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Mountain Biking at Night

Night school
Are you ready to take on the night yet? Here are some tips to help make the nighttime the right time:

  • Always ride with a buddy so there's someone around in case you get into real trouble. Since you can't always find a partner to ride when you want to, at least let a friend or family member know where you're going and when you expect to return (remember that you'll be riding a lot slower than you do during the day). If none of your friends are willing to brave the night with you, then check the local bike shops for postings on groups that ride at night. If that doesn't pan out, start your own group.
  • For your initial after-dark adventures, stick to trails that you know, and promise yourself that you'll slow down and have fun. No matter how well your lighting system works, a steep drop-off or cliff can give you a nasty surprise. It takes time to develop fast reactions, so in the meantime, chill and enjoy the night.
  • In addition to the mandatory spare tube and bike-repair tools, you should also carry a small flashlight and a roll of electrical tape -- both can come in handy during backcountry emergencies. If you crash and break your light mount, you can tape the spare in place. If you break your light entirely, or your batteries run out, you can use the flashlight as a replacement.
  • Most lights have different power settings, so it's important to monitor your battery run time so that you don't get stranded. To conserve battery power, shut your lights off if you stop to talk or rest, and run the lights on low when you're on easy sections of the trail that you're familiar with.
  • Obviously, nights can get quite chilly, especially during the fall and winter months -- even in temperate areas. Dress smart -- wear clothing that's warm and dry without being bulky.

 

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