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Old 09-15-13, 07:43 PM   #1
mrodgers
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First ride in the dark

So I waited for my wife to get home tonight before I went out on the bike. It was light when I left and dark when I got back.

Wow, that was super cool! Of course it wasn't on the road but down on my bike trail along the river. I went to a different spot which is only about 2.5 miles, but I left the trail when it ended and rode a dirt road that continues along the river. I rode about another 2 miles before I turned around. By that time it was dark. It is quite eerie and super cool being basically in the middle of the woods with a hill and woods to one side and the river to the other. Saw some folks coming back from fishing on the river cruising their boats down the river with their lights.

I only have 2 small multi-LED flashlights mounted to the bars, I think they are only 38 lumens each. Not very bright, but they were just for riding through the tunnels. Now with the dark coming early soon, I'll probably be out more often in the dark, definitely want to be out more often in the dark because it was so cool and need more light. The dual 38 lumen was fine, it would just be nice to have more, though I definitely would ride on the road this way.

My wife works at Lowes, thus I get 10% discount and they have an AAA 200 lumen flashlight for $9 that I think is similar size since it is still 3 AAA batteries. I am going to grab a pair of these to toss on the bike. I like the flashlight idea because they can serve dual purpose and be used at work which I am using a flashlight all the time or at home when I need a flashlight.

The only other thing that would be useful is a helmet mounted light. Hey, I want to be able to see that bear jumping out off the hill before it begins to eat me, LOL. I'll just let you guys worry about the cars out there on the road being able to see you, they don't jump out of the dark hillside and try to eat you .
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Old 09-15-13, 07:55 PM   #2
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Dedicated bike headlights are a good idea because they've got the right kind of clamps to go on the handlebar and the right kind of lens to light up the area right in front of you (not too wide a beam and not waaaaaay out ahead of you, either). I know the flashlight plus duct tape thing has versatility going for it, but "real" bicycle headlights have safety going for them and that counts a lot. Definitely get a flashing red rear light, too. Safety again being the thought -- bike trail or not. Good luck with your after dark riding and stay safe!
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Old 09-15-13, 08:26 PM   #3
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if you are not on the road for that ride then it sounds nice... but twilight is one of the most dangerous times to be riding... peoples eyes have a more difficult time seeing stuff at that time then either fully day or fully night time... so if i'm out on the road I prefer to wait just a little bit...

as for lights... for the price this is hard to beat http://www.amazon.com/Lumen-Bicycle-...rds=bike+light I'm planning on adding a second here soon just in case the first fails on a ride... plus a bit more light never hurt ... also if you are on the road at all get a rear blinky light....
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Old 09-15-13, 08:30 PM   #4
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I like the after dark rides. It extends my riding season and riding along the river here is pleasant after dark. (Except for the gnats)

I've tried the flashlight thing with some 200 lumen models. I really liked the beam spread on some of the coast flashlights, but my personal experience was they didn't have a very long runtime. I now use a 400 lumen Cygolite.
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Old 09-15-13, 09:07 PM   #5
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as for lights... for the price this is hard to beat http://www.amazon.com/Lumen-Bicycle-...rds=bike+light I'm planning on adding a second here soon just in case the first fails on a ride... plus a bit more light never hurt ... also if you are on the road at all get a rear blinky light....
+1 - I have this 'Magicshine' copy ($25) and an acutal Magicshine ($100), if anything the $25 light is BETTER than the $100 light. Good battery life of 3+ hours on a single charge . The output is breathtaking. Im about to dig mine out of the closet to re-mount it as the darker nights approach. I would buy another in a heartbeat.
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Old 09-16-13, 03:42 AM   #6
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Yes, I've seen that light recommended in just about every thread about lights and night riding. I know it sounds ridiculous but that is just too expensive for me when you include shipping. With my stupid medical insurance that I pay a lot of money for every pay hardly paying anything medical related, I just have no cash left from simple doctor visits for the kids. It is why I don't go to the doctor myself. Tomorrow is probably going to put me straight into the poor house because I'm going for a cholesterol check (cholesterol and blood pressure is why I started riding the bike. The annual check at work isn't enough.)

