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Old 09-04-08, 01:59 PM   #1
DnvrFox
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Riding in the Dark is Fun for 50+'rs

Riding in the Dark is Fun for 50+'rs

Got up early this am and went bicycling at 5:30. Temp was 42F, still dark.

I got to use my new lights - LED's I got mail order for about $6.00 each.

They work great on our local MUPS. The 53 LED is twice as bright as the 21 LED - DUH! - so I think I am going to order another 53 LED. I have a red blinkie on the back.

Anyway, I enjoyed the difference, and after an hour of riding, I went swimming for 30 minutes, and then sang for 1.5 hours with my singing group. How's that for a great morning? We had to work on "Down to the River to Pray" because we missed a key change singing a cappella in church on Sunday, and we have a performance on Saturday. Saturday, my wife's singing group, my gospel group and my barbaershop group is putting ona concert for family and friends of all of us. Then a potluck.

Here is a pic of the bike setup on my old Spec Hardrock:


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Old 09-04-08, 02:08 PM   #2
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Riding in the Dark is Fun for 50+'rs
I love riding in the dark. During the winter months we often ride the local river trail after dark. I purchased a set of Turbocat lights last year and love them. They really light up the dark trail along the river. My one specification to the salesman was enough light to keep me out of the river
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Old 09-04-08, 03:26 PM   #3
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Riding at night is one of my favorite parts of randonneuring. There's nothing cooler than watching the sun come up from your bike, especially after a few (or several) hours of pedaling in the dark.

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Old 09-04-08, 05:52 PM   #4
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I'm up at 3:15AM, gear up and am out of the house by 3:45AM. I ride for 2 hours every morning. It's my favorite ride time. No cars, no honking horns and sunrise is fantanstic. But, I'm a morning person - I'm asleep by 8:00PM. The teenagers I teach think I'm a lunatic.
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Old 09-04-08, 06:24 PM   #5
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Depressingly, it's getting so that it's real dark when I go in for my 7a-7p weekend shifts. Thankfully, it's not dark on the ride home. Yet.
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Old 09-04-08, 06:43 PM   #6
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I'm up at 3:15AM, gear up and am out of the house by 3:45AM. I ride for 2 hours every morning. It's my favorite ride time. No cars, no honking horns and sunrise is fantanstic. But, I'm a morning person - I'm asleep by 8:00PM. The teenagers I teach think I'm a lunatic.
I vote with the teenagers I am not a morning person.My wife is a morning person worked good when we were raising kids no matter what time it was one of us was alert lol.I still like riding in the dark 8 or 9 pm
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Old 09-04-08, 07:55 PM   #7
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What an illuminating thread!

My morning rides are just about shot due to darkness - I may have to try some lights too.
I was going down the list of possible centuries to rode between now and the end of November and two are moonlight rides - I had immediately dismissed them - but now amd starting to rethink - thansk for the idea. I may buy some lights.
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Old 09-04-08, 08:07 PM   #8
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I have hopes of getting out for some rides in the evening in Nov, should the snows hold off. As the sun sets before 5, that means riding in the dark. Already have my lights, or at least what I hope will be enough light. Would like to give this at least a couple of tries to see if I enjoy it.
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Old 09-04-08, 08:22 PM   #9
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I started riding at night in the park last year and it was a blast. There are still plenty of riders, but it is otherwise so much quieter. I took my 11yo daughter with me a few times too and she loved it.
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Old 09-04-08, 08:45 PM   #10
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This may be a budget buster, but for about $70, you can get a really nice LED flashlight to use for night riding. See this thread for some ideas.

I'm extremely happy with my Fenix L2DQ5 light powered by 2 rechargeable AA batteries.
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Old 09-04-08, 09:02 PM   #11
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I've loved riding at night since before I was 50. For a while I was using a Catseye handlebar mount, but it just did not project far enough to ride at any decent speed. The other thing I didn't like was not being able to see my odometer -- or anything but where the handlebars were pointed.

I ended up with a Light & Motion Solo. (http://www.bikelights.com/Products/Solo.htm)

Pros:
It can mount anywhere, but straps nicely to my helmet - allowing me to see wherever I look. This light is barely legal for the streets, I'm sure. It is super bright, and great for the really dark areas.

Cons:
The battery is a bit bulky.
It only lasts about two hours on a charge.
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Old 09-04-08, 09:13 PM   #12
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I'm in the dark most of the time, even at high noon!
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Old 09-05-08, 03:17 PM   #13
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Having done a fair amount of Night riding- One of the most important things to think of- is that you can only ride at a speed that your lights will allow you.

I used to ride offroad at night so in the main it is slow uphill- max of 20 on the flat bits but the downhill was only at the speed that your lights will allow you to see. At 5 or 6 mph- you only need to see bout 20 yds in front of you. 20 mph and 50 yards is good but above that you need plenty of range on the lights. 100 yards is good enough up to around 30mph.

Since changing over to a road bike, those rules still apply. In well light areas with street lights, I want to be seen so a good strong light and a Flashing light will get drivers attention. Roads without lighting and that flashing light still works- but at 20mph I still want to be able to see up to about 50 yards. A light that is strong enough for this distance will also be seen by drivers.

I have a twin 5w LED that is good for about 100 yards on full beam. On low power it gives respectable light for the 50 yards and will obviously save on battery power. But the best light I have is a helmet light. 3 leds to see the bars with or to fix a flat or repair the bike. It is also superb at seeing round corners with the spotlight. Seems daft but a fixed light on the bike only points where the bike does. The helmet light does the same but it is where I am looking. I can see what that beastie is lurking just out of the scope of the bike light- or see the sign post that is almost level with me.

