Mountain Biking at night may sound scary but riding at night, with the right equipment, can be quite a thrill. Most people who try it for the first time are surprised by how much fun riding at night really is.
You can improve your mountain bike skills by riding at night:
- A helmet mounted light helps train you to focus 20+ feet in front of you instead of at your wheel
- At night you can't see everything so you learn to trust your equipment and simply ride over the little stuff
- You learn to 'just ride' and not be intimidated by knarly looking sections
- Your speed improves as you focus attention on your bike and trail with fewer distractions
The right equipment setup is important. A bright light (10 watts or more) mounted on your helmet and aimed to a point 20 or more feet in front of you (while in the riding position) is key. Your head follows the trail, as you keep the light on the trail at all times, even on turns. Smooth, flowing head movements, left and right as you follow the trail, helps keep you relaxed. Concentrate your focus on where you want to go. Keep your eyes in the spot of the light as you move and look only where you want your tires to go. Your bike will follow and go where you looked even as you look to the next line through the trail.
A 10 watt light is more like a small spot light than a wimpy flashlight. Anything powered by a 'D' cell battery pack is not going to be bright enough for a main riding light. You should be able to read a newspaper headline at 15 feet away with only your main ride light.
Handlebar mounted lights, as a secondary set, can illuminate the trail from a lower angle and help you pick the best 'line' through a rough section. However, handlebar mounted light do not always point to where you want to go. Most folks ride with one main light and many carry a spare light (or flashlight) in their hydration pack in case the main ride light dies.
The club hires a ranger to watch the park while we ride, fees cover this and other expenses. The season runs from November to March and starts on the second Tuesday after the clocks 'fall back'.
See the SWAMP Calendar
for the exact ride schedule. (Usually every Tuesday evening)