Your first night ride

Posted: February 16, 2011 in 2011, General
Tags: , ,

Before you embark on your first night ride there are a few things to get sorted because, the absence of light does have practical limitations on your riding and organisation.

Parking: make sure your car is parked somewhere safe. The entrance to a fire road is wrong on so many counts not least that you might block access for fire engines. If you can park on the street under a street light that would be a good start. Somewhere where there are other cyclists would be another option. Just be aware of the fact that the cover of darkness may leave your car vulnerable, particularly if it is in a quiet area.

Don’t ride on your own. Apart from safety considerations it is way more fun to ride with a mate or bunch of mates.

Take plenty of spares. In my time night riding I have snapped chains, had many, many punctures, broken saddles and bent handlebars to name but a few mechanicals. While you can’t take everything at once, make sure you have a spare tube or two, tyre levers if you need them, a multi tool for trailside faffing, self adhesive patches, a pump, maybe a chain splitter and quick link and probably various lengths of zip ties. Do not forget to take a spare torch, preferably a head torch as it will come in handy if you have to do any repairs!

Take spare clothes – maybe a jacket, another top layer and even a spare pair of gloves. (When you have finished riding, warm dry clothes and a beanie. Most important of all though, a rough towel and a dry pair of socks. (Dry socks are wonderful to put on after an evening splashing through puddles, snow etc)

Water, plenty of it – it is too easy to forget to drink if it is cold but you’ll be losing as much water in the winter as the summer and the effects of dehydration on a bike can be quite serious – go on Google it! Food is a good idea too. Don’t bother with sandwiches, cake etc, keep them for the car. Trail food – energy bars, bananas, Haribos, jelly babies, even energy gel (f you are feeling flush). The best thing about cycling for me is that you can (and should) eat as you go… perfect!

Make sure you know where you are going to ride, scope it out in the daytime, get to know the trail back to front and then get to know it some more. It will look different in the dark and you can easily lose yourself.

Take a mobile and for the first few times, you may feel more comfortable telling your other half where you are going and with whom.

Make sure your bike is in good working order. It is far more difficult to do a trailside repair in the dark so the best way to avoid having to find this out for yourself, is make sure your bike is working before you set out.

Most of all, tell yourself you are going to have fun, then make damn sure you do! Try it a few ties and you’ll be hooked.

Have I forgotten to mention lights? Apart from making sure they are fully charged that’s it for this post. I have got some work to do!

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