I already do have a red blinky on the seat. I have a Bell seat I got when I got the bike years ago that has a pretty nice wide multi LED light on it. It's brighter than I see with most people who turn a rear blinky on for the tunnels on the bike trail.

Maybe next year when I get the new bike with my small tax return, I'll probably outfit with that light in the link always recommended.

Oh, also, we don't seem to have too much twilight here in PA where I'm at. Like I've mentioned before, I don't ride on the road because most of the hills around me are 10+% grade hills and there isn't a flat section anywhere. It is all mountains which means it is light up until the sun goes below the tree lines on the distant hills and we probably have about 5 minutes and it is completely dark. It is such a dramatic change seeing the sun rising or setting any time we are away from home the few times we've been on vacation in the past.

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Old 09-16-13, 03:49 AM   #7
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I went out for a night ride for the first time recently. My local 15 mile ride has a 6 mile stretch of WW2 tarmac'd road that runs through farmland in the middle of absolutely nowhere. It has trees either side so it's a bit like a tunnel and the tarmac is all heaved and cracked up. I had a Hope Vision One on the front to light up the road but it was still SPOOKY in the pitch dark and driving rain!
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Old 09-16-13, 05:40 AM   #8
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Sounds like a wonderful ride. Our trail shuts down at dusk.
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Old 09-16-13, 05:57 AM   #9
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Sounds like a wonderful ride. Our trail shuts down at dusk.
You know, I have no idea if they are "closed" at dusk or not. But I am out in the middle of nowhere and there isn't anyone around that would shut any gates (I think there is a gate at the trailhead on the main one I ride, but there is 30 other trailheads along the 34 miles that don't have gates,) nor would there be anyone around to see me riding on the trail. Thus, I'm going to ride whether they are "closed" or not. If I didn't, I'd have just a few weeks left of riding since it will be dark soon right after dinner which is when I can ride during the week.
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Old 09-16-13, 06:25 AM   #10
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The twofish lock block velcro mount for a few dollars is great for a flashlight.
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Old 09-16-13, 08:09 AM   #11
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I ride at night about once a week. I have a nice rear blinkie and a forward blinkie and I wear a headlamp (strap around the forehead). I really enjoy my night rides.

Obviously there are dangers and you have to do what you can to reduce the danger but if you know all that then it can be fun. I know it is simply a matter of time before I have a deer blindside me or I run over an obstruction on the bike path that I cannot avoid, etc. It's going to happen but I accept that and go out anyway.
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Old 09-16-13, 09:30 AM   #12
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mrodergers... understand the finaces thing... been there and done that... but on amazon if you look below the initial price info and specifics in small print it has a link you can buy it from or used prices... it looks like at this second you can get it for $23.01 shipped.

so when it gets to that time you can save a few bucks if you shop on amazon... just watch shipping times, lots of times they ship it from Hong Kong so you won't see it for nearly a month.
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Old 09-16-13, 09:32 AM   #13
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I've fallen in love with night riding; friends and I were just sitting around last night talking about lights and what works. I am still riding in daylight at last for the next month or so but come October, I will be using lights. I have a dedicated night riding bike I called the "Frankenweenie". It was an old mountain bike frame I added parts and road slicks. It can move fairly well but gives me just a little more stablity for hazards on the road I can't see... that said I purchased a Nightrider Lumina 650 last year. I seldom ever use it on the high setting. The low (200 lumens) gives me 5 hrs of time (but I seldon ride more than 2 at night). The light mounts on the handlebar and does a great job lighting up the trail. The only thing I hate about night riding is car headlights... they tend to blind me. I have found a MUP that is far and away from any car traffic but its too short. May have to get out ont he road but that scares me abit... drivers here tend to be very distracted...

