Riding skills video: How to ride fast at night
10 March 2010 15:21
Riding at night demands a great deal of smoothness, but to be smooth it's necessary to read the road ahead
On a track day, once you've completed a couple of laps, you pretty much know where you're going.
Riding on the road couldn't be more different and you need a whole different set of skills.
All sorts of information can be picked out of the darkest night, but you have to work all the harder with what information can be obtained.
While erring on the side of caution, practice spotting clues as to where the road goes and what you're likely to encounter and you can give yourself an extra edge.
Road markings, lines of cat¹s eyes and signs are picked out by the weakest edges of a headlight's beam and can tell you in which direction the road's going - and to some extent will indicate the severity of bends.
They¹re useful, but often won't let you know about the kink right before the proper left so use them as guidance only.
The spacing of white lines can clearly be picked out at night and work as possible hazard indicators.
Extended centre-lines are a warning of junctions and not only the chance of something pulling out, but also poor surfaces where vehicles from minor roads and plant crossings have been dropping muck and debris.
If you can lift your vision from the headlight's beam, you might see telegraph poles and trees outlined against the sky, telling you where the road goes next, or pick out a distant headlight that will dazzle in the next few minutes.
Every scrap of road info can help you through to spring...