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Old 01-11-12, 03:51 AM   #1
Ron Harry
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Riding at night alone

I love riding at night [road]. But sometimes I feel eccentric or like I'm a nut or something. I mean taking off at 2am in the morning, that kind of thing. I know a lot of people ride at night, like randonneurs etc, but except for them, do many cyclists ride 'alone' when they do ride at night? Riding out in the boondocks at 3am in the morning can be exciting, but also sometimes I think foolhardy as well. Then of course, there's the 'car' issue; but I try to light myself up with all kinds of reflective gear, pulsing lights etc.

What do others think about this. Riding with others would be best [for safety reasons], but I ride alone. Comments? [How crazy am I?]
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Old 01-11-12, 03:54 AM   #2
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Well, I can't really comment ... I'm a randonneur who has been riding at night since 2001, and several of my randonnees have been solo.
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Old 01-11-12, 04:31 AM   #3
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I have an instinctive fear about riding alone in the forest and at night. I've had strange things happen when alone both, in heavily wooded areas, and while riding alone, at night. One early Saturday morning I had someone try to run me over while I was riding alone, at about 3 am, on my way back home from a girlfriend's house.
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Old 01-11-12, 07:19 AM   #4
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Riding at night, mountain lions are nocturnal. They prey at the dusk hours.
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Old 01-11-12, 07:23 AM   #5
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During the winter, my after-work rides are at night and alone. So far so good.
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Old 01-11-12, 07:35 AM   #6
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Riding at night, mountain lions are nocturnal. They prey at the dusk hours.
Dusk is when I saw one cross the road in front of me, and then crouch on the embankment on the other side of the road, on a randonnee through the Canadian Rockies. That made me nervous.
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Old 01-11-12, 07:48 AM   #7
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I like riding at night too. The only other people I see riding at night I'm pretty sure are dealers. So long as the cops don't mix us up, I'm good.
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Old 01-11-12, 10:05 AM   #8
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I think it breaks down into two different activities; riding up to midnight, and riding midnight to dawn. The first is pretty common and good exercise after dinner. After midnight is fun, but a little weird. I did a post about my full moon solo ride, getting back around 8am. It was worth doing, but I paid for it the next day...messed with my sleep cycle [pun] and felt like crap for a couple days. And that's the issue, recovery from riding 8 hours plus not sleeping overnight is a double whammy.

My experience, safety is a non-issue. As long as you are somewhat aware of where the drunks empty out of the bars it could hardly be more low key. I did a stretch where I didn't see one car for a few hours. Breakdowns, that's a concern..who wants to be wrenching a bike in the dark at 3am. Road hazards? 100s of night rides, I've never had a problem with unseen junk on the road or diving into some huge pothole.

Eccentric? That's an interesting thought. Turn it around...so you are an adult who has the experience, fitness, skill and gear to a marathon bike ride over night and watch the sun come up while in the saddle. Though it sound interesting, you do't do it because other peope regard it as weird of foolish..or perhaps they simply can't do it themselves. So, you choose not to experience it...and that's normal/healthy? Seems to me that's a worst diagnosis than being deemed eccentric.

I suppose the day will come when you can only ride a bike during certain hours in prescribed bike lanes. Until then, I'm riding my ride.
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Old 01-11-12, 11:40 AM   #9
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I love riding at night.... How crazy am I?
Not at all crazy. I've ridden at night since I was 10 and I ride at all hours. Which is safer? Neither. I've been attacked both day and night.
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Old 01-11-12, 12:20 PM   #10
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I know exactly how you feel. I am the only adult bike rider in a town of 150 people in a rural setting. I'm the "crazy bike guy" - been called that to my face good-naturedly. Nearly everyone in town asks me about my riding when they see me. I ride at night during the winter months and they are used to it. At first it bothered me but now it doesn't. Like someone else kind of said; what's more eccentric, riding a bike at night or sitting in front of a picture tube for hours at a time and drinking fermented sugar? Less folks ride bikes at night but does that really make it eccentric? You've got to live your life!
I always carry mace and when I'm feeling particularly paranoid I carry a collapsible baton. I sometimes ride in remote river bottoms where mountain lions have been spotted but I don't feel my chances of encountering one are very good. I live in Illinois where citizens are banned from carrying guns or else I would probably carry one on some of my more remote rides..
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Old 01-11-12, 12:25 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Machka View Post
Dusk is when I saw one cross the road in front of me, and then crouch on the embankment on the other side of the road, on a randonnee through the Canadian Rockies. That made me nervous.
Your posts are a real inspiration. Yea, I was going to ask if you'd ever had some scary experiences at night. Ha, yea, mountain lions would do it.
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Old 01-11-12, 04:39 PM   #12
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I used to have a job where my only free time was from 10pm - 4am. I regularly rode at 1 or 2 am. After being stopped by the police every other time I went out I stopped.

Apparently, as far as the police are concerned, anyone riding a bicycle past 6pm is a criminal and can be stopped for no reason.

Worst offenders are the LA County Sheriffs dept and Torrance Police Dept.

One time I was stopped by torrance cops at 2am and I was in my skin tight full spandex race kit. I hadnt broken any laws and the police said they stopped me "because they thought i was someone else". Then the cop asked me if I had any guns, drugs or hand grenades on me and I said "yes, I have an AK-47 in my back pocket". The fricken cop even patted me down to check.

