Cycling at night brings a whole new dimension; it’s a unique experience enabling you to enter an alternative universe.

During the day you can see as far as the horizon, but at night your world becomes limited to the beam from your bike light and is reduced to the few metres in front of you. Your light provides a relatively short line of sight, only allowing you to see the world in 2D, a bit like looking at a photo. If you're a new starter, this takes some getting used to. As a night time cyclist you need to get used to where your light is coming from – people spend years working out whether they prefer head or bar mounted lights. Personally I prefer both, as when light comes solely from above you don’t see shadow so your depth perception drops – you need to train your mind to get used to this.

At night you have to rely on more than just your vision, letting your other senses like balance and hearing guide the way. It becomes more important not to focus on one specific point or on what is specifically in front of you but to pay attention to your entire surroundings. By all means look at obstacles immediately in front of you but also the trail far ahead. It is important to be able to switch between the two and also to the side in order for you to get your bearings and create a picture of the world around you. Choosing the right bike light from the huge range available is key to this.

When starting out into the world of night riding, training needs to be on trails that you know well and are comfortable with. Train as much as possible with a group as this will allow you to try other bike lights, both bar and head mounted in order to get a feel for each lights performance and your preferred option. Everyone will have a different opinion, so take your time to choose the right one for you.

When thinking of taking part in a long endurance race with a specific portion of night riding you need to be well organised. You need a light that performs well, illuminates the trail and keeps you alert. One that doesn’t weigh much is an advantage. However, reliability is key. Will you need a spare battery? I would always air on the side of caution and pop a spare in my pack; they really don’t weigh that much and without power for your light, any chance of completing your event is over.

Managing burn times is important, the more power you can save during a race/training ride, the more likely your light will last throughout the night. Remember that when cycling uphill in the dark you won’t need to set the light to full power (unless that is you’re capable of cycling at 30 – 40km/h.) This will save battery power for later and so with the push of a button you can reduce the beam when climbing and then increase the beam during those crazy descents.