Last month NiteRider celebrated their 25th Anniversary with a weekend of riding and partying at the company’s headquarters in San Diego, CA and they invited Singletracks member johngataride to attend. As the Singletracks Trail Challenge player with the most night riding check-ins (at last count he’s logged 218 rides in the dark!), John was treated to a trip to California, plus new lights and swag from NiteRider. So jealous!
I asked John about his trip to NiteRider HQ, and aside from riding and drinking lots of delicious beer, he also got to sit down with engineers from the company to talk about how he uses bike lights at night.
“This was the coolest part. After a great food truck lunch, I sat between [pro riders] Jari and Toast and was asked exactly the same questions about lights, etc. I’m just a weekend warrior, but the engineers, etc. were after my input as much as anyone else.”
Judging by the number of night rides John has logged in the Singletracks Trail Challenge, he’s a bit more than a “weekend warrior,” with more than double the number of night rides as the next closest person. Heck, I ride at night once a week, and I’m not even in the top 10!
John says, “As a high school sports reporter, I’m forced to work nights. Ever see a basketball game start at 9am? As a father of two little ones, I’m Daddy Daycare during the afternoons, so the only time I have to ride is after work. I’m generally done around midnight, so [that] leaves precious little time to escape the madness of it all on two wheels. I’m typically blasting through spider webs around 2am on any given night, mostly solo, because, well, who rides at two in the morning? A few friends come along, but if the time doesn’t kill them, the spider webs do. Also, being in South Florida, the temps during the day are sometimes unbearable. A night ride can be 20+ degrees cooler.”
Of course winning a prize for his night rides was never John’s motivation; in fact, it came as a complete surprise. Night riding isn’t for everyone, but for some like John, it can be the best time to hit the trail.
“For me, night riding is special. It’s my time away from the madness of everyday life. Riding in the day is great, but the night holds something different for me. Maybe it’s the moonlight that draws me in, maybe its the cooler temperatures. To hear the sound of my Hadley’s humming with the crickets is sheer pleasure. At night, it’s my trail. No one around, just the occasional gator–the lights turn their eyes a demon-like red, so they’re easy to spot. The night also makes an easy trail harder, the turns seem sharper, the hills bigger, the drops wider. It’s just more fun.”