Video: It's A Whole New Challenge to Ride Your Favourite Trails in the Dark

Sep 14, 2018
by Simon Drouin  

I know my local trail network here in Sherbrooke, Quebec (Mont-Bellevue) really well. Riding it in the dark has made it new again to me. Different light paints an entirely different scene. I challenged myself to riding my favorite parts of trails in the dark. After a while I recognized some creative opportunities with the whole vibe and looks around night riding, and decided to shoot a couple of clips.

Shot by J rome Guay

As the days are getting shorter and shorter, time to ride in daylight is shrinking. I used Light and Motion SECA enduro lights for the making of this video, and it has been awesome to realize that I could ride pretty much the same stuff that I ride in broad daylight!

Shot by J rome Guay

Did you know we lose about 5 minutes of daylight every day right now?

Shot by J rome Guay

It's a whole new challenge. What defines a thing is its context.

Shot by J rome Guay



34 Comments

  • + 14
 If you are a reasonably skilled rider, riding in the dark is better then daylight. With a smaller window of vision due to the light, I've noticed friends riding lines that they tend not to during the day because they don't have the ability to see the other lines. I'd recommend at least 1,000 lumen combination between headlamp and bar lamp. Get out and ride!
  • + 11
 I actually hit a larger step down in the dark that freaked me out for years. So much easier when you can't see how far away the landing is lol.
  • + 7
 99% of my mountain bike riding is done in the dark.
Even in the summer I only get twilight for a few rides, as family commitments meant I'm always riding after 9pm.
I find it way more exciting, and gives and added level of focus that you can't ever get riding in daylight.
Head mounted is a must,as you have to be able to illuminate where your going, and that's not always where the bars are pointing.
  • + 5
 @Tmackstab: ahah maybe that's how Rampage lines should be tested then !
  • + 1
 @simondrouin: even Id compete if it was pitch black out
  • + 1
 Just close your eyes its pretty much the same thing
  • + 15
 The best part is the moving shadows and how they mess with your brain....
  • + 13
 or seeing a pair of eyes glint at you from the undergrowth...
  • + 25
 Or being followed by warewolves. Even though you know they dont exist they are always there, on every night ride, ready to eat you if you fall. Oh and the sasquatch that always hides behind the trees. Yeah f%#k him too.
  • + 1
 @Boardlife69: hour either running with Sasquatch or running from Sasquatch
  • + 1
 Corretion: You're
  • + 10
 This is especially awesome when your local trails tend to be crowded. Getting them all to yourself is nice.
  • + 4
 I've been doing the bulk of my training rides in the dark for several years now. After 65 years in the San Diego sun with no sunscreen, it's taken its' toll on me. I wear spf 50 in the sun now, but riding in the dark, I don't need any. The skin cancers are quiet in the dark, and so are the trails (mostly).

I find the older I get, the brighter the lights I need. If nobody has stated it yet, my preference is a strong wide beam on the bar , at least 1000 lumens, and a strong spot beam on the helmet, I run an 800 lumen light up there. Combined with a 60 lumen+ tail light, I can ride the 6 miles to the trails in the dark suffering only the vocal protests of a few peds or drivers.
They can't claim they didn't see me if they run me down with their Escalades anymore.
  • + 2
 I have 2 sets of these: www.amazon.com/Bright-Eyes-WATERPROOF-Rechargeable-Headlight/dp/B00X90ZYJ0

1600 Lumens. The diffuser lens really widens the beam. Comes with a ton of accessories for lots of mounting options.
  • + 2
 Intriguing. Do u feel they are actually 1600 output? I have a $45 light from Amazon I'm really happy with, but of its claimed 1200, I can't imagine it's putting out anything over 900.
  • + 1
 @DirtbagMatt: They're SUPER bright with a lot of range. I work in the entertainment industry and several professional lighting people have seen them in person and none of them have disputed the claimed 1600 Lumens. I can ride in pitch black darkness and totally see my way. On the street, I can see the light hitting reflective road signs hundreds of feet away. They seem to be an amazing value. I bought mine directly from the manufacturer: www.brighteyesproducts.com/products/1200-lumen-square-bike-headlight-set
  • + 1
 or do what i did and use a 2000 lumen light bar that has spot and spread
www.pinkbike.com/photo/16361223
  • + 2
 Always takes a few rides for me to adjust to night rides, but once I do it is so much fun. Solo night rides probably aren’t the safest thing but it’s an awesome experience. Careful of skunks though, they are worse than hikers.
  • + 2
 For many people winter riding after work equals nightriding. I love it, esp. when it's cold, or the rare scenario when snow is involved, but after February I start to miss long sunny days in the saddle. Doting summer night rides are a nice way to escape the heat.
  • + 5
 Dads of Pinkbike have already been livin' the nightride life.
  • + 4
 My challenge right now is just to get my tubeless to work let alone ride in the dark...
  • + 5
 Put a tube and go ride ffs
  • + 1
 Gorilla tape is your friend. I was struggling this past week with some new tires on my Shimano WH-MT66 wheelset. I put a layer of Gorilla tape over the stock tubeless rim tape and voilà!; the tires climbed up out of the center channel onto the bead area with just a high-volume floor pump..Prior to that, even a compressor wouldn't budge them. I made sure to cut the Gorilla tape width to help fill in the center channel but leave the bead area alone. Hope this helps.

Don't forget lots of soapy water on the beads!

Good luck!
  • + 1
 @Zhehan: Turns out it was the sealant I was using. I was trying the new Finish Line sealant and it wasn't working with the gorilla tape or Stan's tubeless rim strip. I tried everything lol. Finally I gave up and went back to Stan's sealant and it sealed right up!! So no love to Finish Line for making a sealant that doesn't work but tons of love to Stan's for making my life super easy lol. My LBS said they were having the same issues with the Finish Line product too so I'm glad it wasn't just me
  • + 2
 @seismicninja: Gotcha. I remember when that stuff debuted, and initial reports and experiences differed wildly from the marketing promises. Seems to be a failure on all counts. I had high hopes for it based on the marketing...

I use Orange Seal. Doesn't dry out like Stan's or smell weird. Seems to be a better value. I'd suggest giving it a try next time you need to buy sealant.

Glad you got your tubeless woes sorted!
  • + 2
 @Zhehan: Thanks I'll try the orange sealant next time. Yeah I was pretty excited about the claims of the Finish Line product but turned out to be just a waste of money. Too bad.
  • + 2
 heh true I used to race 24hr mtb events here in aus and prefer riding at night cos during the summer its when its coolest as riding in 30+ degree centrigrade heat is no fun.
  • + 3
 BTW lights in this videos are 1800 and 2500 lumens ! Only one of them on the helmet is necessary to ride whatever !
  • + 1
 Yeah Simon,un petit morceau de Bellevue sur Pinkbike !! Cool video
  • + 1
 i wish i could experience proper night riding in the dark because i over did my light setup
www.pinkbike.com/photo/16361223
  • + 2
 Yes! Yeeees! It's such a thrill riding in the dark! And riding trails blind in the dark is quite trippy
  • + 1
 The problem with riding at night is all the heroin junkies who come out ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • + 1
 @loplopk Are you from Ohio too? That’s a huge issue with our park systems lol
  • + 1
 Nice cover of Aerials by SOAD and great riding too!

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