I was a couple miles away from the trail head. (WTF! )...I checked my weather apps and none of them showed any rain in the area. That was when I realized that what I was seeing was just some light rain from some very low lying clouds, likely so low the radar couldn't pick it up. "Oh well" I said to myself, this ain't much and shouldn't be enough to cancel the ride so I continued down the road.

    When I got to the road leading to the trail head there was a very big sign notifying everyone that the road ahead was closed off a mile ahead....Fu.....(you get the idea ). No way to get to the other side of the river without crossing a bridge. That would of required another half hour delay and I was already starting late... I decided to turn around and go to my more local trails even though I really didn't want to ride there.

    At about 10 minutes away from the next trail head I suddenly realized I had forgotten something when I left the house. Nope, not gloves, headband, phone or some other small item. Nope, I forgot my helmet and head lamp!....Fu......ck! Fortunately I was just a couple minutes from my home so I exited off the road and went home to pick up the helmet.

    Got to the new trail head and started my ride. Been a while since I rode my MTB. New front wheel and rebuilt rear hub had me moving along right nicely. The shifters that had been given me fits also were working well too. As I rode down a short gravel path I was about to make a hard left into the woods when something drew my attention to the right of me. I quickly turned my head to the right ( seeing some green light ) and that is when it happened. I was distracted just long enough to completely miss seeing the spider web I was about to ride right through....

    Very disgusting to ride through a web. Webs were everywhere on me. Not to mention I have no idea what happened to the spider. Hopefully it baled. I wiped and wiped and still I felt like I was a walking ball of cotton candy. I continued my ride. Turned out the webs ( and spiders ) were everywhere! Never seen it so bad in my life. No matter how hard I tried I kept feeling webs hitting my face and arms. Many I avoided but most of the time I was just picking up stray webs that were floating in the air. After encountering another web and spider ( see photo below ) at about the half way point of my planned ride I had to stop to rethink if this was all worth it.
    The "Unusual" night bike ride-spider-rd.-block-2-.jpg.... I had decided I had had enough spider webs for one night and decided to head back. At least as I headed back I was going to ride back the same way I came in so I didn't have to deal with any more spiders or webs ( for the most part )

    Now as I got back to my car I noticed a very strange green light that seemed to coming from the back of the roof. Upon closer inspection it appeared to be a machine of some type, It was making a low hum and the outer rim of the thing also pulsated an eerie green light. When I got close enough I suddenly heard a small voice say, ( seemed to be coming from inside my head..), "That's far enough human", "Go no further". As I stood there aghast a little door on the front of the machine opened and out walked what looked to be a Praying Mantis. ( see below )
    The "Unusual" night bike ride-marty-2-.jpg I was about to voice this observation when once again inside my head I hear the same voice again say, "Yes, yes, I know, we look like one of your primitive life forms". "We hear this all the time, now before you utter any more insults just tell me where they are". I paused momentarily to ponder this question. "Where what are"? I said.

    "Not what!...(you dunce ), "where "they" are. " I've ridden all the way from the Reesy maze and had to by-pass the toll gate at the Orion nebula just to avoid inspection from Galactic Patrol". Cocking his head he stared at me as though I were some major annoyance. "I came here because I know the Rratha are in season". "Earth has the best tasting Rratha in the entire Nuvis Galactic arm". I stood there utterly confused. "Oh what's the use" he muttered. "Humans...you can't live with um' and you can't destroy them without being fined by Galactic Patrol". "You human's wouldn't know a good Rratha spider if it came up and bit you in the ass". As I seemed to sense what he was thinking I pulled out my phone, showed him the photo of the spider and then said, "You mean one of these"?

    "Excellent"! he exclaimed, his little beak like mouth seeming to form a smile. "Seems I might have misjudged you Earthling". After I showed him the exact location on my phone app he got back in his little ship and took off into the woods. I watched as the little green craft veered and disappeared into the woods, following the single track as he went. He never did tell me his name although he did apologize for being rude. I jumped in my car and went home...Once again another boring ride at the local trails.....
    Last edited by Cat-man-do; 08-28-2018 at 05:09 PM.

  13. #13
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    The photo of the Praying Mantis I took a couple days ago. I had pulled into a gas station after leaving work and when I went to open my gas cap I noticed this very large Mantis just staring at me from on top of my car. I've seen Mantis's many times in my life but I've never seen one quite this big before. For a Mantis this little guy was big. I think that's when it dawned on me how much these things look like some kind of alien. I have no idea how long he had been on my car but he looked very content to be there. I even took a little video of him and it almost looks like he's talking.

    Today after I left for work I couldn't help but notice that I still had spider webs on my glasses as I was driving down the road. Don't know how that was possible because I had washed my glasses twice before leaving for work. It turns out that spider webbing is pretty water resistant. I had to remove them by "dry" rubbing them off first and then cleaning off the smears with warm soapy water. I hope like heck I don't have to deal with spiders for some time. Next time I might not be so lucky and end up with one crawling on my face.

  14. #14
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    OMG THE MANTIS STORY IS YOUR BEST ONE YET!!!!

    I was quick reading the post then stopped and went back through as if reading an interesting article. That was awesome man. Love your creativity there!!!

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  15. #15
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    ....sometimes it helps to add a little fiction to a story if just to spice up what would normally be a rather irritating ride. The actual distraction that had me riding through the first web was actually some noise coming from a basketball court where people were still playing ( courts with outdoor lighting ). Only turned my head for a second but it was one second too long.

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