Today I took my very first MTB night ride! I wasn’t sure how I would cope with riding in the dark, but more significantly how I would manage riding off-road as it seems like such a long time since I have ridden any of the MTB trails. Before we set off I was pretty apprehensive, but at the same time excited!
On leaving the village we kept to the larger bridle paths so I could get myself used to riding in the dark before venturing onto the single-track. Immediately I was having fun!The limited visibility and dense (fallen) leaf cover meant that I didn’t have time to see any obstacles that normally would un-nerve me and I just rode over stuff that usually I would have panicked about.
In the dark everything seemed really different. Not in a bad way… just different! I had borrowed Mikeys Lupine Wilma so had a super bright light which gave me great front visibility, but on the narrow single-track I kept getting a little freaked out by the hedgerows. The complete darkness to the sides really left me struggling; everything in my peripheral vision felt it was leaping out at me and far too close for comfort. Admittedly sometimes it was too close and I returned home covered in nettle stings and bramble scratches. Some of the tracks were very eerie with tunnel of trees now having dangling long tendrils of bindwind falling out, which looked really pretty in the moonlight.
It was such a great experience, the world seemed so peaceful with just the rustle of leaves and hedges as we disturbed the wildlife. We didn’t see as many animals as I would have liked. I wanted to see a Badger and a hedgehog, but was happy enough seeing a few rabbits and a frog and a fleeting glimpse of a bat. The highlight was most definitely a huge rustle and wooshing noise above us in the trees as we obviously disturbed a monstrous pterodactyl. OK, so it was more likely it was a large owl or a buzzard but it sounded HUGE and made me jump.
Despite the lovely recent weather some of the singletrack was covered in very deep mud. Most of which I pedalled through without incident, but some of which I ended up having to dab into the deepest mud in the world. Nooo… my beautifully white shoes are no longer white! Next time I will remember to wear my winter boots, even if it's lovely and warm outside.
We returned home with just under 10 miles on the clock, which I was pretty happy with as it feels like its been a long time since I have riden off road and I coped with it all pretty easily.
Can’t wait for the next MTB night ride. ;)