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Night Riding History
by Harold Bridge

Questions are being raised about the concept of evening starts for Brevets.
As far as I can remember I did my first over night ride in 1944.
(I am not able recollect those night time rides I might have done on the child's seat on the family tandem).
What made night riding particularly exciting was the fact that war time regulations required shades on lamps.
We could just as well done without "Never Ready" lights on the twisting country lanes.
In 1983 I had PBP aspirations and so did a full series.
The 400, perhaps the best distance for an overnighter, that year started in someone's house in East Vancouver, went out through Fort Langley and crossed in the USA with a grotty finish through Surrey and over the Pattullo.
I think we slower riders started at 19:00 while the faster riders started an hour later.
The initial Cache Creek 600, 1991, had an optional overnight start.
That year's Centennary of PBP required riders to be better prepared than in the past.
By starting a 400 in the evening there is a full night in which inadequate lighting and its inadequate mounting can be exposed. Better to do that during the 400 than during PBP.
(Since those days bike lighting facilities have improved of course)
More recently, in 2003, we planned the "Vee" 400. The starting point in Langley, Friday evening, needed improvement, but otherwise riders, including the contingent from Olympia, were complimentary about the route.
Using as many back roads as possible the route went to Hope, and west to Mission before returning to Hope and eventually Langley.


January 19, 2010