It might seem like we’ve only just got used to the wonderful long evenings and dust on t he trails, yet already we’re fast approaching the end of summer.
And with that comes darker nights, and colder and wetter weather (even though we might already be quite well acquainted with the latter)!
For us cyclists, whether on the road or on the trail, being prepared is key to enjoying the ride. So we’ve put together some tips that will help you embrace those darker nights in the saddle.
Probably the most important item for riding as the nights draw in, lights are essential for both seeing where you’re going and making sure you can be seen by others too.
If you’re on the road, it’s not only essential but it’s law too.
According to regulations you need a white front light, a red rear light (both can be flashing or static), a red rear reflector and amber reflectors on your pedals.
Of course, these are just the legal requirements; it’s a great idea to have a light on your helmet as well as on your bike for extra visibility.
When night begins to fall on the trail technical sections, braking bumps and jumps become much less visible, so it’s essential to light up the path in front of you.
Mounting a light on your helmet lights up the section of trail you’re looking ahead at. But the wisest option is always to take more than one light out with you.
Use a handlebar-mounted light to illuminate the general area in front of you in addition to your helmet light, to provide extra light and so that you won’t be left in the dark should one of your lights fail mid-ride.
Making yourself visible goes without saying when riding on the road in the dark. Make sure you’re wearing something reflective on your torso so that drivers and other cyclists can see you.
Stay warm with plenty of layers so you can take some off as you get warmer on the ride. A breathable waterproof offers protection from the rain without causing you to overheat, making a great outer layer for riding at night.
Eye protection is a must when the road or trail is wet. Dirt and mud can easily go into your eyes, so clear-lens glasses are a simple way to effectively keep your vision splash-free!
A decent mudguard takes the strain out of post-ride cleaning, both on your bike and your clothes.
Whether you’re on the road or the trail, a front mudguard is also great for keeping the spray and mud down so you can see where you’re going.
Preparing your bag
Most backpacks for mountain biking and road cycling are waterproof to a certain extent, but a cover for your bag keeps it clean and dry and therefore gives extra protection to your items inside.
You can also choose reflective covers for an extra dose of visibility!
Regardless of the weather it’s always vital to carry a puncture repair kit and pump in your bag.
The thought of pushing your bike home or back to the car after suffering a puncture on a cold and miserable night is not a good one, so make sure that if you do get caught out you’ve got the tools at hand to get on your way again.
It’s easy to get cold on short stops, so make sure you have an extra jacket, gloves and a warm hat to wear if you do have any breaks along the way. Some hand warmers are a brilliant idea too.
What’s your essential for a ride in the dark? Let us know!