Mountain Bike At Night

Mountain Bike at Night

This sport is not as crazy as it sounds. In fact, nighttime mountain biking is quite popular along many urban greenbelts, especially in very hot climates. If it’s 105 degrees outside, riding at night may be your best option. As an added bonus, a typically crowded trail suddenly becomes very spacious once the sun sets.

Instructions

1. If you’re a beginner biker, hone your skills in the daylight before heading out at night.

2. You’ll need two lights: one on your helmet and one on your handlebars. The lower light illuminates the path immediately in front of you. The helmet light helps you look farther ahead and around corners so you can avoid obstacles and find the best line.

3. Rechargeable Halogen or HID light systems are brighter and safer. A commuting-style LED light running on AA, C, or D batteries will not be sufficient. Use lights with at least 15-watt halogen bulbs. (HID systems are brighter even at a lower wattage-a 10-watt HID light is equivalent to a 35-watt light.)

4. When adjusting your helmet light, stand over your bike and keep your head in your normal riding position. Experiment with different distances, adjusting your lights so they illuminate farther or closer until you find the position that makes you feel safest.

5. Wear glasses with clear lenses to protect yourself from low-hanging branches.

6. Expect to encounter animals of all sorts, plus spider webs crisscrossing your path. Know your area and whether or not it’s safe to ride after dark.

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7. Ride a familiar route. It helps to know that the drop-off in front of you is a manageable three inches and not three feet. And if the route feels more natural, you can focus on the thrill of riding at night instead of worrying about getting lost.

8. Plan your ride ahead of time so you don’t run out of light. Know how long each of your batteries will last, and don’t plan to ride longer than that. As your batteries age, be prepared for their burntimes to drop. Even expensive lights with smart chargers don’t last forever. It may be necessary to replace your batteries every couple of years.

9. Ride with a friend or let someone know exactly where you are going. Carry an ID and emergency contact card with you.