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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 03-07-12, 07:12 AM   #1
Tractortom
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Daylight Saving Time means riding in the DARK....

Well, it's that time again, Daylight Saving Time kicks in on this next Sunday morning and that means leaving for work in the DARK. I'm one of the lucky ones, I ride a short 8.25 mile ride to work and the same distance back in the afternoon. Work doesn't start until 8am, so I normally get on the road just after 7am, so I have time in the office to clean up and get dressed and set for the day. Today, I was checking at 6:05am how light it was, and there was light in the eastern sky, but pretty dark on the ground. With the time change, that's what Monday morning will look like. I have a couple of cheap lights on the front of my bike, but worry about being able to see trash on the roadway on the ride in. Additionally, my boss, the District Manager has basically told me he "did not want to see me on that bike next week, it'll be too dark..." So I'm kind of wondering what I should be doing. I think if I had the RIGHT light, I could see the trash on the roadway and still get to work safely...

Tractor Tom in Okeechobee, FL
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Old 03-07-12, 07:18 AM   #2
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Sucks, doesn't it? However, you should have a decent front light if you are commuting regularly. With the prices of LED lights these days, there's no excuse to not have a powerful front light. You can buy decent 350-500 lumen LED flashlights on line for $15-25. Even if you have to buy rechargeable batteries, a charger, and a flashlight mount, you can get a decent setup for about $50. Do a search of 18650 LED flashlights on-line and you will be amazed at what you kind find. Lots of good info in the Electronics forum here as well.
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Old 03-07-12, 07:23 AM   #3
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" the District Manager has basically told me he "did not want to see me on that bike next week, it'll be too dark..."
When I was in the Army in HI. A guy drown at Pipeline. The Lt. said he did not want me to surf. Uh No...
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Old 03-07-12, 07:24 AM   #4
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Human eyes adjust very rapidly to low light conditions, I ride after dark at least 1 day a week and I have never had too much trouble. I have 2 headlights, 1 set to blinking mode so I can be sure that cars see me, and 1 set to illuminate about 8 feet in front of me and that is usually goo enough. If there is something that is going to cause a serious problem such as a large piece of debris or a deep pothole, I have a roughly 98% success rate of spotting them (I do hit the occasional pothole).

That being said, you will have to reduce your speed and be more vigilant when checking for motorists, not only are you harder to see in the dark, but they are less likely to look for you. The human brain tricks drivers into thinking that since they don't normally see cyclists in the dark that they aren't there.
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Old 03-07-12, 07:48 AM   #5
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I am kicking off the 2012 commuting season on Monday, so I feel your pain. Grabbed me a 600 lumen NiteRider MiNewt before winter and swear by it. You can find them on sale for $120 or so and they are worth every penny. Like them better than my MagicShine as they are USB and cord-free.

Take the safe routes and get ye some lumens!
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Old 03-07-12, 08:24 AM   #6
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Yeah, and I'm finally coming out of the dark. It's been a dark ride home every day since November. So what, big deal, buy a decent light and get on with it. You are a regular rider, you should have one anyway. My L+M vega was dying so I just picked up a Cygolite Expilion 410 - Wow, It's fantastic. I can't say enough about the design and the brightness. Well worth it.

As far as your boss goes, unless he is paying you while you transport yourself to and from work he has no right to tell you how to go about it. Buy a proper light, smile, and keep riding.
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Old 03-07-12, 08:42 AM   #7
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" the District Manager has basically told me he "did not want to see me on that bike next week, it'll be too dark..."
What's next? I can hear it now, "Bathroom breaks are only at 10AM, 12PM, and 2PM, and I don't want to see you in the can at any other time, wear some Depends if you have to.
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Old 03-07-12, 09:01 AM   #8
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If you're feeling ambitious, give it a try on Sunday to see how well you can see. I do agree with the others though, a good light is well worth the $ spent.
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Old 03-07-12, 09:18 AM   #9
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daylight savings time means that i will finally be riding in the LIGHT on my way home. i can't wait. it's a huge psychological boost to ride home with daylight as opposed to darkness.

i don't leave for work until 7:15am, so i always have daylight on the ride in to work 12 months out of the year. even on the darkest days of winter, sunrise in chicago is still around 7:15.

