Night riding is something all mountain bikers should experience at least once.

Wrap up warm, break out the lights and hit the trails after dark.

There's something exhilarating about riding fast in a narrow beam of light, with no distractions. Familiar trails take on a whole different shape.

The technology has improved so much over the years with powerful LED lights and smaller, less weighty batteries. There's no longer a need for wires to a motorcycle battery sitting like a brick in a backpack.


The first times I went riding at night were with locals who really knew the forest and there were moments when I had no idea where we were - hang on and follow the leader.

It wasn't only the excess weight of the batteries that was the difference, back then, it was the life of their charge. Every so often, the last kilometre or so to home would involve some guess work.

And the soup or stew in front of the fire never tasted so good.

The thrill of night riding is still the same. Something else that hasn't changed is the beauty of the night riding images local photographers have captured.

Like this one by a young Rotorua photographer, Robbie Dalziel of the Rotorua Mountain Bike Club's cross country night racing.

"It was on a beautiful winter evening on the Arepa trail with the back drop of the city," he said.

"I've always been into the trails in Rotorua and have recently found a passion for photography."

In only a year-and-a-half, the 15 year-old has gone from using a GoPro to a very expensive DSLR.


"It's the joy of finding a good shot and seeing the reaction on people's faces that keeps me trying and experimenting.

"I think mountain biking is a fairly easy sport to photograph as there aren't that many rules or limits."

As well as improving his photography skills he's also using it to help forward his MTB lifestyle.

"Although mountain biking is fun, it's quite expensive, so I'm using photography as a way to earn a bit of money to pay for the ongoing cost of my 2017 Specialized Stumpjumper.

"As time goes on I'd like to earn a little more money doing some event and freelance photography and work my way up."

His focus is on the youth of Rotorua.

"They love the hard core trails like the Taniwha/National Downhill and Te Rua, which is also my favourite," Robbie said.

"But I'll take photos of anyone having a good time and that's rapidly expanding to wider age groups and people. Events such as Crankworx, Rotorua Mountain Bike's Low Key Super D, Cyclezone Ladies Shuttle Night and the Rotorua Bike Festival have helped me gain skills and exposure."

The Boss Lights Wednesday Night XC rides run by the Rotorua Mountain Bike Club have been going for years and are always a big success. They're all through winter ending in mid-September when daylight saving returns.

Registration is at 6.30pm, racing from 7pm, it's only $3 and there is a barbecue. Join the club - - and like their Facebook page for all the latest news.