Nightriders

Location
Behind bars
If setting off late, say from ten until midnight, I'll have a snooze in the afternoon. Sometimes plan overnighters where I can get my head down for a couple of hours between 1 and 3 in a mates conservatory or shed.

I try to spend the darkest hours on main roads where navigation is easier. Don't want to be faffing with maps or Garmin glitches in the dark. Also more likely to come across 24 hr garages for a caffeine boost.
 
Decent lights, and slow down.
 
Country lanes lit by your front light only are a real pleasure, any time between 10.30 and 3 in the morning when all else is silent are a whole new riding experience

the fuzzy brain that plays little tricks keeps me on my guard

it’s an absolute pleasure and something to be enjoyed, either solo or with a small (quiet) group
 
I didn't have the reflective back then. It was the visibility, some corners you couldn't see very far around so I never quite knew whether a vehicle would know I was there from far enough back. Oncoming cars rarely dipped their lights meaning I was blinded for a few seconds before and after they passed until my eyes adjusted again. And the overhanging trees meant it was starless and Bible black. :smile:
This takes me back to my only long solo night ride, an audax. All roads were new to me. The low point was a stretch of smallish A road/large B road where I was repeatedly dazzled by oncoming traffic, who didn't see fit do dip their lights for me. This got to the point that I could be effectively blind when the vehicle had passed and I'd have to stop to pull myself together and recover. I didn't enjoy that.
This used to drive me mad on audax rides,on plenty of occasions I have had to come to a complete stop as I was unable to see anything due to oncoming cars not dipping their lights but the problem went away when I switched over to Busch & Muller Ixion IQ lights which have a cut off so as to not dazzle oncoming drivers plus switching to low power when on high or flicking to high power and back to low usually caused oncoming drivers to dip their lights thinking I was a either a motorcycle or a car with one light out ^_^ the only problem is getting to the switch as it's quite small and low profile
 
Location
London
I've wondered about this - first thoughts are to stay off the A roads, but visibility tends to be better on A roads as they're straighter and with shallower curves, and fairly regularly you'll go through civilisation lit by street lamps. Side roads/lanes may be quieter but then no-one will be expecting to see a bike and might be on top of you much more quickly. Guess it depends on the roads, but often you won't know until you get there. My scariest experience on a bike was bendy country roads shrouded by trees, very dark and visibility around corners was often very short, I dreaded the sound of an engine coming up behind me.

If a driver is paying attention, you're arguably more visible lit up at night than in the daytime, but they never seem to be able to pass you as sensibly though.
I generally prefer the dark quiet lanes - I love the peace - tend to think you are more visible on these as your lights really stand out. Of course you could be unfortunate enough to encounter a total nutjob but that could happen anywhere. With cycletravels routing I can often ride all night hardly encountering a car, especially true I think in these cursed times.
With regard to visibility and bends, maybe your lights aren't good enough. I find a GPS with a map is particularly useful at night as you can see the bends coming up on the map.
I never go too fast at night anyway - I'm in it for the long haul, all night, and so it's particularly important to pace myself. Can always speed up as dawn approaches. And you do of course have to pay particular attention to the surface, particularly downhill - I never let the bike go on night downhills - the extra braking this entails means that you do of course have to check your blocks closely before setting off, particularly if it's wet.
Anywhere there are streetlamps I switch the headlight off, or at least switch to low output, in order to lenghen battery run-time for high power usage. I always also have a front flasher. And two rears.
 

Ming the Merciless

Formerly YukonBoy
Location
Inside my skull
A and B roads for making progress overnight. Most of them are empty with good surfaces and white line markings for making easy progress. Depends how well you know the roads but other than trunk roads many are deserted at night and make for relaxed riding. Lanes on the other hand can be full of gravel and / or potholes and in the middle of the night drain your brain from the concentration. Lanes are fine if you know them and their condition is relatively good.
 
Last edited:

cougie uk

Senior Member
This takes me back to my only long solo night ride, an audax. All roads were new to me. The low point was a stretch of smallish A road/large B road where I was repeatedly dazzled by oncoming traffic, who didn't see fit do dip their lights for me. This got to the point that I could be effectively blind when the vehicle had passed and I'd have to stop to pull myself together and recover. I didn't enjoy that.
I used to do night rides in my MTB helmet with a peak. I'd cover the peak in 3M Reflective and if I was getting blinded tip my head down to avoid being dazzled. Usually worked in that the driver turned off the high beams.
You can get cycling caps with a reflective stripe on the peak now. That'd work too.
 
Location
London
A and B roads for making progress overnight. Most of them are empty with good surfaces and white line markings for making easy progress. Depends how well you know the roads but other than trunk roads many are deserted at night and make for relaxed riding. Lanes on the other hand can be full of gravel and / or potholes and in the middle of the night drain your brain from the concentration. Lanes are fine if you know them and their condition is relatively good.
interesting view.
I did an all night ride recently that had a fair few miles by a canal - that's cycletravel's interesting routeing - I think I'll avoid canals at night in future - lots of concentrating on the surface, always a chance of ending up in the drink if you aren't careful - need lights on full power - and not fast - and once on the canal you can be committed for a fair while as the surface deteriorates. I should stress that because of the area I had little fear of being mugged.
 
Last edited:
Location
London
Also more likely to come across 24 hr garages for a caffeine boost.
This is why I carry a small stove and 2 cup espresso pot on most of my night rides. Faster than going in somewhere/semi hunting for somewhere - and the coffee is better - am fussy about my coffee - also a lot cheaper as I often do the pot twice - ie 4 espressos. Have made coffees on benches by a stoke canal, behind churches, bus shelters, really nice clean rural underpass near Odiham on a ride from London to Southampton. Food also important of course - to go with the coffee I recommend Lidl's big tray chocolate breakfast brioche thingy - take a knife to cut it.
 
OP
Twilkes

Twilkes

Guru
After having done a long night ride recently, I can confirm that you can only hear the silence when you stop moving, wind noise has a lot to answer for. :smile: Mix of roads, all very quiet with few cars, great experience, will keep me out on my bike through the winter evenings.
 

Shreds

Active Member
Yeah love night riding.

Four lights at the front, three at the back ensure that motorists spot you. All advice given above is totally spot on, but just be aware how cold it gets around 04:00am.

Wrap up warm whatever the weather and carry a full tool kit/spares and phone.
 
I like to be on the road after last orders. Drink driving is still endemically an issue in rural England. West London is still (always) alive during the small hours in Summer. Islamic food shops, grandmothers and infants are still about doing their thing. And of course Heathrow and the armies of shift workers don’t sleep

I take spare lights and a head torch. Extra clothing (jacket, overshoes, beanie, inner gloves and long fingered gloves and a buff) I have emergency food too.

I love it when the Sun appears and warms you on many levels. I put my backlight on my Wahoo. The warm glow seems to keep me awake.

I revel in the hallucinations I occasionally have. I once stopped to photograph a wheel sized spider only to realise it was in fact a dock plant.

If you are interested in ‘the night’ take a listen to the ‘Nocturne’ podcasts. Brilliant.
been listening to the Nocture podcast since your post, good stuff so thanks for the heads up
 
Similar threads
Top Bottom