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Old 03-07-12, 09:27 AM   #10
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DST just means my dark ride switches from evening to morning. I've been very happy with a simple and cheap Planet Bike 2W Blaze for urban/suburban riding with streetlights around. I have a B&M Ixon IQ for darker conditions. I'm not really a fan of the mega-lumen MTB lights or flashlights with un-controlled optics.
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Old 03-07-12, 09:31 AM   #11
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During my commuting years in the Seattle metro area I consistently had fewer incidents of not being seen by drivers while lit up at night than during the day. I came to prefer riding after 7PM when traffic calmed down, and was lucky that I had that option.

Daylight savings time? What's that?

Why don't we just ditch this silly time-change habit nationally?
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Old 03-07-12, 09:42 AM   #12
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More times of the year it is dark both legs of my commute than not. I get good stretches where it is light on one leg of the commute though. It has just started being light the last few weeks here on my morning commute. That will change this week with DST. Good lights are just something I assume I am going to need, so I don't think twice about having them with me.

Check out the lights/electronics forum for some suggestions for 18650 li-ion rechargable battery powered flashlights and mounts. Cheap, easy to take on and off the bike, and they do the job.
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Old 03-07-12, 09:49 AM   #13
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www.nashbar.com

Niterider Cordless 150 Mi-Newt. Great light. 70.00+ shipping. Unless you catch them on a day where they're offering fre shipping for orders over 50.00. At any rate it's a great light for the money.
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Old 03-07-12, 09:53 AM   #14
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Why don't we just ditch this silly time-change habit nationally?
Tradition, and because some of us live where it still helps the farming community, which is part of why this whole thing got started in the first place. As someone else said, riding in the dark often means you are better-seen and traffic is much less. I'll take that over a busy Friday at 4:00 p.m.
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Old 03-07-12, 10:03 AM   #15
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I'm not a fan of riding in the dark. I leave between 6:30 and 7:30am so I'll be mounting at least one of my two 18650 LEDs for the morning ride.
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Old 03-07-12, 11:45 AM   #16
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I have mixed feelings. I ride in the dark during winter because I have to, but I don't like it much. I do have good lighting which makes a bit difference. This week it is almost light by the time I get to work and now I have to go back to darkness next week. I am actually going to like it more because I have found that with the crepuscular mornings 1 out of every 5-6 cars does not have any lights on. I have a problem picking them out from a distance and when they are followed by cars with lights on, they really disappear. What in the heck is this aversion to running with lights on? It is still not sunrise, and assuming that they got in their car when it was darker, they probably had their lights on.

Ninja motorists - what to do?

-G
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Old 03-07-12, 11:57 AM   #17
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I couldn't be any happier about **** with our clocks day.
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Old 03-07-12, 12:06 PM   #18
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Why don't we just ditch this silly time-change habit [strike]nationally[/strike] globally?
Do we really need this anymore? I have to get up early, which means going to bed early too. In June, I'm going to bed while it's still light out.
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Old 03-07-12, 12:19 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Tractortom View Post
Well, it's that time again, Daylight Saving Time kicks in on this next Sunday morning and that means leaving for work in the DARK. I'm one of the lucky ones, I ride a short 8.25 mile ride to work and the same distance back in the afternoon. Work doesn't start until 8am, so I normally get on the road just after 7am, so I have time in the office to clean up and get dressed and set for the day. Today, I was checking at 6:05am how light it was, and there was light in the eastern sky, but pretty dark on the ground. With the time change, that's what Monday morning will look like. I have a couple of cheap lights on the front of my bike, but worry about being able to see trash on the roadway on the ride in. Additionally, my boss, the District Manager has basically told me he "did not want to see me on that bike next week, it'll be too dark..." So I'm kind of wondering what I should be doing. I think if I had the RIGHT light, I could see the trash on the roadway and still get to work safely...

