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Adventures for All

Night Mountain Biking – McDowell Mountain Regional Park

Darkness settles on the land …

Mountain biking in the moonlight is back: McDowell Mountain Regional Park once again has its night mountain bike rides going for the summer. The May 25 ride was the second of the season, and the first of the year for me. As always, it was a treat to be out there at this excellent park with other mountain bikers after sunset.

I had a few things occur to me as I rode. I pass these along as some food for thought. Make of them what you will.

1. I saw plenty of riders with their lights fired up even before the sun dropped below the horizon. Don’t do that – save your batteries for when you need them.

2. My budget light system is adequate for night mountain biking. But I basked in the glow of people laying out 1,500 lumens. I stayed behind slower riders a few times just to light-swipe them.

3. Speaking of that budget system – two of my three batteries conked out prematurely. Fortunately, I got an early start and finished before the last light flamed out. I considered tagging along with other mountain bikers in case I lost it.

Getting some lean into a corner.

4. You’ll run into all sorts of cool people at the trail. And I don’t mean me! I bumped into Bill from Adventure Bicycle Company, the very same awesome shop where I once sold bikes and spun wrenches. He solved my lighting woes with a shiny new NiteRider system.

5. I didn’t spot many creatures … just a few bunnies and mice. No tarantulas this time! At McDowell Mountain Regional Park, you can sometimes even spot desert tortoises or snakes. Fun!

6. There was a stiff wind coming out of the west, which made for a slow slog on the climbs On the back side, though, a body my size is like having a sail!

7. The mountain biking community has one awesome advocate in Rand Hubbell, the supervisor of McDowell Mountain Regional Park. Mountain bikers talked him into being the first government park to offer an organized night ride – and he’s never looked back. He always looks for new features to add, and he drops good words for mountain bikers to other government officials so they’ll recognize s for the awesome economic boon that we are.

Saguaros in the sunset.

8. The Pemberton Trail at McDowell Mountain Regional Park is perfect for night mountain biking – rippin’ fast fun, not too technical, a good length for some exercise. Mountain bikers of any caliber will have fun … especially at night.

9. A big thank-you to Fountain Hills Bikes for the brats and hot dogs.

10. I don’t know who was responsible for the huge TV screen that played Adam Sandler’s Oscar-winner “The Waterboy,” but thanks! That added some post-ride fun.

11. I lost one of my new gloves. But sometimes, you have to look on the bright side … it gave me a chance to tweet this funny:

Justin Schmid@wandering_j

@MCParks That ride was a Thriller, and I got Bad about keeping track of the gloves and Beat It before I knew what happened.

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