For MTB night riding you need lights.
Thank you Captain Obvious.
How many and why?
At a bare minimum 3.
A tail light: in case you are riding pave to get to dirt, AND in case you get dropped by your buddies.
A front light: basically the most powerful light you can afford. You can get a modern light that’s half the size of a hot dog and brighter than most cars for under $100.
A head light: mounted on your helmet this light is great for seeing around corners, looking at your Garmin, trail side repairs and more.
Here are a few keys for fun:
Keep the lights on lowest setting so you can burn bright when you bomb down hill… and remember to dial up brightness pre-bomb.
ALWAYS have a much LESS powerful light on the helmet. Your front light will cast shadows… shadows give you depth and let you see if you are hitting a big boulder or a giant flat rock…
… I learned this the hard way when a friend lent me his only extra light. It was my first night MTB ride ever. 28 years ago the lights were awful. Weak. Heavy. Unreliable. We were poaching trails west of Irvine in what is now open to riding out by the toll road.
The sense of adventure whipped through the fall night. It was spooky too. Little bunnies sounded like bull elephants in mad pursuit. The three us made the final summit and listened to live music blasting from far away Irvine Meadows.
It was time to bomb.
My little light strained to show me the way. My friends disappeared. I was alone, and in my own zone. Humming a forgotten tune, turning and burning, but not jumping. It was all so flat… what did Mike say to be careful of?… there’s a big flat rock… WHAM!… over the bars, huge cloud of dust… breathe, breathe, breathe…
This is Captain Obvious signing off, “May your front lights burn bright, and you head lights be…. about 40% less so”.
PS… we’ll be doing more Wednesday MTB night rides, join us.