Tractor Tom in Okeechobee, FL
Tom,

I'm using 4 CatEye Uno headlights mounted to my bike two on the handlebars and two on the forks plus a Light and Motion Stella 150l on my helmet and trust me with that setup I see the road.

Just what lights are you using? How much light are they throwing on the road?

I could be mistaken, but I don't think that your boss has a legal right to tell you (as long as you arrive on time) what kind of transportation you can use to get to work.
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Old 03-07-12, 12:53 PM   #20
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My morning ride has been dark for a long time now anyway: I leave the house at 5:05 and get to my bus stop about 5:50. Daylight savings time will give me more light for my later commutes home (6:10 - 7:00 pm) but they were starting to be light anyway.

I do love my generator hub powered headlight/tail light combo. :-)
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Old 03-07-12, 01:01 PM   #21
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Do we really need this anymore? I have to get up early, which means going to bed early too. In June, I'm going to bed while it's still light out.
I do this, but because I am old The days of staying up until after 10:00 p.m. are behind me and I prefer to be up before the sun. We all have our preference.
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Old 03-07-12, 01:07 PM   #22
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Old 03-07-12, 01:33 PM   #23
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I have a couple cheap lights on my Strada. A 430 cp Bell iPulse HD which I usually have flashing during the morning commute (when it's mostly light) and a little adapter on the handlebar next to it, with an AAA flash light with 9 leds in it. That one, when I run it, is on steady. They both put out a fair amount of light, but I have not run them in the pitch dark. Sooooo, I think that Saturday night I'm going to wait for it to get good and dark and take the bike out and try it where there aren't any cars (like up on the bike path along the lake) and see if I can see well enough to ride in on Monday. As for the District Manager, he was without anyone in my position for the last year, and now I'm working for him and doing the job well, and he is scared to death (like most guys who commute in a truck) that I'm going to get hit on the road during my commute and he'll have to go through the hassle of filling the position again. I don't think he has anything but my best interests in mind when he tells me NOT to ride the bike to work for a little while.

Tractor Tom in Okeechobee, FL
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Old 03-07-12, 01:59 PM   #24
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I have a couple cheap lights on my Strada. A 430 cp Bell iPulse HD which I usually have flashing during the morning commute (when it's mostly light) and a little adapter on the handlebar next to it, with an AAA flash light with 9 leds in it. That one, when I run it, is on steady. They both put out a fair amount of light, but I have not run them in the pitch dark. Sooooo, I think that Saturday night I'm going to wait for it to get good and dark and take the bike out and try it where there aren't any cars (like up on the bike path along the lake) and see if I can see well enough to ride in on Monday. As for the District Manager, he was without anyone in my position for the last year, and now I'm working for him and doing the job well, and he is scared to death (like most guys who commute in a truck) that I'm going to get hit on the road during my commute and he'll have to go through the hassle of filling the position again. I don't think he has anything but my best interests in mind when he tells me NOT to ride the bike to work for a little while.

Tractor Tom in Okeechobee, FL
Yes, testing them under non-time critical circumstances is a good idea. Likewise it's a good idea to take a test ride under the same conditions i.e. at the time of day that you'll be going to and from work under the traffic conditions that you'll encounter so that you'll know what to expect.

On your boss "forbidding" you to ride your bike to and from work. Ask him if he does the same for those who drive, especially considering that motorists hit each other more often than they do cyclists or pedestrians.
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Old 03-07-12, 02:30 PM   #25
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Daylight savings time means that I will finally be riding in the LIGHT on my way home. I can't wait. It's a huge psychological boost to ride home with daylight as opposed to darkness. I don't leave for work until 7:15am, so I always have daylight on the ride in to work 12 months out of the year. even on the darkest days of winter, sunrise in Chicago is still around 7:15.
My situation is just the opposite Steely Dan!

Daylight savings time or not, my ride to work is always in the dark. Just the last few days I've seen a bit of light in the sky as I get to work, but still functionally dark. I have to be at work by 6:30AM, but on the flip side, it's always light when I ride home (get off work 3:30PM).

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