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Night riding is often a daunting idea for a many riders and it’s not all down to a fear of the dark! Neil and Doddy have got 4 basic tips that you need to know before tackling a trail at night.There are loads of things to think about on your average mountain bike ride. But that ride at night? There are new variables, risks and rewards to be gained from this different type of riding. Here’s what you need to know before getting stuck in!

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By Jeff Barber
 

There are loads of things to think about on your average mountain bike ride. But that ride at night? There are new variables, risks and rewards to be gained from this different type of riding. Here’s what you need to know before getting stuck in!

Drops and Jumps
Don’t approach something new at night. Ride familiar trails with familiar features so that you’re aware of what’s coming up at you out of the darkness. Be wary of drops and jumps if you’re running a single light. Dark spots with no light on them are behind the take off and your lights hitting obstacles can cast shadows where you would normally be able to see.

Roots and Rocks
Again, riding with a single light can cast shadows on the trail ahead of you, especially when that light is on your bars. A helmet light looking down can hep with this, but still be wary of rocks or roots hiding in shadows. Take familiar lines or maybe consider hitting technical sections a bit slower than you would in the daytime.

Cornering
A single light on the handlebars focuses your attention on the centre of the corner, only illuminating more as you progress around it, leaving you riding reactively and predicting what’s next as you can’t see it. A secondary light on the helmet will allow you to illuminate round the corner simply by looking where you’re going. Therefore riding at night with a headlight can actually improve your skills!

Blind Spots
Beware of the blind spot directly underneath you! Stumps, rocks, roots and all other kinds of obstacles pass underneath you in the darkness. Be wary of their locations and think about coasting that little bit longer so you know you’re well clear of that stump before you pedal off. The biggest blind spot is off the side of the trail! Ignore it! If you’re staring into the darkness you’re not focused on looking at the trail.

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