It’s thirty minutes past sunset, darker in the woods. The climb up got me warm enough to get loose, and took enough time for the weed to kick in. My movements smooth, mind clear, the bike all but disappeared below me.
After an hour and change amongst the towering redwoods and Spanish moss, toward my exit from the trees and single track; there is a small, unnamed, canyon, closer to a gulch… and its a little ripper of a turn. The false flat descent tightens up into the curve from the double track with just enough room to slip through before opening back up, if executed correctly, and with a little luck… one retains the needed momentum to slingshot out of the turn and stay on top of the gear to cleanly and almost effortlessly glide over the next rise. Its pretty awesome to pull off, especially at night.
My feet level as I slide behind the saddle and trace my planned trajectory to the apex of the turn. A full commitment to a single point through the tunnel illuminated by a thousand lumen driving me hard to the apex when out of nowhere hooting and hollering snapped my attention.
Pounding down the other side was a pair of blue adventure moto style LEDs aggressively consuming the meager beam that guides my way.
Fists full of brakes.
Skids to halt
Meeting the blinding eyes at the point of no return.
The knobs of our tires rest mere moments away as dust like fog snakes in the light amongst the spokes.
Before I finished exhaling the brace for impact he bellows;
“This is the first time I’ve ever ridden at night!
It’s FUCKING AWESOME!”
In an instant, Occam’s Razor groomed away everything but the laughter pouring from our souls.
And we laughed our fucking asses off.
As the final chuckles faded, our quick banter and his yield had me out of the saddle, grinding up the rise.
And that’s when it was presented.
Dripping Fox from full face to fingers, fresh 5Tens on his feet, the 36mm stanchions gleaming in the light matched the twinkles in his eye, which were simply the reflection in his goggles of my light along with the monstrous display mounted on his stem. The behemoth had a wig of wires draped across the bow, like what it looks like when someone rips a stereo out of an old car.
Goddamn it looks comically heavy.
Just like this situation.
I don’t want fucking Ebikes on these trails that you can easily ride to from downtown. They are shared use with hikers and walkers, and some are open to equestrians (Ebike vs. horse is when its gunna get serious for everyone – lets hope it never happens). Lets be real here, this is just not the place for bikes that have that much power. Plus, on these kind of trails, they are usually found under lesser skilled riders which of course is why they don moto make-up. They are already banned, but no one gives a shit and it is not rare to come apon a huddle of these dudes measuring dicks.
However, when the place is empty and dark enough that you actually need a light, you will see each other coming long before you would during the day. That means it is safer to ride as fast as one likes, because the blind turns are far less blind. And riding at night makes you a better rider when it comes to line choice and committing. That makes it much safer for him as well, especially because he also recognized the impending collision and took evasive maneuvers.
This dude is having the absolute time of his life safely riding a FUCKING EBIKE at night and is projecting it in such a powerfully positive and infectious way, that he had me laughing my ass off and I am better for it.