Key tips for mountain biking in the dark: Your ultimate guide

mountain bikingThere’s no denying that taking a mountain bike trip in the dark can be a fun and exhilarating experience, but there are also a number of precautions you need to take due to the extra risks you may be taking. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to make this fun experience much safer than it otherwise would be.

In this guide, we’re going to focus on a few key tips that’ll help you have a fantastic experience while mountain biking in the dark, so let’s get started.

Tip 1 – Choose an appropriate route

One of the most important things to do when you’re riding a mountain bike at night will be making sure you’re picking a route that’s suitable for night riding.

In most cases, you’ll want to pick a route that you’re familiar with, but if this isn’t possible, then it’s still wise to make sure you’re picking a route that isn’t known for unexpected obstacles such as rocks, branches, and obstructions along the path.

Just as you’d expect, these obstructions can be very hazardous at night as your visibility will be vastly reduced compared to daytime riding.

Tip 2 – Invest in a powerful light

Obviously, mountain biking in the pitch black without a light is a recipe for disaster, so you will need a quality front light to make sure your path is fully illuminated as much as possible.

You’ll want to invest in powerful light that has, at the very least, a lumen output of 800 or more. In most cases, this should give you enough visibility to be safe on the trail, but you may be able to cope with a lesser powered light if you’re familiar with the journey.

Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from using a more powerful light as well, and this is certainly to be recommended, especially if you are unsure about the route you’re going to take.

Tip 3 – Take insect repellent

One of the most surprising things you may find while night-time riding will be the nightlife that you come across. Unfortunately, this won’t all be pleasant, as there are often a variety of bugs and insects that can hamper your journey when you’re out riding in the dark.

These bugs can vary depending on the country, season, and general environment you are cycling in, but you will invariably benefit from taking some insect repellent with you to keep those bugs at bay. Whether this means discouraging moths from landing on your light or even keeping pesky midges away from your skin, it’s always a smart move to take some insect repellent with you.

Tip 4 – Leave plenty of distance

The best night rides usually occur when you’re riding with other people, and this is not only a safer way to enjoy a night-time mountain biking experience, but it also gives you fun memories to share with like-minded people.

However, it’s important to make sure you keep some extra distance when you’re riding with other people at night, because everybody’s reaction times are likely to be restricted due to the reduced visibility.

With this in mind, it’s smart to leave some extra stopping distance and riding space between each other while you’re riding through the darkness.

Tip 5 – Let people know your plans

It’s smart to ensure somebody knows you’re going to be out riding in the dark, and even if you’re going to have a few companions with you anyway, there’s certainly no harm in letting a few key people in your life know what you are up to.

While you will generally be safe in the night if you have planned the journey accordingly, it’s important to have somebody who can check up on you if you do happen to have an accident, so letting people know what you are doing is always a good idea.

Tip 6 – Wear reflective clothing

Again, the reduced visibility of night-time is one of the biggest hindrances to your safety while your mountain biking in the dark, and making sure you are wearing appropriate reflective clothing is an absolute must. Just as you’d expect, you may not be the only person who is out riding at night, and you certainly may not be the only traffic on the trail.

Ultimately, wearing quality reflective clothing will give other people an opportunity to spot you, and it will go a long way towards avoiding any accidents or unnecessary risks while you’re enjoying a ride in the dark.

Tip 7 -Consider a head mounted light

In addition to the front light from you’ll have your bike, it’s very beneficial to have the head mounted light as well.

This extra light will allow you to see wherever you turn your head, and it is particularly useful when you’re tackling tight turns and corners, as you may not have the visibility from the front light in time to see an obstacle that may be crossing your path.

Even though having this head light may seem like overkill, there’s no denying the benefits this can give you while you’re mountain biking in the dark, and most seasoned night riders well definitely sing the praises of having multiple lights on you at all times while you’re riding during these hours.

Tip 8 – Always bring a phone

It’s true that you may want to get away from technology when you’re heading out for a mountain bike ride, and it’s a great way to get in touch with nature. But making sure you bring your smartphone is wise, as this will allow you to contact anybody if you are in any trouble, and you can also benefit from the GPS tracking features that will ensure you are in the right place if you happen to get lost during your travels.

At the end of the day, it’s easy to see that mountain biking in the dark offers a fun and unique experience for any seasoned mountain bike rider. If you keep these tips in mind, then you should be able to stay safe and fully enjoy the unique experience you’re about to engage in.

Now that you’ve read this guide, you should be able to plan your journey accordingly without sacrificing your fun or your safety.

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