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Old 09-28-05, 03:35 PM   #1
stapfam
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: 6 miles inland from the coast of Sussex, in the South East of England
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1st night ride.

1 hour after I have got back from my ride this evening and I am on a high. My co-rider and I have not been out on the Tandem for around a month, thanks to holidays, so it was a ride that had to be done tonight. Quite warm, but early evening the wind got up to around 30mph, and a bit of rain in the air. We decided to do one of our gentler rides, that is 8 mile warm up on the road, then 15 miles offroad and a final 6 mile cycle track to get home.

1st disapointment was our normal cafe after 8 miles was not open so had to go to McDonalds for coffee. Still coffee was better than expected so back on the bike to tackle the offroad--just as it started raining. My old Polaris jacket (as I was about to find out) is no longer water proof so it was a good job I had some protection being the stoker. Pity the wind was sideways on or I may have stayed dryer, but as it was, within 2 minutes of riding it chucked it down and I was soaked right through.

This was going to be our first night ride and we wanted to see if we could ride at night. We had two light systems on board. Back up was a good quality cateye lamp that uses 5 LED's, and seemed bright enough at home. It isn't so it was a good job our main system is a 5 watt flood lamp and a 10 watt spot. These do work- or would have done if my pilot decided to use them. He kept switching all the lights off to acustom his night vision. Mind you, he did switch every thing on for the downhills after a couple of spills, but luckily with no damage.

This was just a recce ride to see how we got on, and a couple of things came out of the ride. First of all, you need maximum light possible to ride off road at night. Even when well light you cannot see how slippery the trail is untill you start sliding, and a couple of times that was too late. Some form of helmet lamp is a must, if only to see the controls on the bike, so we will have to get a couple.

All this pain tonight of a couple of falls, a very muddy bike to clean tomorrow, getting soaked through but fortunately suffering nothing else is for a reason. In 4 weeks time there is a ride that covers 80 miles of the South downs way. A shorter version of the big ride I do each year. Difference is, this will start at 8 pm and will be a totally night ride. Having never ridden offroad at night before, we wanted to find out what it was like, and to our surprise- it is great. We may have to take the downhills a bit slower, but the thrill of getting out on the hills at the end of the day is still there. I might aswell cancell my subscription to the gym now, as I can see we will be out on the tandem a lot more this winter, even if it will cost an arm and a leg for the new lighting system that will be my next expense on the bike.
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Old 09-28-05, 03:55 PM   #2
cheeseflavor
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Night riding is great, isn't it? It is a beautiful time of year. Linda and I have been our for just about a couple of weeks now on night rides, and it's quiet and peaceful and the temperatures are comfortable. If you have bright enough lights, you can easily see 30-40 feet ahead in the road and drivers can see you. In these parts, it's starting to get somewhat cool at night, so we dress appropriately, and have a great time.

I don't know if I'd try it off-road though. I think you have a bit more courage than I do

Take care,

Steve
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Old 09-28-05, 11:22 PM   #3
cyclezen
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great stuff and story!

lookin forward to the next installment!
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Old 09-30-05, 11:50 AM   #4
taylor8
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Night riding is fun or would be fun execpt for the lunitic cyclists that don't have lights. I was cooking down the road last week and two kids on BMX size bikes passed me going the wrong direction, one on each side, YIKES!!! I had my light on so I guess they saw me. Then on Monday this week some adult was poking along the bike path with on lights, dark cloths, once agin the NightRider came through. It was cool passing him up like he was parked in a rest stop.

Off road on a tandum I did not know they make off road tandoms. I just can't picture riding in the dirt on a tandum in the dark.

Joe
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Old 09-30-05, 01:54 PM   #5
cheeseflavor
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taylor8
Night riding is fun or would be fun execpt for the lunitic cyclists that don't have lights.
Amazing, isn't it? We see them all the time. Usually at dusk, immediately after it gets dark. What's worse is that a lot of the idiots don't have helmets either!

Steve
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Old 09-30-05, 03:14 PM   #6
stapfam
Time for a change.
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Update on the night riding Lights. The back up system will be the cateye, but I have just borrowed the new powerful Single LED Cat eye lamp. Apparantly 1,000 candlepower, and this does work. The two cateyes as back up /main riding lights and the Higher wattage system that we have for when maximum lighting is necessary should get us through. Why don't we use the more powerful lights all the time? They only have a battery life of 2 to 3 hours before the rechargable battery gives out. This ride will last around 10 hours, so I don't fancy 7 of being in the total dark offroad.
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Old 10-10-05, 12:26 PM   #7
stapfam
Time for a change.
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: 6 miles inland from the coast of Sussex, in the South East of England
Bikes: Dale MT2000. Bianchi FS920 Kona Explosif. Giant TCR C. Boreas Ignis. Pinarello Fp Uno.
Posts: 19,915
Update on the planned ride as it is less than 2 weeks away-- The lights are sorted but I have a problem in that I will be doing it solo. My Co-rider on the Tandem has had to pull out, but that will not upset the ride. Make it a bit lonelier, but no problem.
We Are still out in the evenings on the Tandem, but I will warn anyone thinking of offroad at night. You see things you would not believe are there, Last wednesday we saw 2 roe deer on a trail that had never shown any sign of Deer. On top of that, the foxes, badgers and Night flying birds almost make you want to take up riding just to see them. The ride takes longer as you just stop to watch them, and the lights do not seem to worry them either. Thank goodness we don't have the larger animals roaming loose in the UK as that would be worrying.

The trail is getting slippier as the little bit of rain we have had is staying in the top 2" of the ground. As I will be on the solo, perhaps a change to a mud tyre is on the cards, but I have just bought new tyres for the Tandem for the ride, Perhaps I'll try them out first. By the way, one thing we cannot be accused of is not riding with lights. We look like a christmas tree with of 4 main beam lights, two helmet lamps, and the two flashing rear LED's

Last edited by stapfam; 10-10-05 at 12:43 PM.
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