Do not go gentle into that good night but rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas
The daylight hours have dwindled and suddenly the night riding season has begun. According to singletracks.com us Minnesotians are into night riding, which makes sense. Every November we lose a precious hour of sunlight to daylight savings; that, coupled with the changing seasons, suddenly makes 6:00p.m. seem like midnight, and we must learn to embrace the night.
Byron and I try to get out to our local trails after work for night laps on the bike and hikes with our dog, Oscar “Dude”. This fall the weather has been especially nice with the mild temps, (although I worry about the potential lack of snow), and the recent super moon didn’t hurt either.
At night you become keenly aware of noises and eyes in the woods looking at you. You never know what you will encounter on a night ride, I’ve seen foxes in the woods and have literally had deer cross the path five foot in front of me. Night riding is a great way to not only extend your season, but to also make a familiar trail seem new and exciting. Trees seem closer than during the day and I always think I am going faster than I am; Singletracks.com says we are 17% slower on average.
If you have not tried night riding, I highly recommend giving it a try. Of course, this does require that you have lights for your bike. Occasionally shops have demo events, where you can test out a light set for a ride. Many companies make bike lights and personally I am a fan of NiteRider’s products. Between Byron and me, we have seven of their lithium ion battery lights, three of which are 10 years old and still going strong. Also, know that a light designed to illuminate a mountain bike trail in the dark is quite different than a small light designed to be used on a bike path. Lights with external battery packs will give you a much longer run time than an internal battery. Also, having two sets of lights, one mounted on your bars and one on your helmet, although not necessary, certainly increases one’s confidence on the trail. The lights on your bars will illuminate the trail in front of you and your helmet light will allow you to look through corners, or at the deer staring at you.
Now, that I’ve filled your head with thoughts of riding, go get out there. Have questions about lights, where to go, or need someone to ride with, feel free to drop us a line. And, if you're not busy we invite you to join us at noon on Friday, November 25, for our #Optoutside Post-Thanksgiving Ride at Carver Lake Park.
Tara & Byron