BTW the light is not cheap but is on sale on Amazon right now for $109. It's well worth the investment. The light is very lighweight, recharges like a cell phone and has good time and range.
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Old 09-17-13, 08:36 AM   #14
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First ride in the dark

There's a few of us here that do a night ride, road to gravel to paved greenway. It's creepy down the gravel roads and you hear/see things you aren't used to haha. I always get that free flashlight from Harbor Freight and they work great. I use these mounts for all my bikes. Bicycle Bike Flashlight LED Torch Mount Holder 360 rotation Cycling Clip Clamp
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Old 09-17-13, 08:42 AM   #15
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I went out for a night ride for the first time recently. My local 15 mile ride has a 6 mile stretch of WW2 tarmac'd road that runs through farmland in the middle of absolutely nowhere. It has trees either side so it's a bit like a tunnel and the tarmac is all heaved and cracked up. I had a Hope Vision One on the front to light up the road but it was still SPOOKY in the pitch dark and driving rain!
I have freaked myself out several times. I was in high school in the 80s and there were many slasher films around then. Once in the distance I noticed two sets of glowing eyes looking back at me around my eye height. I KNEW they were two deer but I didn't KNOW THAT I KNEW until I got right on them and sure enough, two deer.
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Old 09-17-13, 08:07 PM   #16
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I ride in the dark every weekday morning at about 5:15am to 6:15am. I love it when the traffic is light and the air is cool. I have never been a morning person in my life, but am slowly becoming one due the pleasurable riding. My last leg home is from the West to the East, and I am typically treated to a great sunrise behind the mountains. I even get up early on Saturdays and Sundays to start my weekend rides before the sun comes up.

I have yet to ride my Mt. Bike on the trails at night. I would think two headlights would be the best setup for that type of riding. One hard mounted to the bars and one mounted to the helmet.

As for lights, I use a Night Rider 650. It was quite pricey, but it is compact and I feel worth it. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
On the rear, I use a Portland Design Works Danger Zone. Works great. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 09-17-13, 08:15 PM   #17
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That's what I have to do every morning now as I ride to work fairly early in the morning. My 250 lumen Serfas headlight is bright enough for me, yet there are a lot of things on the road that I wish I could see better. The autumn approaches fast - pretty soon I will be riding both ways in the dark.
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Old 09-18-13, 09:26 AM   #18
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I like the after dark rides. It extends my riding season and riding along the river here is pleasant after dark. (Except for the gnats)

I've tried the flashlight thing with some 200 lumen models. I really liked the beam spread on some of the coast flashlights, but my personal experience was they didn't have a very long runtime. I now use a 400 lumen Cygolite.
+1 on Cygolite. Night Rider lights are good too. I think you can get away with as little as 150 lumens, 200 better, and the most you can afford is what you should get. I prefer rechargeable (not disposable batteries), and I also would look at run time; 3 hours is the least I would consider. I usually run at a lower setting to get more run time, and only go to the high setting if I need it for visibility (like along the dark areas of the river).

And boy do I know what you mean about the gnats, Spiff. It was funny- last night's ride was almost fully bug free along the river (starting from Bellaire) until I crossed the Tilley Bridge. The downtown side of the river between there and 10th Street was a gnat smorgasbord - YUM!
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Old 09-18-13, 10:32 AM   #19
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Sounds like a wonderful ride. Our trail shuts down at dusk.
I think our trail officially closes at about 10 pm, but you still see people out there.
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Originally Posted by bragi "However, it's never a good idea to overgeneralize."
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Old 09-18-13, 10:37 AM   #20
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lol @ doohickie on the gnats... gnats up the mouth is never fun but i've always found it worse to breathe them up the nose grr...
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Old 09-18-13, 11:38 AM   #21
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I ride in the dark every morning these days. I take off around 6:15 and sun comes up around 7:15am.

I have an Urban 550 in the front and a bright USB rechargable blinking rear link. I find that both make it much safer than dim lights and/or reflectors. The bright blinking red LED on the back really makes people take notice and be careful. I'm not sure if they think its a cop or something, but they slow way down and pass really wide.
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Old 09-19-13, 02:19 PM   #22
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Not all that long from now it will be dark when I leave the office to ride home.
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Old 09-19-13, 03:27 PM   #23
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I still love riding at night!
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Old 09-19-13, 04:33 PM   #24
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I also like to ride in the dark. I use dual Urban 550s, Vis 360+ on my helmet, and Vis 180 on the rear. All USB rechargeable. The reason I use 3 front lights is during the day I run helmet and bike light blinking, but when I'm out later (or really early), I run either bike light on high or medium and helmet blinking. And on the back roads, I'll doing one light steady, with the other light blinking and helmet light blinking...
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