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Nov
23

A hard days night!

Head down, pedalling fast, riding into the wind, cinders crunch beneath our tyres, steel rails long since removed.

Eyes search for unseen fast approaching hazards, trail flat, black, snaking, disappearing into the darkness.  I recall from a previous ride that the trail has dropped down the hillside in one place, where?  I can't remember.

Lights pierce blackness, twisting, turning, darkness and shadows, moments to react, I chance a hand off the bars to re adjust my light, eyes focused ahead, trying not to look down.  This isn't the right trail, a missed turn, thankfully noticed before we had gone too far.

Ruts!  The trail splits, I take one, hoping that it doesn't veer off down the hillside into the wilds of the Yorkshire Moors, momentarily my wheels are either side of the rut, the bike crabs down the trail before the tracks converge.

Behind me I hear a cry, followed by a thud, then laughter, whoever it is has just hit mother earth, unhurt, only pride taken a bruising.  We stop, four lights streaming into the night.  Bike and rider reunited, reaching the head of the valley, turning, wind on our backs, the pace quickens.

We pick our way through bogs and sodden earth, mud beneath our tyres and feet, squelching, oozing, wheels used as depth probes before committing our weight.

Wetland behind us.  The surface changes to hard pack earth, a short climb, a steep drop encourages us to stay upright and we exercise caution lest we tumble downwards.  The trail disappears over a blind crest, falling away, up on the pedals, weight over the back, brakes squealing we pick our way down.  I need more light, 900 lumens is not enough, how can that be?

Dark ruins lie, long since abandoned to the ravages of weather, stonework tumbling, overgrown, nature blanketing, enveloping, reclaiming from the industrial revolution.

Trail widening we pedal side by side, easing back on grassy double track, smiles and chatter, we agree that single track night riding is an experience not to be missed.

As the longer nights are upon us we renew our night riding commitment.  Days spent in office staring out at blue skies translates into battery charging, light fitting after work pedalling.

Everything seems so much quicker after the sun goes down, we stop turning off our lights, revelling in the peace and quiet the moment offers, farmhouse lights twinkle through the end of day hours, no streetlights, moon and stars obscured by clouds, only our heavy breathing breaking the silence.

The last section awaits, legs burning, lungs bursting we launch from trail to tarmac and slowly spin back to the van.  the pub beckons but so do our beds.  changing by bike lights, snacking on pasties and rolls, our mud covered bikes and kit litter the back of the van.  A drive home, All in agreement that more must follow.

I'll send an email in the morning!