Hello darkness my old friend
Winter is coming in, the days draw shorter and the nights longer and longer. We who live on this wet northern rock start to get a bit grumpy – grumpy at the darkness, grumpy at the rain and, most of all, grumpy at the lack of riding.
So, here are seven reasons that should compel you to start getting out in the dark of the night and cutting loose once more.
1. You’ll feel fast
As fast as Elliot Heap:
Ok, so this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll actually be going quickly as riding at night is hard, much harder than in the light. However, that isn’t the point of riding bikes.
The point is the feeling of speed and the adrenaline rush that comes with it and you’ll get that in spades when out in the darkness.
2. Everything feels brand new
When was the last time you truly test yourself on your local route? Sure, it provides the thrills and you push yourself for Strava purposes but imagine riding it for the first time.
At night all trails seem brand new, even down to their appearance. That tree isn’t there in the daytime, surely?
A drop suddenly looking 10 times as large as it usually does or feeling like someone has steepened the gradient of the trail are all normal experiences when you ride with only a light strapped to your head.
3. You shouldn’t let winter get the better of you
Winter can become a nuisance when it comes to riding. It’s too dark to catch a ride after work and those weekends always fill up so quickly that there is actually rarely any time to spend on some bike action.
Night riding becomes the perfect after hours treat, providing the opportunity to get out. Work is over, the kids are in bed and it’ll stop you eating that final slice of cake… Or at least it’ll justify it.
4. You’ll get a huge skill boost
You’ll be riding just like guy*:
Miles put in throughout the winter are great investments for the summer. You’ll have increased fitness plus tons of great skills that’ll give you a massive speed boost.
Winter riding alone can be a challenge so factor in darkness and you’re guaranteed to develop as a rider. The trick is to build up gradually; if you can ride ‘those roots’ or ‘that corner’ at night you’ll blitz it during the day.
*claim may be exaggerated
Watch these descending tips to help your night riding
5. You’ll have the place to yourself
To do with as you please:
The cover of darkness is perfect for you to experiment on the trails. You’ve got all the time in the world to manage that tricky section and no one will see you make a fool of yourself when you come a cropper on a easy section of trail.
Likewise you’ll never have to haul on the brakes out of the corners so as not run down a lost walker.
6, It doesn’t cost the earth
Unlike a lot of mountain biking kit, night riding doesn’t have to break your bank account. You can get some pretty cheap lights on ebay and the like.
They take a while to arrive and they can have hit and miss reliability but they’re usually good for a year or more. Alternatively, if you love to splash the cash you can bag yourselves some damn good burners.
7. It’s always good to get scared
Like these guys racing urban downhill at night:
The trails get harder. Those sections that are difficult but manageable in the day are suddenly super terrifying and you can get that super-stoke running high once more.
Alternatively, it’s usually so terrifying in the woods at night anyway that you are guaranteed to get your heart rate pumping regardless of the riding…