Advertise on Bikeforums.net



User Tag List

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 54
  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Posts
    472
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    Commuting in the Dark

    I need some help. I love biking in to work, and the cold really doesn't bother me. I live in Pittsburgh and work out in the suburbs. I never have a problem biking in the city, with street lights and the amount of bikes around I always feel safe. The suburbs, however are another story. I have never biked outside the city when it is dark out, and was wondering how safe it is. With narrow roads and little shoulders, is there a good way to bike in the dark out on the back roads? I don't want winter to stop me from biking in with my new job. Any help/advice is appreciated!

  2. #2
    Senior Member degnaw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Palo Alto, CA
    Posts
    1,584
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I have to ride on narrow, relatively busy, 35mph-limit rural roads with no street lights to get to school. I run a superflash in back and an Ultrafire 606a from dealextreme on my helmet, along with reflective tape on my rims, seatstays, and fork. So far I've had no problems and it seems pretty safe, but I can't really say for sure - many bike ninjas and wrong-way riders have never had any problems either.

  3. #3
    **** that mattm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    CALI
    Posts
    11,290
    Mentioned
    49 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    reflective clothing/gear is good, and of course good lighting is a must.

    i go with a dynohub + halogen lamp, it's plenty strong for me, and never runs out!
    cat 1.

    blog

  4. #4
    Senior Member biknbrian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Pittsburgh, PA
    My Bikes
    BiknBrian brand custom 26 inch commuter trekker, Cannondale F600 Single Speeded MTB, some other bikes and parts that could be made into bikes.
    Posts
    349
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    With a bright blinker you should be more noticable at night than during the day with or without one.

  5. #5
    beatz down lo|seatz up hi paulwwalters's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Missouri, USA
    My Bikes
    A 2007 Trek 4300. 22.5", 1981 Trek 610 24" (61cm)
    Posts
    1,062
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I have a Superflash and a Fenix L2D-CE. Granted there are streetlights some of the way but it's pretty dark in places now too. The time change will help a bit with that.
    Anyways, I've been fine, but make sure to use good lighting.
    Quote Originally Posted by cc700 View Post
    the 'friction generator' is the dynamo. not the wife. duh.

  6. #6
    Skeptical ryfeender's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    62
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Hey, I live in moon township and I have to bike at night through the local neighborhoods and stuff. I just bought DiNotte Dual 200L. I love them, they are really bright and have rechargeable batteries which is a huge bonus. They are a bit pricey but I really like them and I can see everything on the road at night. I use some little blinkies on the back of my rack as well.

  7. #7
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Posts
    6,957
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I use lights and plenty of reflective gear. One versatile item is a high-quality reflective vest, since you can wear it over whatever layers the weather is calling for. I like this one: http://www.safetygearonline.com/prod...?tid=4&pid=182

    Reflective legbands are also good. They move, which attracts attention and also gives motorists a definite cue that it's a cyclist, plus they don't cost much. REI has the Jog-A-Lite ones for $5.

    Beyond that, you definitely want some good lights. Planet Bike SuperFlash is a good rear light (make sure to aim it level). For the headlight(s), tell us your budget, how long you want it to run on one charge, and whether you would prefer a one-plug charging setup versus removing batteries to charge them in an external charger.

  8. #8
    Senior Member beatnik0422's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    86
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I haven't been commuting that long, but I know that those rear flashing reflectors work extremely well. My friends that have passed me have said I was easy to see on the highway leading to our neighborhood. It's a dark highway with cars zooming around doing anywhere from 55mph - 75mph. I wouldn't ride without mine.

  9. #9
    Barbieri Telefonico huhenio's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    My Bikes
    Crappy but operational secondhand Motobecane Messenger
    Posts
    3,522
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    more lights than cape canaveral launch pad
    Giving Haircuts Over The Phone

  10. #10
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    My Bikes
    Waterford RST-22, Bob Jackson World Tour, Ritchey Breakaway Cross, Gunnar Crosshairs, De Bernardi SL
    Posts
    6,206
    Mentioned
    9 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    You need some lights and reflective gear if you want to keep commuting in the dark safely. Like Paul, I use a PB Superflash for a rear tail-light and a Fenix L2D Premium for a headlight (mine uses AA batteries). This is probably the least expensive light combination you can get that is really effective. The Superflash can be bought for $20 if you shop around and is probably the brightest tail-light short of the $150 Dinotte ones. The Fenix lights can be bought for about $60, plus you need a handlebar mount, batteries and charger -- for a total outlay of perhaps $75.

