My first time out as a night rider.
Such is my brain, that the moment I started getting excited about my first ever night road cycle club ride, the Knight Rider theme tune appears perkily in my head.
Four hours ago, I had never, ever ridden my bike in the dark (without being drunk). Night riding for me is something usually consigned to the pub bike, although I have been known to clip-in after a few bevvies. But aside from this negligent sort of night riding, I’d never a actually just gone out on my bike of a dark evening. Now that I’ve done it, it seems strange that I’d waited for this long, because it’s really very fun.
I’ve always loved the dark countryside, it feels exciting. And being out this evening on pitch black country lanes with no one around was reminiscent of those teenage walks with friends where you’d venture into the night and it’d feel a bit spooky. The cool night air smelled somehow more aromatic than it does in the day, the farmyard manure scents stronger. We climbed up the long stretch of Brockley, and up again to the edge of Bristol Airport.
I’d done this route with Backwell Road Cycling Club once prior, and distinctly remember the chest pain and difficulty in climbing that accompanied it. Tonight however, I had a rocket tied to my bike. Must have been the fish pie at lunch.
Along with delicious night air, faff was another theme of the evening. The faff of the lights and unwanted layers was highly annoying and unsettled me, resulting in problems clipping in, on-off Garmin issues and to top it all off – a nice juicy shard of metal wedged firmly into my inner tube. This resulted in an opportunity to practise changing my inner, which took about 10 minutes and barely any help.
It was great to realise that winter doesn’t have to mean no mid week riding. With adequate lights it’s perfectly achievable to enjoy my Wednesday night blast, just as I had in the summer. This will become a welcome addition to my training, and I’m already looking forward to my next ride out with the group, cutting loose from a working Wednesday spent sat staring at the computer – filling my nostrils with stinky farmyard night country air with a TV theme tune in my head.