Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Scaring yourself – a night riding confession

Posted by Matt | May 5, 2009 | 4 comments so far

Moon over Bagden Farm
Have you ever scared yourself on a solo night ride? I have, and following Mark’s impromptu write up of his solo ride home last week it seems I’m not alone. Nick shared his experiences in one of the comments and it got me thinking (and chuckling) that we can’t be the only ones to have spooked ourselves.

My worst experience happened one night riding home from work (bear with me if you’ve heard this before). It was a pretty dark night with rain and wind lashing around and hard going coming back from Reigate along the North Downs Way. Near the Pfizer building there’s a green lane that goes down into a steep cutting which you pick up about half way up if you’re coming from Reigate. It’s pretty steep and has lots of mud in winter and loose fist-sized flints which makes it a bit of an effort to ride up.

On this occasion I spun out about half way along it. I was already knackered having ridden up from Reigate Heath and as I stalled I was panting pretty loudly. My glasses quickly steamed up and as I stood there briefly trying to get the energy to climb back on the bike I started to think I was being watched. I had that horrible horror-movie seeing-yourself-as-a-third-person experience where I had an aerial view of myself standing all alone and worn out in the dark woods by myself.

As my glasses cleared I heard a noise and I looked up at the sides of the cutting, sweeping the top with my helmet light to see what was there. Suddenly, to my bowel-loosening terror I saw huge pairs of eyes reflected back and staring down at me from the top of the cutting. A whole herd of cows was leaning over the fence of the field up top, watching what I was doing. At the time there was an advert on the telly about cows wanting their milk back and I can tell you I thought my number was up (and I didn’t even have any milk with me)!!

I threw myself onto the bike, not quite voicing a scream but close enough to make my recent pink bike bits seem perfectly understandable, and scrabbled, bounced and clawed my way up the cutting and down the trail as fast as my legs would carry me. I only slowed up when my lungs threatened to implode from the effort and I’d reached the main road!! By then the bruises on my bashed shins from scuffing the pedals were starting make themselves felt too.

That’s my most memorable night ride terror although it’s by no means the only one. I’m sure it’s not just me and Nick who have had an attack of the night ride mimsies — please tell us if you’re feeling in confessional mood in the comments…

Filed under Lifestyle, Mutterings in May 2009


About the author

Matt is one of the founding Molefathers of the Muddymoles, and is the designer and main administrator of the website.

Having ridden a 2007 Orange Five for many years then a 2016 YT Industries Jeffsy 29er, he now rocks a Bird Aether 9 and a Pace RC-627.

An early On-One Inbred still lurks in the back of the stable as a reminder of how things have moved on. You can even find him on road bikes - currently a 2019 Cannondale Topstone 105 SE, a much-used 2011 Specialized Secteur and very niche belt drive Trek District 1.

If you've ever wondered how we got into mountain biking and how the MuddyMoles started, well wonder no more.

There are 4 comments on ‘Scaring yourself – a night riding confession’

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  1. Oliver says:

    While not a scary ride as such, I was riding home from work late one evening in autumn and as I passed the bus stop in St Johns, saw 3 skeletons all waiting for the bus. It took a double take and a several second “what the…” before I realized it was 31 October!

  2. Lee says:

    I’ve done one solo night ride, last summer. Kept hearing these god awful screams and noises. Thought someone was being murdered until I realised it was a bad Bee Gees tribute act at the Polesden Lacey Festival!

  3. Mike61 says:


    How familiar.

    The noise of the bike on solo night rides makes me think there is someone right behind me but when I look I am alone!! This has spooked me so badly that I don’t bother with solo night rides now – my heart can’t take it.

    Stanmer Park has some ‘interesting’ characters lurking about at night … if you know what I mean.

  4. Tim "Rohlly" N says:

    A few summers ago, I did my first solo night loop in Swinley Forest – only about 6 miles. Within the first half mile I got the brown-pant syndrome when a bright pair of fox-eyes stared out from a bush.

    Then, a few miles later I almost ended up with cardiac arrest when a dog ran out in front of me and its shadow-y owner appeared moments later watching me ride by (think “full-on axe murderer horror movie” and you get the general idea of what was going through my mind at that point, waiting to feel the business end of some metallic gardening instrument bite into the neck). My panic was only slightly abated when he casually called out, “Evening!” after I’d somehow managed to pedal 10 metres from him without collapsing.

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