    I wear only bright yellow jerseys, jackets and vests when riding in the dark or low light. Screaming yellow/ neon yellow-green is the best for visibility. I also wear reflective ankle straps, and my commuter tires have reflective sidewalls. Finally, in addition to the Superflash, I have two other tail-lights that are not quite as bright but add to visibility (one of them on my helmet).

  11. #11
    Arrogant Safety Nanny
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Santa Maria, CA
    My Bikes
    2007 Trek 7.2 FX, 2008 Trek Madone 5.2
    Posts
    554
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I commute regularly at night on a 2-lane 55mph no shoulder road. I use at minimum 2 Dinotte 140L red lights facing to the rear, and 2 Fenix flashlights pointing forward. I also have lots of DOT-C2 tape on my bike, along with the state required reflectors. Reflectorizing yourself is also good. I use an ANSI class 3 jacket when it's cold. Lots of reflective tape FTW.

  12. #12
    Velocommuter Commando Sirrus Rider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    My Bikes
    '88 Specialized Sirrus, '89 Alpine Monitor Pass, two '70 Raligh Twenties, '07 Schwinn Town & Country Trike, '07 Specialized Sirrus Hybrid
    Posts
    2,549
    Mentioned
    1 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by degnaw View Post
    I have to ride on narrow, relatively busy, 35mph-limit rural roads with no street lights to get to school. I run a superflash in back and an Ultrafire 606a from dealextreme on my helmet, along with reflective tape on my rims, seatstays, and fork. So far I've had no problems and it seems pretty safe, but I can't really say for sure - many bike ninjas and wrong-way riders have never had any problems either.
    True; however, the brighter you are lit the better your odds of making it to work and back home without incedent..
    Riding 19 Years of Specialized Sirrus Tradition.
    Live in Houston? Come to http://bicyclecommutehouston.blogspot.com/
    1988 Specialized Sirrus, 1989 Alpine Monitor Pass MTB, 2007 Specialized Sirrus 700C hybrid, 2007 Schwinn Town & Country trike, 1970 "Resto-Improved" Raleigh 20, 1970 "WIP" Raleigh 20, and 1980 "WIP" Schwinn Town & Country trike

  13. #13
    rhm
    rhm is offline
    multimodal commuter rhm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    NJ, NYC, LI
    My Bikes
    1945? Fothergill, 1948 Raleigh Record Ace, 1954 Drysdale, 1963? Claud Butler Olympic Sprint, Lambert 'Clubman', 1972 Fuji Finest, 1983 Trek 720, 1984 Counterpoint Opus II, 1993 Basso Gap, 2010 Downtube 8h, and...
    Posts
    12,415
    Mentioned
    34 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    I suggest you spend fifty bucks on reflective gear and relatively cheap blinkies and lights, and just go for it. I'm pretty sure you'll find you feel safe enough, and in fact enjoy cycling in the dark. Once you've crossed that bridge, you'll feel better about investing in dynamo powered lights and the like.

    For the record, I have two bikes that I use for commuting, and both have dynamo hubs and really bright lights.

  14. #14
    Super Moderator making's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Indiana
    My Bikes
    Road bike
    Posts
    2,483
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I would suggest two blinkers, with seperate power on the back. Both wont go out at the same time and no rear blinker will get you run over faster than anything.
    Good Night Chesty, Wherever You Are

  15. #15
    Seņior Member ItsJustMe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    My Bikes
    Windsor Fens, Giant Seek 0 (2014, Alfine 8 + discs)
    Posts
    11,678
    Mentioned
    4 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I wouldn't ride without TWO lights. I've gotten off my bike at work and discovered that one of light had shut off for some reason. I no longer ride with just one light.

    Reflective vest too; when hit by a car's headlights (which WILL happen most of the time when a car is approaching you), it's far brighter than all but the brightest taillights, and the much larger surface area commands attention better.

    Both reflective (passive) and blinkies (active) lighting are necessary IMHO. Reflective, when it works, leverages the car's lights, and can be astoundingly bright. Active because there are many situations (especially cars approaching from sides) where reflective material may not be effective.

    BTW, $10 or so is plenty for reflective gear. Harbor Freight sells an extremely bright reflective vest for < $5. Put on a reflective leg band, or maybe buy a roll of reflective tape at the hardware store and pimp up your bike if you're not averse to that. I bought some 3M hi intensity tape on eBay and really uglied up my bike, but then again I don't give a rat's ***** what my bike looks like, I just want to get to work and back.
    Work: the 8 hours that separates bike rides.

