Have fun but be prepared when you ride

by Andy Amick on October 1, 2011

in Cycling

Last night’s ride went something like this: A Southerner, Nebraskan, and Canadian head out for a fun easygoing ride after work.  The sun began to set when we were still a ways from the trailhead.  We decided to ride one last section and then ride the road back to the house.


This is where the “fun” begins.  Two of us wanted to ride a tricky uphill section while the other wanted to take the flatter route to the next intersection about 1/3 mile down the trail.  Me and the Nebraskan made it through the tricky section and stopped at the intersection as it was beginning to get quite dark.  After waiting for a few minutes, our Canadian did not show.  Crap, crap, crap.


Luckily I had my Princeton Tec EOS light on my bike.  Me and the Nebraskan rode back up the trail the Canadian was supposed to be on.  That’s when we spotted a little side trail that headed off towards the road.  He couldn’t possibly have taken that trail could he?  Not sure of the answer, we headed down the trail towards the road.  We passed a guy flying a kite in the darkness that had now settled on us (Side note – who flies a kite in the dark???).  He had not seen any cyclists which means our Canadian is still on the trail.


More backtracking and calling out for our friend yielded no sign of him.  We tried to call his phone but there was no answer which led to more backtracking in the dark.  Did he miss all of the turns and head back out on the backside of the trail?  It’s completely dark and we are hoping that he’s not lost out there.


Finally, there is the chirp chirp of a text message that says “I’m back at my car at your house”.  We’re thinking that the Canadian is one funny guy sending something like that.  How is it possible that he is back at the house when the kite flying guy saw no one come by and how could he have gotten back to the house already?


I guess our roaming around in the dark took longer than we thought, but the Canadian really was back at the car and he was wondering where the hell we were.  We hopped onto the road and made it back to the house where we all had a few laughs over the adventure.


In the end, everyone was safe and we have more stories to tell round the campfire or bar table.  We did one stupid thing – breaking the cardinal rule of staying together when on the trail. We also did two smart (relative term for us) things by having a light and phone with us.


During this time of year when the sun is setting much earlier, make sure you are prepared to get home safely.  Bring a trail light that is bright enough to light the trail, a phone, extra food, and even a first aid kit.  Also, make sure someone knows where you are going and what time you are expected to return.


Rides like this are the reason I created OutThere kits.  You never know when one wrong turn can change your 1 hour ride into a 2 or 3 hour night riding ordeal, but with an OutThere kit you are prepared to handle the situation.


PS – Never, ever, ever believe what you hear from a guy flying a kite in the dark!  The Canadian must have ridden right by the kite guy when he was not looking.

About Andy Amick
A little bit nutty in general, a lotta bit nutty about bikes. Each of his boys received a bike helmet for their first birthday and the three of them have been biking together ever since.

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