Last night I went on my first nighttime MTB ride (well, OK, late evening really) since getting some decent lights for my trusty steed.
It was twilight as I set off up into the woods between Station Rd. and Parkend Rd. heading towards Gorsty Knoll, and I was immediately impressed by the combination of two handlebar-mounted lights and my helmet-mounted light.
The bar lights are Ebay-sourced Cree XML T6 rechargeables with battery pack, and the helmet light is a Lezyne Macro Duo which also provides a rear facing red light.
I did struggle to figure out exactly where to position the battery pack for the bar lights, but eventually settled on attaching it to the top of the seat stays which seemed to be the best fit, especially allowing for the length of the cables from the light units to the battery pack itself.
I had used the Lezyne before in conjunction with a bar-mounted CatEye and found the Lezyne to be by far the brighter light. This time around, however, the Cree pair left the Lezyne somewhat in the shade, so to speak.
Anyway, back to the ride itself. Having got to Gorsty Knoll I then headed down a track that came out on Parkend Road before crossing and entering the forest heading in the general direction of Parkend Walk. Now this proved to be an interesting experience as I was on a track that I hadn’t previously ridden, even in daylight, so I had to have my wits about me!
Up into the woods behind Parkend Walk I followed the path of the electric pylons behind Coalway, intending to get to the Barnhill quarry near Speech House Road. The biggest surprise of the night came as I approached the electricity substation at the end of Fox’s Lane at some pace, only to suddenly find a rather large deer quite literally jumping through the air across my path seemingly inches from my face!
Luckily I had my GoPro camera operational so I was able to look back and see just how close I’d come to being flattened! Disaster averted, I carried on until I reached the quarry and then turned down the access road to Speech House Road.
Crossing the road I then made for Worcester Lodge along more familiar paths through the woods, then double-backing and taking the fire road along behind the Oak Quarry council tip I made my way back to Speech House Road and crossed over, climbing the hill beside the Broadwell Dips skill area.
From there I travelled along Bixhead Walk before retracing my path under the pylons back down to Parkend Walk. Recrossing Parkend Road and making my way back to Gorsty Knoll.
Back off-road once more I shot down the hill to Marefold, once part of the Darkhill ironworks complex, and past the ruins of said ironworks before turning onto the Parkend to Milkwall cycle path and heading for home. An eventful and nicely illuminated ride, albeit relatively short and sweet in terms of duration and distance.
Evening / night rides are less easy to fit in with the demands of evening home life, but I shall certainly try to get more into my overall MTB experiences…