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Old 09-27-06, 06:49 PM   #1
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Night Riding

I'm sure this has been brought up before, but I'm fairly new here and haven't seen it. With the days getting shorter the only time I have to ride during the week is at dusk or later. I just bought $35 worth of lights; a high intensity LED headlamp and a red LED taillight. Both of these can be set to blink or burn steady.
I live in a very small town. Less than a mile in any direction and I'm on fairly desolate, hilly country roads with little traffic. On a 5-10 mile ride I usually meet or get passed by about 2-3 pickup trucks going at a good rate of speed. I can hear them coming from a long ways off and I get to the other side of the road.
I love being out riding at night. I think the folks around here think I'm weird, but I also believe they think I'm crazy and they leave me alone.
I used to carry a mag light and turn it on when I heard someone coming but I like the LED's better.
I even do this in the winter as long as the roads are dry.
I once saw someone riding trails at night, in the winter, in the local state park but I haven't tried that yet.
Does anyone else indulge in this kind of behavior?
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Old 09-27-06, 07:12 PM   #2
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Of course we do, but I ride in the predawn darkness with flashing lights front and rear as well as a helmet mounted headlamp.
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Old 09-27-06, 07:48 PM   #3
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Thats a thought.
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Old 09-27-06, 08:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sknhgy
Does anyone else indulge in this kind of behavior?
The drunks come out at night. I prefer NEVER to ride after sunset if I can help it.

On the other hand I routinely start my ride an hour or so before the sun is up, which gives me plenty of time for a 30 mile weekday ride. Like yourself, within 2 miles of my house and I'm on deserted roads at 6 AM, and I'll sometimes go several miles without any kind of traffic.

I use blinkers front and back(sometimes two or three blinkies on back), a dual beam Cygolite on the bars, wear mesh reflective vest, leg bands (for the up down motion), and have reflective material on my helmet. I also have reflective material on my fendered touring bike, and sometimes attach an extra blinky on the seat stays. If someone is going to hit me, they'll have to aim for me.
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Old 09-27-06, 08:35 PM   #5
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sknhgy
I usually have 2 rear lights (both blinking) and one blinking forward. With a reflective vest.
The commuting forum has info on lights.
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Old 09-27-06, 09:11 PM   #6
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50+ers sleep at night and post in the pre-dawn hours...
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Old 09-27-06, 09:57 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by dauphin
50+ers sleep at night and post in the pre-dawn hours...
Ayup!
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Old 09-27-06, 11:11 PM   #8
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Doing double and triple centuries I get to ride alot at night. Calif. Vehicle Code requires us to have steady lights front and rear not flashing. I also wear reflective ankle bands, reflective tape all over my bike and a reflective slow moving triangle on my butt.

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Old 09-28-06, 12:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dauphin
50+ers sleep at night and post in the pre-dawn hours...
Being on the back of the Tandem- I even sleep on our night rides.

Other than weekends- the only time I get to ride is in the evenings. At this time of year, that turns to night very quickly. I do most of my riding offroad, and shortly that will include my night rides. Only thing I will say is that with regard to lighting- Lights fail. I carry two rear lights and although I have a Good front lamp- I also carry a spare aswell. Then again- lights are for two reasons- To be seen and to be able to see. Even on the roads-If you want to see- the Better the lights- the better you can see.
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Old 09-28-06, 05:49 AM   #10
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Am I the only one that caught this???

Quote:
Originally Posted by sknhgy
I can hear them coming from a long ways off and I get to the other side of the road.
Aaaggghhh!!!! The OP obviously needs to learn how to drive. Wrong-side riding is the #1 cause of bike accidents. When a cager sees you swapping sides, he doesn't know what the h*ll you're gonna do next. Please, be predictable. Ride on the right and stay there!

