Night riding is becoming pretty routine these days. I start by charging up 3 sets of 4AA NiMH batteries to power my Dinotte 200L lights [~200 lumens each]. I check my bike over during the day [this time the borrowed Canfield Nimble 9] and install a Dinotte 200L on its bars. Then around mid-day I gather my gear, pack my hydration pack with essentials and dig out some riding clothing. Scott and/or Aaron usually arrive around 3pm-4pm. We BS for a bit about the latest bike porn we’ve been collectively eyeballing online and figure out a plan of attack for the ride. Then head off into the hills.
One goofy issue we discovered is that all the parking lots where we usually leave the car are closed after sunset. In the summer that’s no problem, but at the moment we are just arriving as the sunset. We almost got towed on our first night recon mission at Partridge Hills. The park security guard said another 5 minutes and we’d have been pedalling back into to town [with dead lights and no cellphone/wallet!]. So now we have to scope out a spot to leave the vehicle on a public road near the trailhead.
I really enjoyed my test ride on the Nimble 9. If you want to read my post ride impressions jump here and scroll down to the same photo as shown above. Bottom line I enjoyed the 29er hardtail ride. It seems to blend the speed/efficiency of a more road oriented bike with the bump eating prowess of a short travel FS rig without the weight/hassle of rear suspension. It climbs efficiently and was just as maneuverable in the tight stuff as my other MTBs. It slotted in right between the gnar crushing power of my 6″ travel Santa Cruz Nomad and the rock crawling monster trucking Surly Pugsley. I’m not sure I’d get a Canfield Nimble 9, but I’m going to keep checking out 29ers.
Riding the trails at night is a blast. I’ve smartened up and left the warm clothes at home so I don’t get sweaty and have to stop to shed layers which are then stuffed into my small hydration pack. I’m chilly at the car, but after 5 minutes it’s totally comfortable. The woods just don’t seem as cold as it is in the city at night. We’re not complaining! I’d love a few more lumens of light power out of my lights, but for 4 year old technology they do their job pretty well. I get around 2hrs on high with 4 AA batteries so once my first light dies and I pop in a spare set of batteries and I start to think about riding back towards the car in case we experience a major light failure.
We’ve been lucky here in Victoria lately with dry cool and sunny weather. The trails are in primo shape – a little damp, but not wet so we can ride reasonably hard and still hook up our tires. Part of winter mountain biking here on the Island is learning how much traction you have in various situations and maximizing the potential. After a winter of slick riding we’ll be rock stars in the drier summer conditions!…=-)
I’m sure I’ll get sick of night riding at some point, but that will probably coincide with the arrival of spring and day light until I want to crawl into bed. For now I charge my batteries and ride off into the darkness with a smile on my face.