Enjoying a night MTB route at night is quite an experience, but we must be well prepared. Whether it is because of the summer heat or the lack of daylight hours in winter, more and more cycling enthusiasts are cycling at night. The lights, the company, the equipment or the route to ride are aspects to take into account in any night mountain bike outing.
Lights, to see and be seen
For a night mountain bike ride, it is essential to have good lighting to see and be seen. The front light must be pointed 2 meters in front of the wheel, to anticipate any obstacle, and the rear light must be powerful to be seen. Reflective clothing is also helpful and it is a good idea to carry a headlamp. It is advisable to test the lighting at dusk to check that it works and is properly regulated.
It is necessary to go out as a group
Both for our safety and to share the experience, night mountain bike tours should be done in groups. In case of an accident or getting lost in the dark of the night, it is always preferable to go in company. The most skilled rider should pull the group, ordered from highest to lowest level. The closing cyclist should also be experienced and, from time to time, we must stop and check that no one is missing.
Day or night, goggles are the best way to protect the biker’s eyes from dust, branches or rocks, as well as insects. For night mtb routes, use clear lenses, leaving dark, polarized or photochromic lenses for the daytime, as they reduce vision even more at night. Needless to say, helmets and gloves are also a must.
Regarding clothing, it is advisable to add to the backpack a windbreaker or raincoat, a warm garment that will be useful if it starts to rain. It is also a good idea to take a dry jersey or undershirt, as the temperature drops, especially in the mountains. In this sense, sleeves or leggings can help us. The cell phone -charged with battery-, food, drinks and a little money should not be missing in our backpack, as well as a kit to repair breakdowns.
As we accumulate kilometers in the moonlight we gain experience, but the first night mountain bike rides should be short and on known routes. Gradually we can increase the mileage, but always riding on roads that have been used during the day to better orient ourselves and avoid getting lost in the mountains.
In short, we must prepare well for both night mtb rides and daytime rides, with the added bonus that mountain biking at night requires good lighting. We must not fall into the error of believing that less water or food is needed, as it is a very physically demanding activity and cyclists must be well prepared. And of course, we must also respect nature.