Typical, isn’t it? Just as the clocks go back, and the evenings are getting lighter, I rediscover the joys of night riding.
Mrs Marmot was away, and I was at a loose end on a Friday night. Pub? Nah. Clubs? Not me. So it was that I packed Lola away into the back of the Marmotmobile and headed off to the woods.
Setting off just before sunset I had time to get a sighting lap in before turning on the lights. With 2000-odd lumens on tap (thanks to the fab folks at MTB Batteries) the transition from dusk to full dark was pretty seamless.
It’s easy to forget how much fun night riding is. With your whole world condensed into just a few square metres of light, concentration levels have to high. Trails that are well within your capabilities during daylight hours take on a new level of challenge: braking points are easy to miss, and if you don’t know the trail like the back of your hand, then it’s easy to overshoot corners unless you dial the speed back a bit. Every noise from the woods becomes something preparing to eat you, chase you down, or rip you limb from limb and bleeding in a ditch.*
Night riding can lead to some magical moments too: I’ll never forget rounding a corner to find the eyes from a small herd of deer reflecting back at me from the dark, or having a barn owl fly alongside me for a few brief but unforgettable moments.
All too soon though, the rides are over, and we arrive back into the bright world of everyday life. As the rest of the world go about their daily business, rushing here and there, they are oblivious to the excitement that a select band of hardy souls find far from the light, in small pools of their own illumination…
*May or may not actually be true.