Now summer is over, night rides are looking the only likely possibility of a weekday ride for me. The woods I will be riding in are only a local (15 min) road ride and nothing rocky, just the usual roots/singletrack found pretty much anywhere else. I have bought two lights (helmet mount and bar mount) but is there anything I need to bear in mind to make it as safe/enjoyable as possible?
Night riding - hints and tips?
There really are monsters hiding in the trees. Seriously.
Never look back.
You don't need to be faster than the monsters - just be faster than the slowest rider in your group.
There's nothing in the woods after dark that's not there in daylight.
It's just that it's awake and hungry.
Watch dog soldiers before every night ride.
Never look back.
especially if you hear a gate go behind you.
even if you have a head torch.
don't take silly risks - it's less likely you'll be found in the dark in autumn winter and it gets cold quick when you stop.
get some sort of tracker app on your phone if there's mobile coverage where you ride and use it.
remember to switch the battery charger on at the wall.
its dark in woods when they run out.
I recommend one of these:
I have never been attacked by a bear whilst night riding, so it must work
If you're sick of watching Dog Soldiers before every ride, watch the Blair Witch instead
if not on already a rear light helps avoid being knocked off on the way there/getting pulled over by plod
Vampires are real
(and not the sh!t ones like what teenage girls like but proper ones like salems lot)
Always go to the pub afterwards. And often during.
basically ride trails you are familiar with and be aware of the duration of your battery life.One of the wierd things about night riding is that , due to the strength of the lights you get mega-shadows so that the slightest drop can look massive .I would always ride with others at night
riding familiar stuff is fine for night riding, unfamiliar fine and more interesting. As you note having two lights is a wise precaution and a rear is good but switch it off when off road as it is annoying for any following riders
The person with the brightest lights goes first else you ride in their shadow
You will either love it or you will not but it is like daylight but quieter
Also some bits you can go faster as you know no one is on them so dont have to safety break
Its good fun.
I ride alone to meet folk so circa 40% of my ride is solo - never seen anyone ever apart from the odd MTB er and dogger
There are no monsters though cow coughs sound like humans
Don't let a few sniffles put you off a night ride. MTFU
There be monsters.
On a serious note you become really aware of everything making noises, it is totally fun but also scary and someone will have moved all your trails around (the dark is somehow quite disorientating) so allow extra time to get home. Also take a friend and don't do anything silly if you are on your own.
Always remember it is very difficult to describe to the emergency services where a random trail is when you are cold, wet, in pain, in the dark and alone sobbing into your gloves and unable to move!!
Solo rides in the woods really helps to bring out your paranoid side of your personality (there definately is someone watching you, I promise!!!)
Also, a spare pare of shorts is a good idea just in case a deer springs out of the bushes at the side of you... so I'm told
OI! Bregante. We're not all rufty tufty like you-good-self. I've got proper man flu, like!
Oh... all footpaths become bridleways after dark
That reminds me. We're doing Werewolf Woods tonight.
stop every now and then and turn all your lights off.
proper dark is quite addictive.
Tell someone where you are going and when you will be back... and carry a charged phone. Better still, go with some mates, and stop at the pub after.
But most of all, relax, have fun, and don't run over any badgers.
Take a bivi/tent and sleeping bag and don't come home until daylight.
Throw an extra torch (small or DX special) in your pack, for if everything else fails or trail side repairs. High powered LED light (bar & helmet) don't like getting very hot (no air flow) and if nothing else, you can use it if the others fail.
Night riding is ace.
The person with the brightest lights goes first else you ride in their shadow
Don't be silly, if some-one slower than yourself has a brighter light, you need to do the sensible thing and get an even brighter light. This is where the LED lighting wars start or you could ask them to stop being a cock and use a lower setting when following close behind.
Don't ride Skiddaw!!
love night riding, great fun. It is fun to switch all your lights off from time to time (when you're stopped) to look and admire the stars. I embrace the paranoid thoughts about monsters, they're amusing but realistically there's nothing there that's not when it's light.
Night riding season is back!? I haven't stopped all year!!! But then a day off in the middle of a run of night shifts does make it the best option!!
