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Night riding, anyone?

Old 12-14-12, 06:45 PM
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Night riding, anyone?

Is it as sketchy as it sounds or is it just me? I feel like trail riding at night sounds like a possible trip to the hospital if you don't take it slow. Any input aside from getting a nice bright light?
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Old 12-14-12, 07:03 PM
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It depends on the area, individual and equipment. If you are competent with your equipment and your terrain isn't particularly treacherous then you should be alright with the right light. Mind you overly bright is not neccesarily the big deal(though it can help). If your personal night vision is decent you could get by with a head mount and a basic handlebar light, as I did for years. Riding with a group or at least a partner is recommended since the variables are different. An enjoyable experience provided it is done right.
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Old 12-14-12, 07:12 PM
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The bike club to which I belong does primarily road rides. But we have a few mountain bike rides, including a weekly evening ride on Tuesdays at 7pm. During the summer the ride is completed in daylight, but at this time of year the entire ride is at night and everyone has lights - frequently both on the handlebars and on a helmet. It's not a competitive ride and there are frequent regroups. I know there have been a number of falls but I don't think any have involved trips to the hospital.

Here's an example of the route and a few pictures from one of the rides in the fall (when we started in daylight but finished well after dark):
http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=819891

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Old 12-15-12, 10:30 AM
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where I live, there is about 7 hours of daylight right about now. I don't MTB any more, but it is very popular on our local mountain to ride in the dark, which isn't necessarily at night. Pennsylvania is right though, headlamp, handlebar lamp, and don't do it alone. check it out here: www.ridegalbraith.com.
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Old 12-15-12, 06:33 PM
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Best place for a light is on your helmet, especially for switchbacks. With a bright enough light so you can see the trail ahead, it's not any more dangerous than day-riding. I find it a little more fun actually.
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Old 12-15-12, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by JiveTurkey View Post
Best place for a light is on your helmet, especially for switchbacks. With a bright enough light so you can see the trail ahead, it's not any more dangerous than day-riding. I find it a little more fun actually.
Correct. It's best to have 2 lights, one on helmet and the other on bar for good flood pattern and throw. If you can only afford one light, then go for the helmet first. However, always think redundancy. Never ride with just a single light. Bring a torch as a back up if you have to but like many will tell you, lights are so bright and cheap now, you can easily afford 2.

Night riding seems dangerous for those who have not experienced it. If anything, IMO it's safer. I have not crashed head on with an oncoming rider on a tight singletrack when I did twice when riding in the day. With lights, you know if someone is coming towards you long before. Being lit up front and back and wearing good reflecting clothing means you will probably be better seen than in the day.

It's always best to ride in groups when riding in the night but having said that, I night ride solo 99% of the time but I take measures to make sure loved ones know where I am at anytime with GPS trackers and cell/mobile phones. USB charging is important as that will ensure your devices are charged up at any time. There are other things we can do to make a night ride safer.

In a time when time is precious, many health conscious people are hitting the gym after work and working out till 9pm doing bench presses and the like behind 4 walls. Why stay indoors breathing in stale air? Enjoy fresh air, recreation, great riding company, work out - without working out and enjoy the sights and sounds of night wildlife.

Lastly, night riding is fun. More fun than many first timers imagine - 9 out of 10 will tell you "it's something else". I have seen groups of 20 "old timers" riding along the trails I ride. 1/3 of them do not have lights, the other 1/3 have old halogens or torches and the rest with half-decent LED lights. The ones without lights huddle together to one who has. The smiles on those faces are gold.
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Old 12-16-12, 12:28 AM
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You really need to know the trail, or at least to ride slower than you would normally, to ride at night. It is really fun except for spiderwebs. Let someone else ride first...

If you're anywhere but the back, you often have your lights and the light from someone behind you. It gives a nice fill for the area near your bike that is hard to illuminate with lights on your bars and helmet and it will help you avoid obstacles and hit the right lines.
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Old 12-16-12, 01:56 AM
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It is quite exhilarating
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Old 12-17-12, 05:27 PM
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Ride a bit slower than you normally would and it's a blast. What night riding really has going for it which I love is that you are focused 100% on the trail in front of you because you can't see anything else. Some of the best rides I've ever had have been on my own after dark, there is nothing like stopping, turning your light off and really feeling like you're out there in the middle of nowhere, it's just not the same in the day.

