As someone who rides year-round, I don’t believe in a cycling “season.” I’ve seen some people saying the season is over, which baffles me. It’s just now cooling off, after a hot summer. The best riding of the year is yet to come!
However, for me, there is something of a night riding season. Night riding is a weird thing because when given a choice, I’ll nearly always prefer to ride when it’s light outside. However, nearly every night ride I do is memorable, and I always have fun. It just takes a little more motivation to get out at night, I guess.
Dave and I did an absolutely incredible night ride on Thursday. We parked by the Crooked Creek boat ramp and rode out along the lake, and did part of the Nebo Ridge trail. Just like we did during this ride. However, this time it was different. We got to watch the sun set over the lake from some doubletrack, as we rode along.
These pictures are a little misleading. By now it was getting fairly dark, the camera just corrected and tried to make it look like daytime. I should have adjusted them a little more.
By the time we reached some gravel roads, it was really getting dark. The sun setting over a field of goldenrod was breathtaking. Again I had trouble getting the shots to reflect what we were seeing.
Soon we reached a poorly-maintained fire road that took us up to the Nebo Ridge trail itself. Here we switched our lights on. Things were tricky on this somewhat overgrown trail that had a fair amount of debris, and a big climb.
As we crested the hill, we could see the huge orange harvest moon rising through the trees. We stopped when we reached the trail to adjust our lights and get ready for the next section. Here’s my bike, and Dave getting his stuff ready.
We rolled out on the trail. The riding was tough, with lots of ups and downs and a rugged trail surface. But it was also a lot of fun. As we rode along we saw thousands of sparkly spider eyes looking back at us from the ground, and rode through countless spider webs. It’s amazing how many spiders are out there! Here are a couple of pages about spider eyes at night: ONE | TWO.
Here’s an idea of what the view looked like from my bike.
At one point, Dave shifted and his chain got caught between his cassette and spokes. Whoops! He had a tune-up recently, so it really shouldn’t do that … while Dave was fixing his bike …
… I was looking around at the wildlife. I saw more spider eyes (which I did not get photos of), and a huge millipede. It’s hard to tell from the photos, but his guy must have been at least five inches long.
As I was photographing him, he did something odd … he rolled his head under his body and held it there for a few seconds. Wikipedia says that millipedes can roll up in a ball, so maybe he was considering doing that. I’m really not sure.
During most of our time on the trail, we couldn’t see the moon very much … there was just too much tree cover.
We didn’t stay on the trail too long. We would have enjoyed going further, but we both had to work the next day, so we only rode to the pond and back on the trail. Maybe a 3-4 mile round trip. And then headed back the way we came. Seeing the full moon over Salt Creek and Lake Monroe was amazing!
I just noticed that you can also see Jupiter, the bright dot to the right of the moon, in this next shot.
This was one of the better night rides we’ve done, and it was only the first one of the night-riding season! I can’t wait to do more. Dave was super cool about waiting while I took photos, which was appreciated. I normally don’t even try to take photos on our night rides because night photography is more time-consuming, and it’s quite hit-or-miss.