Night Riding

Night Riding...Don't let the couch eat you this time of year...

With the days being shorter this time of year, sneaking in a post-work ride can be tricky.  Luckily, bike lights have drastically improved over the past decade.  With the bursts of spring-like weather we've been having this week, night riding is a very viable option to prevent the beer belly from growing too much. Here are a few more reasons you should consider snagging a light and heading out under the stars this year...

Watching the sun dip behind the ridge before diving into the forest.
Reason #1

The ability to ride year round here is a major bonus to living in Harrisonburg. It's not uncommon to find yourself getting burned out at some point though.  Take a trail you've ridden hundreds of times during the day and it will completely change at night. The same features are there, but it's incredible how different the trail appears when the only light you have is much more focused.  If you find yourself getting tired of the same rides, grab a light.   

Checking out the stars rolling out of Hone Quarry


Reason #2

There's no better vantage point for a sunset than on top of one of the many ridge lines west or east of town.  It's hard to beat cruising up a mountain as the sky changes colors without feeling rushed for time.  Sunsets around here worth watching and some of the best places to enjoy them aren't accessible by car.  Grab a light for the descent back down the mountain.

Reason #3

On a clear night the sky puts on an incredible show of stars.  I guarantee it's much better than the latest Netflix drama. Hone Quarry was my destination of choice last Wednesday night with a great wide open view above the reservoir. At some point in your ride turn your light off and look up.

A Few Tips...
If you've never ventured out onto the trails at night, here are a few tips...
  •  Get a reliable light. There are many cheap lights out there that are very bright; however, the batteries are generally unreliable. I use Light and Motion's Imjin 800 on my helmet and have been more than happy.  It's super light-weight and relatively inexpensive compared to other lights out there.
  • Depending on what type of trail you're riding, it doesn't hurt to have two lights...One on the helmet, one on the bars. Your helmet light is crucial for scanning ahead into upcoming turns. I typically put my brightest light on my helmet, but that's something to play around with. The bar light is helpful with depth perception because you can direct it downward more to fill the gap where you're helmet light doesn't hit. 
  • This time of year especially, bring extra layers. As the sun sets, the temperature drops a good bit.
  • Find some friends to ride with.  Motivation is much easier to find with a group of people.  Thomas leads a night ride from the SBC parking lot every Monday night around 8:30. If you don't have any night-riding experience this ride would be a great intro.  Massanutten is another great place to start.  Don't let the lack of sun get you down...
- Andrew