  16. #16
    Super Moderator making's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Indiana
    My Bikes
    Road bike
    Posts
    2,483
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Any little thing that gives you a little better chance of getting to work without getting run over is probably worth it.
    Good Night Chesty, Wherever You Are

  17. #17
    crash survivor tate65's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Irving, TX
    My Bikes
    C-dale rush, Mountain cycle fury, Monocog 29er, Haro hard tail VX, Scattante R330
    Posts
    654
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I ride with a 1W LED handelbar light, a 3 W LED helmet light, A rear soperflash blinky on my helmet, the below light on the back of my bike, a reflective vest from harborfreight, ankle reflective straps, and wheel and side reflectors on the bike. Night doesn't scare me as much as twilight, just before sundown, or just after sunup when the sun can blot all that light and reflectors out.


    http://www.columbussupply.com/products/?productid=764

  18. #18
    Senior Member datlas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Malvern, PA (20 miles West of Philly)
    My Bikes
    1986 Alpine (steel road bike), 2009 Ti Habenero, 2013 Specialized Roubaix
    Posts
    13,789
    Mentioned
    47 Post(s)
    Tagged
    1 Thread(s)
    I pretty much agree with the above. For about $100 you could get a fenix for the front, a good rear blinkie, a reflective vest, and a roll of reflecting tape. You might also want to have a cheap $25 front light as a backup (my backup, which I use sometimes, is a $20 flashlight from DealExtreme).

    The other thing to reconsider is your route. You might feel more comfortable if you optimized your route to low traffic and, if possible, wider shoulders. Getting buzzed by cars is more unnerving at night in my experience.

  19. #19
    Senior Member degnaw's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Palo Alto, CA
    Posts
    1,584
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by ItsJustMe View Post
    I bought some 3M hi intensity tape on eBay and really uglied up my bike, but then again I don't give a rat's ***** what my bike looks like, I just want to get to work and back.
    Same here; I have 4 feet of conspicuity tape on this thing.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  20. #20
    Senior Member madhouse's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Podunc, Minnesota
    My Bikes
    07 Sun EZ-Rider, 04 Fuji Royale, 97 Giant ATX890, 89 Burley Duet, 86 Trek 560
    Posts
    415
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Quote Originally Posted by biknbrian View Post
    With a bright blinker you should be more noticable at night than during the day with or without one.
    +1 I get comments from co-workers that they see me 2-3 miles away with my blinkies... during daylight that distance is closer to 2/3 of a mile!

    I have a Cateye TL1100 and a another 5 LED cheapy as backup. I have a cheap white blinkie in the front with 16W halogen light in the front.

  21. #21
    Senior Member ken cummings's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    northern California
    My Bikes
    Bruce Gordon BLT, Cannondale parts bike, Ecodyne recumbent trike, Counterpoint Opus 2, miyata 1000
    Posts
    5,605
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Really, those wheel reflectors that "Everyone" strips off of their new bikes do work.
    This space open

  22. #22
    Got Scotch? goalieMN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Minnetonka, MN
    My Bikes
    QR Kilo, Specialized Crossroads
    Posts
    277
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    I went with the hub-mounted Reelights. Red in back, white in front. The use magnets on your spokes to generate electricity through induction and don't need batteries.

    I also have a Superflash blinkie in back, and use a twofish lockblock and a flashlight for seeing in front, but, with the Reelights, I ALWAYS have a light flashing when I ride and I don't have to worry about batteries dying on me and leaving me low-vis.

    I also wear an illuminite jacket whenever it is <50F.
    "It turns out that what you have is less important than what you do with it."

  23. #23
    uke
    uke is offline
    it's easy if you let it. uke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    indoors and out.
    Posts
    4,125
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)

    JesseDuncan:I just love how "cars will be forced to cross the double yellow lines on dangerous limited visibility roads".

    I don't want to have a head on but oh god, I HAVE to fling myself into oncoming traffic to pass, theres no alternative!!!

  24. #24
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Newfield, NY
    Posts
    137
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Dinotte

    Never felt safer since I got a set of lights from them.

  25. #25
    Cold Rain and Snow Hot Potato's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Western Chicagoland
    Posts
    1,762
    Mentioned
    0 Post(s)
    Tagged
    0 Thread(s)
    Dinotte 300L rear tail light. Overkill? Yes. Best tail light on the planet? you bet. Expensive too. I hear they make great headlights too.

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •