Just do it. The best time to do anything is right now. This sentiment is responsible for many of my rash decisions, but more times than not it gets the job done. On Nov 7th, when my friends excused themselves due to pressing engagements and decided to postpone the night ride to a later date. I decided to go on as planned and now I know I can bike the toughest terrain I can handle in daylight, at night. And incidentally the postponed ride is yet to materialize. :)
My previous trip, made me realize that the headlamp wasn’t good enough for the sort of ride I had in mind. I wanted to bike through the most technical sections that I can manage in daylight; to prove to myself that night riding was possible without any limitations. I was sure that this was not an original thought, and there would be people who have done this and much more. A trip to REI reveled the desired equipment, halogen light’s, 6.5 Watt per bulb, powered by a 6 volt NiMH battery. The bulbs can be independently switched, and have a runtime 1.5 hrs when both are turned on. (3hrs with one). With the halogen light, headlamps, gloves and warm clothing, I was ready for the trail.
I started with both bulbs on, but soon realized one was sufficient. Within minutes, I was coasting, the only problem – spotting diversions inthe trail. The light is so focused straight on, that it is easy to miss turns, and just as easy to mistake small paths between trees as the trail. I took a wrong turn looped 1.5 miles to be back to where I started. Nevertheless, I was determined to finish the toughest section of the trail leading to a lake and decided to press on, switching off the lights every time I took a break. :) I made it to the lake with just one fall, entirely my fault. Some animal jumped in front of the trail and its shining eyes, the only part visible, spooked me. I hit the breaks hard and ended up doing an endo. Other than this minor incident the ride was very pleasurable, I spotted dears, never felt tired, and could maneuver over obstacles.
I would recommend it to anyone who is thinking about it. All the obstacles are before you get to the trail head, from then on its mountain biking as usual. Just do it.