14 Tips to get you started on riding at night on your MTB
Surely you have arrived from your ride late and the night has caught up with you, but this time you we are going to talk about preparing a night route. Yes, wait until night comes to do a route that you would normally do during the day. In my case it is quite common since sometimes because of lack of time during the day we organise night routes and I assure you that it’s another world and a great experience
You may think it’s crazy, but if you give want to give it a try, we will give you a few tips for you to enjoy in complete safety the first of many night routes with your MTB.
The night makes your body more receptive and more vigilant to everything that happens around you. Your concentration is much higher than on a day route and you hear sounds that you wouldn’t normally hear during the day.
So, the only thing you have to do is to try it. Don’t think about it anymore and go ahead and enjoy yourself. Prepare to feel new emotions. At first everything will be different, so much so that it will even seem like you are taking part in a new sport.
You will go through roads that you already know and you won’t recognise them. At night everything that feels normal, completely changes and has a different strength and magnitude
Enjoy giving it all on the flat tracks but on the descents be patient until have some experience and are a little more seasoned so go little by little.
Don’t think twice and jump off the sofa! Use your imagination and do something different. Ride your bike at night, pedal with your friends in the light of the spotlights and look for the dark side of MTB..
1 Make your first night out by day. Check that everything is in place and is working correctly. You can go out in the late afternoon so that little by little as the sun goes down you can see that, apart from everything being fine, your lights are pointing in the right direction. This way you will avoid surprises at night. When adjusting the bulbs, don’t aim too close to the front wheel, always aim a few meters ahead to know what’s coming
2 Increase the difficulty of your routes little by little, start with easy routes to get used to how things seem at night. Remember that your lights will make shadows of the stones that will make you calculate different heights and distances.
3 It is very important to see well at night but it is also important that people and cars can see you too, so make sure your lights can be seen from both front and behind.
4 Try not to go out alone. Any problem you have during the day can be solved with passers-by, but at night this is less likely. Always remember to tell a friend or a family member where you are going. Today there is also an application for real-time tracking to be located at all times, even WhatsApp has this option
5 In order not to disturb the resting animals, try not to shout or make loud noises and be respectful at night as everything is heard more.
6 Although you may know the route perfectly, be very careful, the night changes everything and sometimes you can even think that you are somewhere else. On the descents go very carefully as spotlights and movement create strange shadows that can look like holes or tree roots. Also, the shadows can hide potholes too.
7 Hydration and diet do not change at night, so go prepared and do what you normally do on a daytime route.
8 When the sun goes down the temperatures usually drops, take some warm clothes just in case.
9 Finishing a night route well will depend a lot on our batteries in the lights, remember to fully charge them and always carry spare batteries. Also charge your mobile too. Do not go with the lights on at full power the entire route because the batteries will probably run out. Take advantage of the asphalted or sections which are lit with street lights and put the lights in battery saving mode, this way you will have enough battery and light during all the route. If you don’t remember how much power the batteries have since the last time you used them our advice is that the day before the night, route leave the light on so they run out entirely and recharge them again to full power to have them ready to go
10 Take a helmet light too, it will be really useful in case you have to repair something on your route or to look the other way than in front of the bike.
11 If you go in a group order yourselves from more experienced to least experienced as it may cause problems in technical areas, it is also advisable to have someone experienced at the back of the group in case something should happen, and above all respect the number one rule is that you wait for everyone, at each stop do a head count to see if you have all arrived.
12 If you open the rucksack for something, make sure that nothing has fallen out. Remember always carry money, a basic mini first aid kit and documentation.
13 At night the glasses are as important as during the day as branches, mosquitoes, dust and stones are very common. Wear clear lenses, no dark or polarized or photochromic crystals, which will further reduce your vision.
14 Don’t trust cheap light that promise you a lumens power, because they won’t help you as sometimes, they don’t give the power that is promised. So, if you can try a friend’s before, the better. Guide yourself to when buying by the number of Lumens that has the focus which is the amount of light emitted by a light source. From 1200 real Lumens is better.
MTB at night makes you recover forgotten sensations and enjoy a different way of riding than pedalling during the day. Enjoy and see how your reflexes increase and your riding level improves. You will become more agile and faster in all types of terrain.