Now that the clocks have gone back it is dark just after 5 so any evening training is done in the dark. The autumn is a great time, the leaves are so colourful and they make the trails take on a slightly different form. The terrain changes with piles of leaves and they hide obstacles which would normally be easy to spot.
This week I got out on a 2 hour ride with my Trans Alp partner Michelle. We rode from where I work in Liphook out into the countryside along tracks and back lanes.
Being off road at night can be a bit creepy when your alone but with conversation flowing we ate up the miles. That was until we had to take a trip over a stile which seemed to lead into someone’s back garden towards a very creepy poly tunnel… We decided to turn round and head for the safety of the wide track where any zombies or other ghouls of the night would be spotted in advance!
One of my sponsors Grip Grab do high vis arm and leg warmers, I decided to get some for road riding mainly thinking they would help me be more visible to cars. Michelle kindly took some photos and they really do stand out in the dusky and dark conditions. They are also super insulated and kept me really warm once the sun dipped behind the hill.
We got very lost! In the dark all perception changes and my sense of direction, which is not good at the best of times, meant we were soon in the middle of nowhere on a back country lane standing next to a creepy looking house with an eerie red light trying to figure out which way to go! To add to our slight panic at the point there was what sounded like a huge angry cyclists eating dog barking at us from the creepy red lit house! Luckily a gate was keeping the creature contained, for now…
Heading back in the right direction we dived off on a track through the golf course by this time it was pitch black and our Exposure lights came in very handy. They are expensive but their ability to light up the trail so that you can go at a good pace and read what is coming up is well worth it. Off-road you really need lights that enable you to see not just be seen because of the terrain it’s important to see well in advance what is coming up. I would recommend a head torch light to anyone that is planning on spending a lot of time hitting the trails in the dark as it gives you light not only directly in front of you but also wherever your looking.