If you haven’t had the pleasure of doing a night ride, I strongly suggest doing one, either with friends, or if you’re feeling brave enough and keeping it local, do it by yourself. The adrenalin rush is awesome, and it’s a LEGAL high! First off, make sure you have everything you need, you never know when you might need that spare tube or tyre lever. If you’re like me and run tubeless, don’t forget to take a pump, preferably a CO2 cartridge, you don’t want to be faffing around, specially if it’s cold. You’ll need a phone for emergency. Two good lights and a spare if possible. Food and water, just not loads if you’re out for a couple of hours (fuel the ride). If you’re going to a trail centre make sure you tell somebody (family) in case of a gnarly accident,
When riding to my local trails, I find myself on a few paths and a road, only about 2 miles till I get to my local. On arrival, I check the bike out, give it a once over before I flick both lights on and off I shred. Taking my time at first, adjusting to the lights and shadows, I make my way over to the skills area, I notice, even though I’ve ridden this place a Million times, the trails become fresh & new. The sound of tyres, hubs, cold breath & beating heart is enough to warm you up on any cold night.
Getting to do the skills area in the pitch dark, only your lights to brighten up the area. Using my spare light, I position it over the double and ride like my life is on the line, after all, it is! Until I feel confident enough, I keep it small. Making sure safety comes first!!
Making sure I collected up all my gear, I set of home. This is where the fun really starts. Riding to my local is boring, unlike the ride home! We have 7 trails to hit and it’s all down hill 8 miles in total. BANGIN! It’s pretty full on from the word go….You have to be fit, anything less and you’re looking at doing yourself damage. Regardless of whether it’s wet, snow or bone dry, I always have this grin on my face, I’ve never felt more alive than when out on the bike.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all happy, smiley faces, specially when riding through a dark, unfamiliar forest/trail and you get the boogeyman thoughts, or other hidden thoughts of ghosts, demons and devils start to surface. And if you’re like me and sometimes ride at midnight or even later, your cadence goes through the roof. All joking aside, you do need to be vigilant for hidden dangers like trip wire or even spikes have been found dug into the landing on a drop at Delamere! So just be mindful of the dirty tricks people can play on mountain bikers. Remember, if you’re approached by a stranger in the middle of the night, all you need to do is shine one of your three lights into their face, this alone will render the person blind for a few seconds, giving you enough time to get off while screaming for your mum.
If you manage to make it home in one piece, make sure you jump straight into the bath/shower and then eat, make sure you eat! Eating after a ride, specially in the cold, is paramount, you need to replace vital nutrients, restore your energy levels. Doing this will enable you to relax and chill while hitting that natural endorphins rush which we all get…The feeling is the sickest, most rad thing we’ll ever feel. ….This alone is what keeps me riding.