Sensible advice above which I won't repeat but I will add that some trails that scare you in the day won't after dark and vice versa.
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Old 12-17-12, 06:43 PM
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I love night riding. It can be on a trail that you have ridden a hundred times in the day, but it will feel "new" in many ways. I also kinda like being surprised by encounters on the trail. Owls out hunting. Rabbits and rodents being hunted by owls. I also like it when there are hikers out there, but you never see them until you go whizzing by, and they are standing off to the side. THEY see you coming, and get out of the way, but you never see them until you are past them, and you ask yourself "was that just somebody standing on the side of the trail"?
Don't go out on technical, treacherous trails. Something that is safe and without surprises is the right ticket. Good times for sure!
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Old 12-17-12, 07:15 PM
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Hehe, I've seen skunks, opposum, snakes and raccoons but no owls yet. I had one raccoon run down the middle of the trail a good 40 yards before he finally ran into the woods.
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Old 12-17-12, 07:21 PM
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When I was in college in Bethlehem, PA(A very bike interesting area...) I loved night trailing the mountain above the city. The local bike shop group would ride wed nights 6pm to whenever and in the winter that was dark. As noted, it is quite different and neat to turn off and stand for a moment. With a city a couple hundred feet below and an airport a few miles away it made for some neat lights in the distance.
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Old 12-18-12, 04:49 AM
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I nearly ate a bat one night. It flew out in front of me and along the trail with me but I was going faster, I was on the brakes with it flapping away right in front of my face.
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Old 12-18-12, 08:52 PM
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The great thing about night riding is the most boring areas become really interesting after dark. I haven't found it unsafe in any way.

I bought this Cree 2400L from flebay $70 nearly 2 years ago, hasn't broken yet.


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Old 12-18-12, 09:16 PM
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Only 2 more night rides till the world ends.........better get some.
I'll be out for a pre-pocalypse ride Thursday night.
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Old 12-19-12, 08:48 AM
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I love going on totally dark smooth trails and and roads. For some reason I love the feeling of beaming a path of light down the road. But don't like to stray far from the city. And depends on my mood if I'm imagining boogymen around me :/
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Old 12-19-12, 10:11 AM
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JBCH, great pics. I, too, have ebay LED lights (and some dealextreme, which are the same) and they have performed great for far less than the cost of brand name lights with similar power.
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Old 12-19-12, 10:45 AM
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I definitely enjoy night riding on the streets I can only imagine out fun it is on the trails. I just have to find a good one to start out. I would hate to end up in some cactus haha.
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Old 12-24-12, 11:56 AM
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My friend has an 1800lumen light. It's crazy. I really want one.
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Old 12-24-12, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Kevin23 View Post
My friend has an 1800lumen light. It's crazy. I really want one.
It'd be very bright if it's 1800 ANSI or real lumens. If it's eBay lumens from a single XM-L emitter, then it's only 700 lumens at best. Which is still bright compared to Mickey Mouse 250 lumen torches

When choosing lights, consider beam pattern, throw and flood width over absolute brightness. A great set up is one with both lights covering flood width from bars and light throw from the helmet light. If the helmet light can throw light to about 100 meters, then it's a good thrower. Aim for a combined 1500 to 2000 real lumens with both lights.
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Old 12-26-12, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Xeccon View Post
It'd be very bright if it's 1800 ANSI or real lumens. If it's eBay lumens from a single XM-L emitter, then it's only 700 lumens at best. Which is still bright compared to Mickey Mouse 250 lumen torches

When choosing lights, consider beam pattern, throw and flood width over absolute brightness. A great set up is one with both lights covering flood width from bars and light throw from the helmet light. If the helmet light can throw light to about 100 meters, then it's a good thrower. Aim for a combined 1500 to 2000 real lumens with both lights.
It's a legit 1800 lumen light. He special ordered it at the shop we work at. I don't remember the brand though.
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Old 01-05-13, 07:58 PM
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Great Photos -- Night Riding is fun AND given how early it gets dark this time of the year, it is almost the only way to get in a mid-week ride on the trails! I helps when you are use to the trails you are riding on as well!
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Old 01-12-13, 06:22 PM
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I started doing trail rides at night this year to stay in shape until spring. I love it so much I may never go back! I picked up a Lupine Wilma6, mounted it on my helmet and it's like riding at noon, but only in a focused beam in front of me. Riding on newly fallen trail snow at night? Can't be described, you just have to try it!
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Old 01-14-13, 09:37 PM
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I want to do some night rides on desert trails next summer.... stars, plenty of moonlight, and warm air.
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