Now that I ride only during the day I never get stopped anymore. Go figure
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Old 01-11-12, 04:42 PM   #13
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I used to ride an MUP home from my bar tending job, the MUP supposedly was closed from Dusk to Dawn. In 3 years I only got questioned twice by the local law enforcement. They both admitted I was probably safer riding there than on the roads with the drunk drivers. Saw plenty of wildlife, both the four legged and two legged variety...

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Old 01-11-12, 04:54 PM   #14
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Riding alone after midnight in the rural, and suburban areas around here is fantastic. Some of the most heavily traveled roads become my private TT course. I love being able to hear a car a mile away. If it sounds like it's being driven fast, a have tons of time to get off the road.
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Old 01-11-12, 04:55 PM   #15
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My favorite time to ride, went out last night on a 20 mile pub detour on the local MUP just to enjoy the moon and the lack of dog walkers, the members of certain bicycle groups who feel the need to pedal side by side, and anyone else who uses the trail with ear buds in.

I like the solitude of night riding and it is even better during the winter. The best is coming home at about 10 PM in an inch of new snow, no wind, 30F and big flakes falling.

last night on the bridge over the poudre river, moon was hiding behind some clouds.

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Old 01-11-12, 06:53 PM   #16
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Riding at night, mountain lions are nocturnal. They prey at the dusk hours.
But apparently not always. The only one I've seen was out at about lunch time - and it was carrying a big squirrel over to its two cubs for lunch. I do see many more deer than usual on night rides near dusk (either morning or evening) - and they're probably more of a threat.
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Old 01-11-12, 08:44 PM   #17
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Yup, between 4AM and 5:30AM on weekdays. Its about the only time I have to ride during the week. Been doing it for 20 years in two different locations I've lived at here in Southern California. Current location I do laps of about 6.3 mile/10km each on suburban streets with good lighting. Evening (6PM - midnight) and early AM (midnight - 3AM) there are either too many cars or too many drunks on the road (bars close at 1AM).
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Old 01-11-12, 08:57 PM   #18
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when i first started riding it was almost always after midnight, that's when i got off work. cops would stop me a few times a week and ask me what i was doing. i don't live in a very cycling (or pedestrian) friendly city. they routinely destroy what little sidewalks we have and leave it that way for weeks during construction work, many places have worn down trails in the dirt next to major city streets. otherwise no problems, i still like to ride at night.
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Old 01-11-12, 09:09 PM   #19
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I was told, by a friend, about an elderly rider who works at a downtown hospital; rides to work @ 3AM, 365 days a year, dry, rainy, or snowy/icy. He's the ONLY guy in town I'll give a bow to.

As far as night rides, done a few, when my schedule demanded it; but if I don't have to be, I'm not out after midnight. Nothing out there I need to see or be around that badly -- plus, aimless rides at 2-3AM puts you on the list for random moving targets; around here, it's more a fear you'll get hit by accident. This is the town where a thug unloaded a full clip from an illegal AK47 at his 'baby mama' from less than 30 feet away, and she's the one walking the streets now.

Starting about 2AM, is my best time for restful sleep, so no, I won't get out and ride.

Those of you that enjoy it, enjoy; I have 3 reasons I don't. Cheers....
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Old 01-11-12, 09:15 PM   #20
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I am a night rider and I love it.... it's the only time that I can get out and not feel like I'm shirking my duties as a father and husband...before night riding, I had to check everyone's schedule and homework and determine if I could ride that day.... now, I wait till everyone is in bed and I'm out the door... At first, I was a little freaked at all the animals and a few homeless people roaming the MUP...but now, it's my get away or time alone and I look forward to it. Picked up a magic shine, a niterider sol and multiple flashers....and now with winter coming, I snagged a pair of Lake MXZ 302s for $150 ... Night, cold, rain....love it .... oh and since I switched to night riding I've dropped 20lbs in 2 months......it's changing my life (and wardrobe).
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Old 01-11-12, 10:42 PM   #21
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I've been on GMR alone at night. Mountain climb with 2500 feet in 8 miles. Pretty much traffic free but scary when you think you're in the mountains alone with animals that just might like my flavor.

I have gone up with buds as well. One group went up hoping to beat the dark but didn't sowe descended in the dark. Feels much better with a group but doing it once in a while alone is kind of fun.

I do ride in the foothills every so often alone but nothing like riding up the mountain alone, in the dark. Better than facing a bunch of scary animals behind steering wheels.

Pic of riding in the mountains alone at night, about 2,000 ft up the mountain I had to stop for a pose.


IMG_4399 by gulpxtreme, on Flickr



Couple of videos that show just how dark it is up there.


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Old 01-12-12, 05:45 AM   #22
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Night riding can be quite peaceful traffic wise. Having a hat with visor is a great plus dealing with lights from traffic I have found.
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Old 01-12-12, 10:11 AM   #23
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I ride after midnight quite a bit, sometimes in the mountains, and always alone. Safe, as there are far fewer cars, sometimes none. Far fewer flats, actually none for me yet, as I take the lane practically 100% of the time. I find much more wildlife at that time as well, which I like.
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Old 01-12-12, 11:54 AM   #24
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The latest I ridden was through Montreal at 11pm a couple of years back. It was great fun.
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Old 01-12-12, 12:36 PM   #25
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A conversation , a couple years back, riding home from The Musician's jam at the Tavern
Local PD asked me why I was out a 2:00, I got to ask him if he played a musical instrument ..
he said he played the Bagpipes..
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