Last night’s ride started in the light, but quickly transitioned to darkness with the setting sun and SMBA’s dense forest cover. If you’ve never ridden at night before, you may not realize how bright a helmet-mounted or handlebar-mounted bike light can be these days. We’re talking car headlamp, light-up-the-night brightness, more than enough to ride as fast as you dare.
Although I already own a light, I tried out one of the Light & Motion demos, their Stella. After the ride, I was surprised when I found out it was "only" 300 lumens (considered the low end of the range of sufficient lumens for night riding): it seemed brighter than that to me. On the other hand, I may have benefited from "spill-over" light from the other riders in our group of seven.
If you haven't yet tried riding at night, come out for one of the Blue Sky Thursday night rides at SMBA. But don't take it from me. Listen to what Ben Stiller has to say about mountain biking at night:
On a semi-related note, I recently checked out the Luther Forest mountain bike trails for the first time. They are smooth and fast, almost the opposite of SMBA's rocky, technical trails. I think they will be excellent for night riding, but the real appeal for me is that they are located 5 minutes off the Northway (via the newly constructed Luther Forest Technology Campus autobahn), right on my way home from work. For more information, check out the Luther Forest Mountain Biking group on Facebook.