Thursday, 29 December 2011

Night Clubbing

You don't have to confine your weekend cycling to Saturday and Sunday morning club runs. How about a Saturday night?
That's what me and Higg did. Ok, so it was just a club run of two but then size doesn't matter as they say!

It's not always necessary to travel out so far to reach off-road trails. There is a pleasant circuit in nearby Banstead, so that's where we went. This was also the chance for me to use the Exposure Lights that I have on loan.
Good lights make such a difference to a night riding experience. I was using the Toro model on my handlebars and the Diablo on my helmet. As we weren't moving very fast it was possible to leave the Toro on the low setting and have the Diablo on medium. In fact, I found that if I left the Toro off completely it was still possible to see perfectly well with the Diablo alone. The Diablo has quite a powerful beam considering that it's just a helmet light.
Having two sets of lights is very helpful though when going round twisty trails, especially on a fast descent.

On we plodded through the Wallington small holdings and then on to Surrey Oaks Park and through to Banstead. It was great just riding along and not having anyone else around - not even animals. I think our presence scared away the most audacious of foxes - or maybe they just chose to have a night in with their mates! Ironically you notice so much more at night since your senses become heightened, and you see lots of lights in the distance from various places you had been unaware of by day - other buildings across Surrey, or the London skyline way in the distance.
There is also a night-time feel in the damp atmosphere which feels charged up as though something was about to happen, and you wait in anticipation. But nothing happens - it's just unassuming woodland in the London suburbs.

The ground beneath my wheels shows up as varying shades of black, and I can't tell what the texture is until I ride through it. Generally, the going is a constant medium to firm and easy to ride through. The fun gets thrown into the mix when the bike suddenly decelerates and pedalling becomes laboured - I keep turning the pedals, without really knowing when this interlude will end, or what it has taken me through. It is only when I get home that I find out whether it was mud or manure that I rode through! It's also interesting to check out the other bits and pieces I inadvertently pulled on my night out - dried leaves, pieces of twig, even the odd piece of rotten fruit.
When we started our ride at sunset the weather was still balmy and mild, but once the sun has well and truly retired I notice the drop in temperature more acutely and it's therefore better to not be out for too long. After about an hour we turn around to take the descent back home. It was a good way to spend a Saturday evening. We didn't do an all-night session and we weren't treated to pumping techno beats, but going out on a night ride is a rave - it rocks!


Photos by Higg
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