I spent the day and night yesterday up at Nant Bwlch yr Haearn above Betws y Coed with Jonathan from 1MTB1 being assessed for the Night Riding Module add-on to the Mountain Bike Leader qualification.
It was a fun and involving day, spent sharing knowledge with a few other lads (also being trained and assessed) – Ron from The Mountain Bike Rock School of Nottingham, racing-snake Ross from Carmathen, and all-round-mountain-dweller Mark from Anglesey. Plenty of wide-ranging mountain bike experience amongst the group led to some interesting and in-depth discussions about lights, clothing, weather conditions, trail choice, group management skills, and that was before we got out to ride some of the sweet re-engineered sections of the Marin trail.
It’s amazing how different a place can seem when you take the light away, and how your riding senses sharpen and adapt to the dark and the quiet. I find that hearing comes into play a lot more – the silence means that you could hear what the rider in front is doing, rather than watching them (last night that could just have been down to Ron’s Hope hubs though!).
Roll calls were the order of the day (night) – an important tool to ensure you’re not losing riders on the trail in the dark. Expect to hear the call ‘Schwing!’ on the trails at Coedy a bit more in the future!