As to the question, I can't stand riding indoors, so my riding in the winter is limited to weekends and nights. I have a flashing taillight and a 1200CP LED headlight, but I'm seriously considering adding another LED headlight this year. I have more traffic than you, but the local deer population keeps speeds down. The only problem I have with cars is that the oncoming ones leave their high beams on until they are almost on top of me, which makes it hard for me to see where I'm going.
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Old 09-28-06, 06:49 AM   #11
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I indulge in riding during the dark hours of winter, because I have no freaking choice. If you detect some anger about this you are perceptive. I HATE winter, but I hate riding a trainer even more.... so, I ride when it's dark. I perfer completing night rides before 10 p.m. (I read somewhere that the danger of drunk drivers is greatest between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. (at least in Pennsylvania). And I agree with Monnoborracho's concern about this. I share BlazzingPedal's concern related to road rules. Hence, I follow all rules of the road and try to act as much like vehicular traffic as possible. I probably go overboard with the lights. I have three flashing LED lights on the back, Two 10 watt light on the handle bars, and an LED light on the helmet. Additionally, I ride with a helmet that has lots of reflective tape on it and wheels with refelctive tape too. At night I don't want to be just visible, I want to be conspicuous.
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Old 09-28-06, 07:01 AM   #12
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I learned a long time ago the value of not skimping on safety gear, especially lights. I commute and do a lot of night training and trail rides too. I look like a cross between a UFO and a parade float. It really helps to have good lights. Plus, it is no fun to get a flat on a night ride without the proper light to make the repair or tube change. Otherwise, I also dodge approaching cars from time to time when I can. Anything to lessen the odds of an encounter with a yahoo is a worthy concession.
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Old 09-28-06, 07:28 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NOS88
I indulge in riding during the dark hours of winter, because I have no freaking choice. If you detect some anger about this you are perceptive. I HATE winter, but I hate riding a trainer even more.... so, I ride when it's dark. I perfer completing night rides before 10 p.m. (I read somewhere that the danger of drunk drivers is greatest between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. (at least in Pennsylvania). And I agree with Monnoborracho's concern about this. I share BlazzingPedal's concern related to road rules. Hence, I follow all rules of the road and try to act as much like vehicular traffic as possible. I probably go overboard with the lights. I have three flashing LED lights on the back, Two 10 watt light on the handle bars, and an LED light on the helmet. Additionally, I ride with a helmet that has lots of reflective tape on it and wheels with refelctive tape too. At night I don't want to be just visible, I want to be conspicuous.
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Old 09-28-06, 10:43 AM   #14
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I'm getting really frustrated with the lack of daylight already, so I think I'm gonna try this, at least before the snow flies (after which time it often sticks around). I use a blinky on the rear sometimes at dawn and dusk, but I'll need to get a headlight. I like the idea of an additional helmet mount in case of a flat, etc.
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Old 09-28-06, 10:59 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monoborracho
The drunks come out at night. I prefer NEVER to ride after sunset if I can help it.
I've always found the day time to be much more nerve wracking. The sheer volume of traffic. Yes, I've seen the drunks. But I've seen the drunks as bad in the middle of the morning.

And once in Ensenada I even saw a drunken monkey.
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Old 09-28-06, 11:20 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artkansas

And once in Ensenada I even saw a drunken monkey.

Was he running for political office?
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Old 09-28-06, 11:21 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artkansas

And once in Ensenada I even saw a drunken monkey.
Ha! Reminds me of the time I was down there and saw a dead horse laying aside the highway, it's legs sticking straight out in rigor mortis, and people passing by, paying it absolutely no attention.
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Old 09-28-06, 11:57 AM   #18
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Was he running for political office?
Ha! Not much longer now.
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Old 09-28-06, 12:22 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Digital Gee
Ha! Reminds me of the time I was down there and saw a dead horse laying aside the highway, it's legs sticking straight out in rigor mortis, and people passing by, paying it absolutely no attention.
That's because he was CAMPAIGNING for public office.
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Old 09-28-06, 01:39 PM   #20
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Time for a better reply. Offroad you need to see as much of the track as possible and that is only possible with a good light. I am talking $500 headlights here (Except one of you will come up with a home made unit that cost's half as much.) Don't believe me? Take out your $100 units and borrow a good light to compare it by. Take it from me you need good lights offroad. Problem is that a powerfull lamp will use battery life so you are talking a rechargable system- with Ni cads as the minimum but Lithium Ion as the best. L.Ion batteries do not come cheap. Then the lamps themselves- Powerful Halogens- Luxion LED's or HID. Each has their own advantages but they also have their own disadvantages. HID is the most powerful and the meatier ones are powerful. Disadvantages- costly- a bit fragile- cannot be turned on with full power immediately- cannot be turned on and off as they have to cool down. Luxion LED's are powerful. OK you are only talking a Max of 5w at present but this is at least twice as powerfull as a Halogen and as good as most of the HID lamps. And the Bulb life is Very long. The bulbs will also take shocks of offroad so not often they fail on you. Halogen- Cheap and can be fairly powerfull. The more powerful ones will eat battery life and the bulbs are fragile. Big advantage is that they are affordable.

