Elementary mtb Night riding

If you have not been out on your bike at night yet you really should try it! Night riding is great fun and brings lots of benefits, not least of all is just getting more bike time over the long dark winter months! (which is enough reason on it’s own really) However if you spend a bit of time on the bike over the winter you are going to have some more advantages in the the spring too. You will be fitter, sharper and stronger on your bike which is only going to be a real bonus to your enjoyment next year and if you do it right you will actually also improve some of your ‘Core’ riding skills too and with the price of decent MTB lights now quite reasonable there is no excuse for not getting out there and having some winter fun!

No1: Set up your gear & pack in the light, at home or in the garage. getting the lights mounted, working and packing your gear for your early rides is going to take a bit longer until you are used to it. So make life easy and prep in the light or the night before. Scrabbling round a dark car park or trailside on your hands and knees looking for something that is still in your garage is really ‘NOT’ why you are here!  

No2: If it move, wobbles or is hanging, tighten, cable tie or Duct tape it! If its lose when you go out it won’t be there when you finish! Also adjust the light 10-15m ‘down’ the trail when your standing up before you start the ride that way when you start the fun downhill section you won’t have to stop to sort it out.

No3: Try to Always ride with a group. Obviously going out in a group makes sense anytime but especially in the winter and in the Dark. Make sure someone knows where your going and what time you will be back too. Also when your in a group the Wolfs, goblins and monsters of the dark will get them first. They will appreciate your offerings and protect you.

(once you have been at the back of the group for an hour in the forest you will know what we mean!)

No5: If you have hi-low power settings use the low power as much as you can like when you are climbing cruising etc and save the hi power for the descents and more technical sections and when your going faster! Think conserve, conserve!

No6: One light is fine, just mount it on your helmet: this helps you ‘look’ down the trail, round corners and past features where your supposed to be looking!

No7: If you do have two lights make sure that the one on the bars does not drag your focus off the trail closer to the bike or just where the bars are pointing. That might not be where you want to end up!

(The light on the bike will however help you see the trail relief a bit better so it is helpful)

No8: Carry some more warm gear, and a small backup torch, it’s the winter! Trailside repairs take longer and you will get to find out how unorganised you really are in the dark. The light on your helmet is connected to the batterie in your bag so how do you get your tools out? You mates won’t see that your bag is still open either! If you are riding on or near public road carry a small Red rear light, just handy if you have to make a change of plan and have to use the road at any time. (The monsters of the Dark don’t chase Red lights either) Wear glasses if your in the forest, you never know when that branch will pop out in front of you!

No9: When people talk to you DON’T LOOK THEM IN THE EYE’s as your instincts want you to do! You won’t have anyone to ride with next week. In Fog, rain or snow don’t use hi power, the light will just reflects back at you and your can’t see a bloody thing!

No10: Don’t ride to close to the rider in front. In the dark our instincts get us to crowd together for safety ( the Green eye’s you see ‘watching’ YOU are only sheep...honest! ) so we tend to ride really close to each other, fine on a nice wide climb however this will affect how you ride and really importantly your light’s can often overpower theirs, and they end up riding in their own shadow.  They have high crash possibilities, and as your on their tail, so do you!


Let your sense’s do the work and don’t freak out, it can feel really weird sometimes at night but your just riding a bike! just give each other some space.

Thats it really, now just get out there and have some fun! Like we said at the start getting out night riding gives you more time on the bike, enhances your riding ‘skills’ and is a really fun way to end a ‘boring’ day at work where you commuted there and back in the Dark, sat in a lit office thinking about riding your bike.

    Check out our night riding ‘Top Tip’ vid here too:

If you’r looking for a set of lights there are plenty to chose from out there however we think that these XML 1,000 Lumen ones from www.mtbbatteries.co.uk 

e- campbellcoaching@me.com Tel: 01639 897945 Mob: 07855 094570  © Campbell Coaching