I had my first night-time desert experience this summer. "Eggcellent Smithers" would be my assesment. It was a full moon and fantatstic! The temp was around 100 in death valley and in the 70's in the high desert. It was a tad disconcerting to see these huge birds on the road eating carryon and flying over me at the last minute as I streaked through the hot night air. I swore I would hit one.......
I rode through Nevada and California desert through the night during a 24 hour rally.
Joe Bob says, check it out!
P.S. Riding across the Black Rock dessert in the dark on a street bike is kinda exciting in it's own way too!
What a fun and twisted read. However, in my area (mid-Atlantic) I have a whole buncha deer that like to feed at night and it hurts when you hit 'em. (They don't like it either.) They also tend to travel in packs of 10 or more so the chances of hitting one go way up as you enter one of their traveling pods. Trying to play dodge ball with them brings the trees into play. For my eastern brethern, I suggest letting the folks at Baja Designs do a stator rewind for the XR and then stick a set of flame- thrower lights up front. Star & moon-light might work out west but here in the east I recommend good lights in the night. One of those snake lights sure come in handy when you break down in the dark. Even an IndiGlo watch is some help. Thanks for a very different perspective.
I love to ride at night, and also have a dual sported XR600 w/ supertrapp. (Only 8 discs, I have neighbors) And since I have the stock 35w stator, it doesn't really matter if I have the light turned on or off..
Here in Va we are lousy w/ deer and that's a big worry, but I usually don't go too fast at night, and they hear me and get out of the way. My number one nighttime scourge: this time of year we are loaded with spiders.. That may sound girly, but man I don't want to share my helmet w/ a dadgum spider. Most all the trails around here are through the woods. In the fall big fat spiders have set up shop between every other tree. A lot of times you can see it coming, but rarely can stop in time and can't leave the trail unless you'd rather hit a tree. So you brake and slide and duck when you see 'em in time and run face first through the web when you don't. The spider, some as big as your thumb, might end up right between your eyes.. That's bad enough but what worse he only sits there for a second before he runs and hides.. If you're lucky, straight down your nose and out the bottom. If not you feel him trying to wriggle in there by your ear. It's enough to make a grown man throw his bike down and start slapping at his helmet and squealing like a little girl. DAMHIK.
I learned about night vision some years ago when I was coming home on leave from the army. The generator on my old bathtub Volvo went out with about 50 miles to go. I had to kill the lights so the engine would continue to run on the battery. I made it! With all the lights off, I could see just great from the stars and about half-a-moon. Luckily, it was around three am and I got no hassle from the law or from the headlights of other drivers.
Great story...remember being able to switch off the headlight and enjoy the full moon. The real reason for the reply is has anyone noticed what I call headlight fixation at night. I seem to initially really focus on the leading edge of my illuminated vision and when the road is curvy have to make a conscious effort to follow the road not the beam. Really glad the multistrada has g good headlight-my ST4 was criminally poor. Don
I mostly enjoy night time off road riding in the winter. Here in Quebec we have plenty of good trails in the winter, the only problem being that snowmobile guys tend to get pretty upset when they see a bike on their turf.
Night time riding, with or without (when I'm sure not to encounter any sled) light is a blast in thoses trails.
Interesting article and for me, timely. A couple of weekends ago, I rode at night (new moon) for the first time in several years. Zipping around a corner, I nearly centerpunched a deer and had an "ah-ha" moment. The deer in question was fully illuminated by my ST11's dual 45's on high. The poor bambi could not get traction...those hooves were smokin as she tried to burn out and get outta my way.
Next time I ride at night, the old throttle will be down a notch. If I ever start riding more at night, more candlepower will be in order.
Some of my best and most memorable rides have been at night. Thanks to the author for reminding me.
I fully understand and embrace the night-ride ethos for I was the host of several "Worship the Moon Goddess" mountainbike rides in the San Francisco Bay Area - during full moons of course. Martin's advice is very wise and holds for mountain biking as well as motorized biking. Ride safe.
I live in Eastern KY and definately agree - I ran into a web (complete w/ big hairy) and immediately turned loose of the handlebars and started trying to get my helmet off w/o unstrapping it! I crashed shortly after that, but the spider managed to get away unscathed.
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