Then there are the Lamps that take ordinary batteries, and are self contained. Normally cheap- normallly good enough to be seen with but not powerfull enough to see with. Then the most usefull lamp you will ever get-although it cannot be used on its own- A Helmet Lamp. These can range from 1 candle power up to a powerful Spot light but the one I use that is really usefull, has 3 levels of LED's to see the bars with- read a map or do repairs to the bike. It also has a spot lamp that is good for about 50 metres and this lamp will see round corners (Or that is what it seems like when you want to see outside the range of your Bike lights.)

Couple of pics attached and you can see the type that is available from my Bike shed. The helmet lamp is obvious- The Cateye is a 5 LED flood lamp and is the EL300 and is the back up lamp that I always carry. The twin Halogens are TWIN 10w flood and spot lamps and are the minimum that I would recommend- even on the road. Then there is the Exposure Enduro Turbo on the right. Fully self contained and powerfull. The lit picture does not do it justice but it is on the low setting of 3 and is as good as the twin halogen on this setting.

I doubt that many of us are going to spend out $500 on a top quality lamp and the reason I have is that I am going offroad and require a good light. When i started out- I used two Cateye LED's The EL300 and an EL500 that is a slightly more powerfull spot lamp- And the helmet lamp of course. I then got the Halogens and the drawback with these was battery life- We had to conserve their use and save them for the tricky, more technical parts of the ride or it was slow down and ride on the cateyes alone.

You can get by with cheaper lights, and in fact I did it but if you really want to be able to see- you need good lights. And you also always want to use 2 lamps- both front and rear. Lamps and batteries fail- so always good to have a back up
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Old 09-28-06, 06:07 PM   #21
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I love night riding. I use a Cateye HL-EL500 headlamp, and a Blackburn Mars3 tail lamp. I especially like the Amber side lights on this model.

I love evening rides, especially in the summer. No, you're not strange at all. Summer night rides are the best, of course. You get the enjoyment of riding in the warm weather, without having to fight the sun.

Quote:
I've always found the day time to be much more nerve wracking. The sheer volume of traffic. Yes, I've seen the drunks. But I've seen the drunks as bad in the middle of the morning.
You are correct. I used to enjoy a ride on Saturday mornings. I have long since given up on this, prefering to stay home and do some household chores. Reason: Saturday mornings are when drivers in MA are at their absolute worst! They're all hell bent on getting to the Bank, the mall, the grocery store, and of course, soccer practice. Better to just stay home and let it pass. Saturday evenings, say after 6 PM, are fine though.

You could encounter a drunk at any time, or any place on our nation's roadways. I would guess that statistically, you are more likely to encounter them in the early morning hours, after "closing time".
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Old 09-28-06, 06:58 PM   #22
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I caught that too; crossing to the other side of the road increases the closing speed between you and the motorist by quite a bit; if you have a rear light blinking they'll go around you; they probably see you better at night with the blinky than during the day . . .
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Old 09-28-06, 07:39 PM   #23
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I agree with the light power set. I like lights strong enough to get the on-coming cars to flash you to get you to dim Your lights. I use a NightSum Team Issue setup, an old one that uses metal MR16 light holders. I replaced their Halogen bulbs with a 50 watter and got a bigger battery. A 100 watt headlamp could be had for ~ $200 and have a 1 hour run time.
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Old 09-28-06, 07:40 PM   #24
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I like riding at night if it's not cold. I took a 40 mile detour today to train for an upcomming century. At the turnaround point it started raining heavy and dusk came early. I spent most of the next 25 miles running my DIY 35w halogen at 66% and 100%. Very wierd effect riding through blowing leaves when they hit the light. When I got home steam was wafting off the light.
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Old 09-28-06, 08:15 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artkansas
And once in Ensenada I even saw a drunken monkey.
Never been to Ensenada...there must be an imposter out there somewhere.
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