I always ride on familiar trails as I'm usually alone, let someone know where you are and your return time if you can. Use two lights for depth perception, more important to match run times than power. I use the more powerful one as a wide beam with the lower power one as a spot, but it will depend on your light set-up. Take a spare battery and check it's charged. Turn your lights down on climbs and off when stopping for food/drink to save battery power.
If you can time these stops with a view it will be spectacular!! Did Brechfa at night last week and the skies were clear. Switched off my lights at the top fire road and a minute later noticed that the sky was full of thousands of stars!!! No light pollution in the woods!!
Oh and apologies the couple camping in the car park, didn't mean to interrupt you when I got back to the car at 4am
Last winter was our first for night riding and absolutely loved it. Was actually a little disappointed when the nights grew lighter back in April / May.
Take a little more care seems an obvious statement but by the same token, I found that my 'instincts' became better tuned when i couldn't see the ruts / small rocks etc. It meant that rather than avoiding stuff I automatically dealt with them which seemed to improve my riding.
That was up until i broke my collar bone anyway... b'stard monster.
Some great advice, thanks one and all.
Have only done a couple so far this year but am sure they will be addictive in a weird kind of way. I broke my arm a few years ago on a night ride but was with others so wasn't so bad. Not sure how I'd fare if I was alone though, especially with so many monsters about...
Don't ride on the road with 2000 lm pointing at oncoming traffic!! Dim them and dip them. Most cars we see stop as they have absolutely no idea what our lights are attached to!
All night rides finish in the pub (Apart from tomorrow, which is finishing at my new firepit!).
I went for my first night ride last week, in a series of three woods I am not particularly familiar with,alone.
I was convinced the whole time that I was about to be torn from my bike and savaged by either a werewolf or murderes goatman.
Which was not helped by the constant russeling of the bushes around me when ever i stopped.
Within five minutes of entering the last and by far the biggest of the woods I realised I was completely lost but as it was no epping forest if I kept riding I would eventually reemerge into civilisation sooner or later.
After 45 minutes I realised I had some how managed to go in a circle as I recognised some litter from earlier.
But a further half hour later managed to escape.
Not wishing to get lost again I skirted around the edge of this wood on road, then plucked up the courage to cut back through the second wood still believing I could be savaged at any moment.
Made it out no problem to then pick up the first (closest to home) wood.
When I suddenly recalled reading an old newspaper article about a young man being bludgeoned to death in that wood about 150 years ago.
And thought sod that I really don't need to be chased by a ghost, especially one with his head staved in.
So bottled it and continued home sticking to the roads.
I am a grown man who was genuinely fearful.
But that said, I really enjoyed the riding, well the fast paced stuff anyway ( believe me I was not hanging about), but on the slow climbs, not so much, as I felt vulnerable.
And I soon learnt not to look any way but in front as even with a small torch on my helmet every time I look sideways into the woods I expected to see something leaping from the quit close darkness to drag me off in to the woods.
Bloody imagination, decided to really get out in these woods as much as possible during the day hoping that if I know my way around them it may help.
If you come off, you'll be found by a dog walker first thing in the morning no matter how far away from the well used paths you might be (unless you are found by a drunk, a crack-head, or a pervert first of course ).
I was running through the very back end of some woods on Friday night just following a tiny animal-worn path - I'd not seen anyone for ages when I bumped into a dog-walker, both he and I made the same 'eh - what's this bloke doing poking around all the way up here now' kinda face at each other, grunted a vague bloke'ish acknowledgement to each other, and carried on our separate ways.
Other than hitting something, (the ground, a tree, a rock et cetera), or falling into enough water to drown or die from hypothermia, there is nothing in an English woodland that's going to hurt you (whilst you are still conscious at least), oh, other than just possibly, the occasional, escaped large predatory feline.
... but the only thing I worry about in the woods at night is other people.
Running over poor little bunnies.
I thought it was just me that let the thought of monsters and chasing beasts enter their head when night riding alone in woodland. I have never admitted it to anyone..but now I can. Phew.
you could ask them to stop being a cock and use a lower setting when following close behind.
yes that is that is the thing about going downhill quickly its so easy to cycle your lights through the settings to improve it for the person in front of you, or you are a cock.
There is nothing on stw that wont get an argument
FWIW i can only see out of one eye and have poor depth perception as a result. I am having a bright light on whatever names you call me.
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