Nighttime MTB Ride

Presley and I headed out for a full moon run on the local trails last night. It was a totally different experience to ride the Troll in the dark. When you do get some speed, your mind begins to race. It becomes a mental game to keep your wits without being so cautious that you don't have fun. We stayed out for nearly two hours in 35 degree temps, navigating by headlight and headlamp the entire time.
There were no serious crashes (although they were expected) but we were more sloppy than usual. The biggest issue for me was timidity. There were several times I got hung up on a root or big rocks because I was just going too slow. At normal daylight speeds, I tend to let momentum carry me over more obstacles. During this nighttime ride, I tended to creep over everything at a crawling speed, which made it more difficult.

All in all, I loved it. I will certainly do it again. It's fun to get out in the middle of nowhere and look up at the clear skies. Perhaps I'll take the opportunity during each full moon.

Get out there.


  1. I used to climb a lot in the Red River Gorge. One time I went to do this easy, three pitch climb. I specifically waited until dusk to start up the route, because I knew the full moon was coming up. I was intimately familiar with the route, so I wasn't concerned about doing it in the dark. I did also have a headlamp, but on the last 50 ft of the climb I turned out the light, as it was fully dark, and the moon was shining strong on the rock. I could make out the distinct colors of the slings on my gear it was so bright!

    The icing on the cake was that I was on my bike. I rode home to Slade under the same full moon, and through Nada Tunnel with NO LIGHT whatsoever. That was somewhat disconcerting...

    It was one of those experiences that you don't believe is happening at the time, and sometimes when you look back seems like it was a dream.

    I have many all dark commutes these days. Its not the same as MTBing, but I've considered once the snow goes away that I'll do some pre-dawn mountain bike commutes. Everyone says its so much fun!

  2. @ Chris - I love riding out at the Gorge. I've ridden the Nada Tunnel in the dark too... but I had my headlight ready to flip on if I needed it. It's a great ride.