Clear skies and a full moon will make for great night riding conditions this weekend. And despite all the uncertainty this year, its pretty much certain that there will be a full moon for Hogmanay too. So make sure you get those bike lights for Christmas and make a plan.
British cycling has a great course on night riding for coaches and guides. Here are a few of my top tips.
Late Back Protocol - Make sure someone at home knows where you are going and when you plan to be back. This is standard practice on big rides, but with the increased cold and risks it could be important even on a local night ride. Make sure they know how to contact you, and then the police.
Rider Visibility - Riders need to be seen but not dazzle. A modest amount of reflective material, such as bands or spots on arms and legs is enough to ensure riders don't get separated. Same goes for rear lights; turn them off while riding off-road to improve the night vision of those riding behind.
Keep in contact - Things go wrong, and quickly, when riders lose contact with the group. Getting a phone out and making a call may put things right, but takes those few seconds that are key for staying together. Give a shout out early, or better still, get a whistle on your rucksack to raise the alarm before your friends disappear to far off down the gnarly, dark fork in the trail.
On a moonlit ride it is good to get out of the trees. A few places near Aberdeen are Brimmond Hill, Hill of Fare, Bennachie and the coastal trails. Remember to check the Aurora Watch App for the northern lights and down load your Stargazer App.
Aurora Borealis over Bennachie (Photo: Gordon Watt)