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Thread: Night Riding

  1. #1
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    Night Riding

    Anyone have any night riding experience? I am looking to get start at night and don't know of any good lights that I should buy. Any suggestions? What kind of trails would I be looking for if I was to night ride? Thanks
    Pooty Tang

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    52-week commuter DCCommuter's Avatar
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    Ask in the commuting forum. Even better, search there. It's a constant topic of discussion there; most commuters ride in the dark when the season requires it.

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    beginner budster's Avatar
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    I'm not sure whether you're talking about commuting (riding for business/errands) or recreational riding (riding for fun/fitness). Your mention of trails suggests rec riding.

    If you're talking about commuting, try the commuting forum. If you're talking about rec riding, you may want the Mountain Biking forum.

    In either case, good luck and have fun!
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    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Go to the first post in the "light selection guide" thread. Read the whole thing carefully. Go to the links that show what the beams of different lights look like.
    Look at the chart linked that has specs on just about all lights.

    Selecting a light usually revolves around...

    How fast do you want to be able to go? How powerful in other words. This considers the weather and other conditions too.

    How long does the light need to run?

    What is your budget?

    Try and use the above to narrow down your choices, there are many, many, choices.

    With the correct light you can ride any kind of trail you want to.
    There are many experienced high mileage after dark riders on the forums. If you can narrow things down a bit you can get some good advice.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    Pooty tang- check out www.bicyclelights.com. He sells a 30 watt (15+15) headlight-battery-charger-2 spare bulbs for ~$100 delivered.This is the best watts per dallar deal I found.The only downsides are no automatic shutoff of charger(I plug it in when about 10 pm,and unplug it 1st thing when I get up at 6-9 am),and the battery is heavy(all the batteries that store this much energy are-maybe 1000 grams).
    I mainly street ride at night now;a bright light is critical.I usually use just one 15 watt.The battery is good for about 1.5 hrs or so.Luck,Charlie

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    Ride the Road Daily Commute's Avatar
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    Read the thread 2manybikes mentioned to learn the basics. Then, get the brightest, longest-lasting lights you can afford. Then, get a smaller light to use as a back up when your good light burns out five minutes into your ride.

    A reflective vest greatly increases visability.

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    Senior Member Paul L.'s Avatar
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    If you are on roads, you can get some reflective tape at most autoparts stores. I like to put the white tape on the rims and the red tape down the seat stays. Some white tape on the forks works good too. The tape shouldn't replace lights but boosts your visibility in addition to lights.
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    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daily Commute
    get a smaller light to use as a back up when your good light burns out five minutes into your ride

    Don't admit that you forgot to recharge your good light.



    Experience is a great teacher.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    Senior Member cyclezealot's Avatar
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    Reflective vests to make you feel really safe. I get flashed by oncoming traffic half a mile down the road. One concern. At intersections.does traffic see me coming from a side profile. Reason I wear flashing ankle straps. I suspect those really give you away from all directions.

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    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    I think that DC, DCC & 2manybikes are right about the Commuting forum. That's the best place on the web that I know of to find out about lighting and reflective gear.

    But there is more than that to night riding. I can think of a couple suggestions, and maybe others will add to the list.

    For one thing, slow down a tad. Even with great lights, you might not see crap in the road. I had a serious fall on my bike at night, riding fast. I found a 4 inch bolt while I was looking for my glasses and stuff, so probably road debris caused the fall. If I'd been going just a bit slower, it wouldn't have been as bad.

    I like to ride more toward the center of the lane at night, or even the left side of the lane. This gives me more visibility and more reaction time/space for what I consider a big danger at night--cagers turning right or left into your path.

    Finally, be VERY ALERT at night, and very willing to yield the right of way to motorists who might not see you. I sometimes slow way down--or even stop-- right in the middle of the lane and wait until I'm sure a turning driver--from any direction--sees me. (Obviously I do this only when I'm sure there's no traffic behind me.)


    "Think Outside the Cage"

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    Hardtail WorldWind's Avatar
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    I have done quite a bite of off road night riding and have some very specific ideas on what I like and think is functional.

    I use a couple of systems that I have settled on over the years.

    The general consensus of the riders I roll with on these nocturnal excursions is… that the use of artificial lighting should be limited to ‘only as needed’ re: fast technical descents and covered sections of trail require descent light, open trails and climbing in the moonlight dictate no artificial light that will spoil your night vision. Racing at night on the other hand calls for lots of light and the ability to blind your opponents.

    I use a Nightsun helmet mounted dual lamp with a belt pack that I got from Cantina about 15 years ago. After about 5 years of use the batteries lost their ability to hold a charge for the required 4 hours and I cut open the waterproof pack and replaced the batteries with Li-ion cells. At the same time I replaced the coil-cord and connector with a thinner flat cord and NAS quick disconnect that incorporated a glove mounted kill switch branch that could route under my jersey.

    The bike also has mounted lights, and a separate bottle cage mounted battery pack of my own design and construction. They are multiple element high intensity LED’s that attach to the brazeon at each dropout. The forward two are 3/4 inch in diameter and 1 inch long each contain eight bulbs that point straight down the trail. The rear two are 5/16 inch in diameter and 3/4 inch long each have one bulb that is pointed straight down at the ground and can be turned on separately from the fronts.

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    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody
    I think that DC, DCC & 2manybikes are right about the Commuting forum. That's the best place on the web that I know of to find out about lighting and reflective gear.

    But there is more than that to night riding. I can think of a couple suggestions, and maybe others will add to the list.

    For one thing, slow down a tad. Even with great lights, you might not see crap in the road. I had a serious fall on my bike at night, riding fast. I found a 4 inch bolt while I was looking for my glasses and stuff, so probably road debris caused the fall. If I'd been going just a bit slower, it wouldn't have been as bad.

    I like to ride more toward the center of the lane at night, or even the left side of the lane. This gives me more visibility and more reaction time/space for what I consider a big danger at night--cagers turning right or left into your path.

    Finally, be VERY ALERT at night, and very willing to yield the right of way to motorists who might not see you. I sometimes slow way down--or even stop-- right in the middle of the lane and wait until I'm sure a turning driver--from any direction--sees me. (Obviously I do this only when I'm sure there's no traffic behind me.)
    Good suggestions Roody. Another good reason to ride out in the travel lane is that it is cleaner,
    less trash, sand, etc. and other hard to see things.

    My experience over the last decade has convinced me that brighter lights/reflectors all around are better than trying to save a few bucks.

    If you are on a long ride that started in the day, it will probably get colder at night. You could bring extra layers. If it is just over freezing and wet it may drop below freezing and make some ice.

    I have a $6 light, a Princeton Tech "Blast" it's 2aaa's. It's tiny and easy to carry. It has a pocket clip on one side, the pocket clip holds the light on my helmet visor if I have to work on my bike or look down into a bag.
    I have actually used it to ride with. It's a lot brighter than the little LED lights, it's halogen and goes about three hours.

    Check the appearance of your bike by taking it somewhere dark and walking away from it at all angles. See how your lights look to drivers. Bring a light and see how the reflectors look too
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  13. #13
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2manybikes
    I have a $6 light, a Princeton Tech "Blast" it's 2aaa's. It's tiny and easy to carry. It has a pocket clip on one side, the pocket clip holds the light on my helmet visor if I have to work on my bike or look down into a bag.
    I have actually used it to ride with. It's a lot brighter than the little LED lights, it's halogen and goes about three hours.

    Check the appearance of your bike by taking it somewhere dark and walking away from it at all angles. See how your lights look to drivers. Bring a light and see how the reflectors look too
    1. Where'd you get the little Princeton light? It sounds perfect as a supplemental.

    2. Another suggestion for the OP that your last paragraph brought to mind: Have a friend in a car check out how your lights look, or, better yet, have the friend ride your bike while you drive the car and see how the lights look in actual riding situations. Before I did that, I found a cop who was in a parking lot looking bored and asked him if he thought my lights were adequate.


    "Think Outside the Cage"

  14. #14
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roody
    1. Where'd you get the little Princeton light? It sounds perfect as a supplemental.

    2. Another suggestion for the OP that your last paragraph brought to mind: Have a friend in a car check out how your lights look, or, better yet, have the friend ride your bike while you drive the car and see how the lights look in actual riding situations. Before I did that, I found a cop who was in a parking lot looking bored and asked him if he thought my lights were adequate.
    Everyone loves this light, I ended up buying five or six for friends and family. I even have an extra one.
    It's a dive light, it's very waterproof.

    Here's one place

    http://www.diverssupplyusa.com/index...D&ProdID=16524

    If you go to Princeton Tech lights on line you can get to a list of on line suppliers (for scuba lights). I bought from two or three places. They had them also in my local mall at "Eastern Mountain sports".

    I think Campmor has them too.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  15. #15
    52-week commuter DCCommuter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WorldWind
    At the same time I replaced the coil-cord and connector with a thinner flat cord and NAS quick disconnect that incorporated a glove mounted kill switch branch that could route under my jersey.
    What's a "NAS quick disconnect" ?

  16. #16
    Hardtail WorldWind's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DCCommuter
    What's a "NAS quick disconnect" ?


    It’s an aerospace connector; Inline, stainless steel housing, sealed, four-conductor connector that connects and disconnects like an airline coupler. When connected the union is .40” in dia. and just under 3” long.

  17. #17
    Hardtail WorldWind's Avatar
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    My night rig is specifically set up for stealthy trail riding, not commuting, but if you are interested I could take some pictures.

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    HI RUBBER DUCKIE, I HAVE SOME NEAT LIGHTS ON MY BIKE FOR SAFETY. I AM STILL IN SEARCH FOR A REASONABLE HEADLIGHT SO FAR. BUT AS FAR AS SAFETY , CHECK THIS OUT. I BOUGHT SOME LED BLINKING SAFTEY LIGHTS. THEY CAME TWO WHITE ONES IN THE FRONT AND THREE RED ONES FOR THE REAR . THE NEAT THING ABOUT THIS IS, THEY DO NOT RUN ON BATTERIES. NOR IS THERE A CONVENTIONAL GENERATOR. THEY OPERATE OFF OF MAGNETS. SO THEY DONT COST ANYTHING AFTER THE INITIAL BUY. I THINK THATS COOL. JUST WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW ABOUT THAT. IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE JUST EMAIL ME. LATER .LIGHTS

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