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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 10-31-06, 09:40 PM   #1
RoseInOregon
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Riding in fog

Anyone here travel regularly in heavy fog (the weather, not the state of mind )? We get some really thick soup here in the valley, and it worries me more than rain or dark of night.

Obviously, being visible is paramount, and so is being able to see. Any of you light wizards--and you know who you are--have experience with cutting through fog?

(BTW, I did a forum search for "fog" and related entries, and was surprised to get zipola.)
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Old 10-31-06, 09:48 PM   #2
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We get our fair share of fog here in the Puget Sound area and after Monday morning I concluded that I will not ride in the fog cause if you can't see a car until you are right up on them imagine how you or me look even with our blinding blinkie lights and reflective clothing, naw I'll drive the truck and save the bike for a really cold clear day like today was
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Old 10-31-06, 10:53 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stringbreaker
We get our fair share of fog here in the Puget Sound area and after Monday morning I concluded that I will not ride in the fog cause if you can't see a car until you are right up on them imagine how you or me look even with our blinding blinkie lights and reflective clothing, naw I'll drive the truck and save the bike for a really cold clear day like today was
Ditto for me. On days like that, that it's either take transit with your bike or just drive your car. It would be a hell of a lot safer then a hospital bill. At least that is my IMHO and I take it to my own comfort level. Some more hardcore people yah they can go out if they want but I'm not at that level yet. If you want to ride in the fog then well, if you're allowed on the sidewaks with getting nipped by the 5-0 for riding on the sidewalk (or have poorly enforced rules on riding on the sidewalks) then I say ride on the side for your own safety.

I carry a 3W retrofitted (offical maglite 3W drop in) LED in a 2C and 3D maglite which I carry when I'm out. When you're at the intercestion I beam the cars turning left and those wanting to turn right. Most will stay static till you pass then move. Hey that works for me in my enviroment here. It's jsut something you can adopt as well when you're on the sidewalk then in the thick of the fog just so the cars know you're there. I sometimes get the quick highbeam flash from drivers on the recieving end as a "yah I saw you" response.

I'm not sure if I was of any real help there but hey, if it's useful for you then good. If not then perhaps useful for someone else. Hope that helps mate.


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Old 11-01-06, 12:36 AM   #4
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Short of an HID I've found that LED lights work best in fog. If it's light out, and inexpensive blinky should work just fine, but make sure it has a rapid strobe.
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Old 11-01-06, 02:26 AM   #5
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also try not to use head lamps while riding in fog.. Cuts way down on visibility.
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Old 11-01-06, 03:02 AM   #6
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If you shop around, you should be able to find a 5-LED blinky reasonably cheaply. I recommend getting a couple of them. My headlight is an E6 powered by a Schmidt hub dynamo, which is a really expensive set up designed to ride all night (and it has done so). You probably don't need that much, LED lights are fine for a "being seen" light.
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Old 11-01-06, 06:48 AM   #7
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The fog in my area tends to be patchy and elevation-based. More in the low-lying areas than in the high spots. I think we're more easily seen when it's foggy and dark than when it's foggy and light. If it's light people tend to drive without their headlights despite the fog. I do set the blinky on rapid strobe, and point the headlamp more towards the ground.

On a side note, I hate that damp feeling after riding to work in the fog. I'd almost rather be wet from rain...
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Old 11-01-06, 07:41 AM   #8
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One of the big problems we get freezing fog and that ain't no fun even in a car so I'm not chancing it Your results may differ and thats ok good luck
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Old 11-01-06, 08:55 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soccer.me
also try not to use head lamps while riding in fog.. Cuts way down on visibility.
Actually, the thing they taught me in driver's ed (for a car at least) is to use LOW-BEAMS in fog. With my experience, high-beams are better until the fog is really thick, at which point the reflection simply blinds you. Unless you have an insane HID or so, it would seem to me that a more typical bicycle headlight would result in something like a low-beam, and in fog, you'd need every bit of visibility you can get.
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Old 11-01-06, 09:18 AM   #10
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HID in front, xenon strobe in back. If I were riding in fog a lot, I'd mount TWO strobes in back.
Given a budget, I'd buy the strobes first and go with a bright LED or halogen up front (halogen probably, since it's cheaper than a good LED and brighter too).
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Old 11-01-06, 09:30 AM   #11
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We have some real bad fog problems as well - especailly at some of the low points near river crossings. Sometimes I have to come to a crawl in the car just to be safe. I can't see oncoming traffic until they're right in front of me. I couldn't image biking in this stuff. My wife and kids need a living, working man. The AFLAC duck wouldn't be much help to a dead man.
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Old 11-01-06, 09:43 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoseInOregon
Obviously, being visible is paramount, and so is being able to see. Any of you light wizards--and you know who you are--have experience with cutting through fog?
Try a 12V amber xenon strobe (100,000 candlepower) like this one:

http://www.jcwhitney.com/autoparts/P...003083/c-10101

Of course you need a 12V power supply, but it doesn't have to be very powerful. Of course, if you want to go ahead and build an entire 12V system including headlights, then you can go with a bigger battery.
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Old 11-01-06, 09:47 AM   #13
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If possible, mount the lights a little lower on the front of the bike, and as noted above, lose the helmet light in fog (or heavy snow).
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Old 11-01-06, 10:13 AM   #14
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We need an inexpensive micro-flare launcher that drops little incendiary flares with a 15-second burn time at 10-second intervals
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Old 11-01-06, 12:19 PM   #15
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I think everyone has covered most of the territory:

1) Try to get your front lights down fairly low -- definitely a no on the helmet light
2) A front blinky as well as a headlight up front can be very good. The blinky at handlebar height is probably best for visibility.
3) A couple of dependable rear blinkies are a good plan. Maybe one on the bike and one on your helmet or back to increase chances of being seen.
4) Reflective gear where possible.

My only add on would be to make sure you are visible from the side as well. Refelctive gear and tape on the bike would help, but maybe amber colored strobes pointed right and left from the frame so you don't get t-boned at intersections.
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Old 11-01-06, 05:35 PM   #16
RoseInOregon
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Thanks, everyone, for your advice. I think I'll err on the side of caution and stay off the bike when it's really thick until I can scrape enough together for a nice HID system (or mechbgone's flares--w00+!). I'm still pretty new at this biking thing, much less the commuting thing. No need to make it crazy dangerous so soon.

I will say the little 52-LED flashlight I picked up on eBay does a really nice job in the rain and in a light mist, so I don't doubt some good LEDs would suffice in thicker stuff. But since it's my hide on the line, I think I'd be a nervous wreck unless I had lights that were closer to overkill.
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Old 11-01-06, 05:56 PM   #17
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Not that thick, but thick enough for So. Cal standards:

Do you like riding in a less-than-ideal conditions? (pics)

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