Why is mixed-terrain night riding so good? The list is long and probably personal. Here are some of the reasons we search for the night rides:
- You have all the trails to yourself. No hikers, no dogs, no horses. It's you and the trail. Probably a lot of bunnies. And maybe a co-rider or two.
- The trails are quiet and meditative. Everything feels more peaceful at night. Everything is calmer. You can hear your breath. It's unlike any day ride.
- The trails you've ridden 100 times feel completely new. The stream next to the trail speaks a lot louder; that drop-off feels a lot steeper; the slalom through the trees feels a lot tighter.
- Focus. While life is quieter, there's a lot more need for rider focus. Depth of field, shadow play, and tunnel vision all require heightened attention compared to a sunshine ride. It's a good kind of focus.
- You have the roads to yourself. Not only do you get the trails to yourself, the paved roads are deserted. Rarely will you see a motorized vehicle.
- Cooler temperatures. In New England, in the summer, the temperature can drop by 10-15 degrees when the sun goes down. That's almost the perfect temperature for any ride.
- You are highly visible. Motorized vehicles will see you really easily and give you wider berth that daytime riding.
- No blind intersections. You can see cars before you might hear them; headlights are hard to miss.
- You can easily keep track of your co-riders. You're unlikely to lose anyone because visibility is so high.
- Bonding time with your co-riders. We rarely ride the night solo. It's always wise to have a partner or two; just like on any offroad ride -- the world is not predictable and that's part of the point. We bond even without speaking. There's something about riding trails, light behind light behind light, that brings riders together.
- Fewer insects. It's bedtime for most mammals so the flies aren't looking for food. Wondrous.
We could go on and on. Why do you ride the night?