And I must also point out- Whether it is front or rear- You need two lights at each end. Rear lights I never see them when on the bike so two lights give me security if one fails. And on the main lighting forward, I have run out of battery power on a long ride so a secondary 1w LED will just about give me a light to see by and get me home.
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Old 09-05-08, 05:23 PM   #14
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Through the winter I have a couple of nights I ride with a group. Lights are so important. It seems every week someone will have light problems, so that rider will need to settle in the middle of the pack so that he can be protected.

We have some fairly sharp curves on some of the trails we ride. You can ride faster than your light if you are not careful. There were a couple of spills last year for that reason. Their light was working but they took the curves faster than the light could get around. Not sure how that works, but it does.
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Old 09-05-08, 05:28 PM   #15
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I am glad that I only putz around on our trails in the dark at about 10-12 mph. No fast riding for me, and no group riding.

I just installed a new LED light I got in the mail today, and it is REALLY bright. WOW!
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Old 09-05-08, 06:06 PM   #16
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On the days I commute I leave my house at 0530 so It is dark the entire ride. I really enjoy the quiet back roads in the morning. If the moon is out sometimes I turn off my head light and ride in the semi darkness. I also enjoy kayaking at night. I also ride with two blinkies on the back and on Tuesday I lost one of them and did not know it until I was in the bike lane on a busy road.
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Old 09-05-08, 06:30 PM   #17
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There are a number of good high-end lights on the market these days.

I started commuting last Fall in the dark, so I bought a dual headlight / single tail-light combo from diNotte lighting.
www.dinottelighting.com.

If I were to do it again, I'd look seriously at a Fenix flashlight set-up (lots about this in the electronics forum here), or maybe go for a new front wheel on my commuter with a Shimano Dynahub.
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Old 09-05-08, 08:54 PM   #18
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Here is my light set up for night riding. Niterider Minewt dewl, are the left 2 lights (Notice the battery is strapped to the top tube.) and the light on the right is a Nashbar light I use for flashing in the day time and as a back up for the Nite riders.
http://www.niterider.com/prod_minewtx2dual.shtml

I don't always have the backup light on the handlebars.

Nite rider minute dewl $130 including shipping
The Nashbar light was about $17.

My tail light is a Cateye TL 1100 It has 10 leds 6 facing rear and 2 facing to each side. There are 2 rows with 4 settings for each row.
http://harriscyclery.net/itemdetails.cfm?ID=1578

That tail light on my seat post is a cheap rear blinky from Wal-mart.

As Fall approaches I will be using the light more for commuting to work. That is when most of my riding at night occurs.
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Old 09-05-08, 09:04 PM   #19
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i jsut bought a single night rider and use my blackburn for a flasher. i have multiple red lights for the rear. I commute and during the summer waited till sunlight to leave. i had rode in the dark before but it was stressful trying to miss the bumps and not get run over. with this new light i leave eairler and eiarler. sometimes before 5am. It is great.
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Old 09-06-08, 07:13 AM   #20
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I went out this am, leaving at 5:15

My new 53 LED light works great. Very bright.

On the way, in the grey dawn, I saw a large bird flying to a branch on a tree. Stopping, I heard a "hoot, hoot" and then an answering, but softer "hoot, hoot" from another tree about 50 feet away. Each time the owl hooted, he would cock forward and puff up. I watched this mutual conversation for about 5 minutes.

On the way back, I almost hit a coyote running across my path. Also, lots of other birds were beginning their day. I didn't see any deer - but I did yesterday - two white-tailed deer - a mom and a just beyond fawn.
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Old 09-06-08, 10:29 AM   #21
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I'm not particularly fond of night riding but it's my only choice in winter if I want to keep my legs in shape for longer weekend rides, and I live too far from work to commute. I have 2 Plant Bike blinkies on the back and they produce a halo of light several feet wide -- cars change lanes to avoid me which makes me wonder if the light is a little blinding and prevents them from seeing ME through the light.

On the front I have a Cygo-Lite Nite Rover.

I'm planning to get a helmet light.... that Light & Motion Solo posted above looks appealing for that purpose.

I also wear a reflective vest and the tires have reflective rims.
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Old 09-06-08, 12:32 PM   #22
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[QUOTE=stapfam;7409370]Having done a fair amount of Night riding- One of the most important things to think of- is that you can only ride at a speed that your lights will allow you.QUOTE]

Very true. Thats why I built this one several years ago. Its a 20-watt quartz halogen bulb/reflector encased in a section of PVC pipe. I still use it, and it'll light up the road on 20 mph night rides.


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Old 09-10-08, 07:32 AM   #23
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I'm planning to get a helmet light.... that Light & Motion Solo posted above looks appealing for that purpose.
The hardest part for me when I got the Solo helmet light was remembering to NOT look in people's windows, or directly at oncoming traffic. It does tend to be blinding.

On the other hand, it is fun to wear around the house in the dark and pretend you're an explorer. (OK, OK. I don't live the most exciting of lives.)
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Old 09-10-08, 08:46 AM   #24
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I have the Niterider II single bulb light and it gives plenty of light on solo rides at night, even at fast speeds when going down hills. Tonight I'll ride with the Lake Erie Wheelers A ride which starts at 6:30 and ends 35 to 40 miles later. Riding in a group at night isn't for everyone, but, it's a blast for me. Our group has experianced riders who know how to ride next to others' and communicates well. I've dropped back from the group before and was amazed how visible the group was with all the blinking/flashing red lights on helmets, saddles, seatpost and bar ends. We do have one guy who has the Bike Planet tail light with the white strobe. That is blinding when you are behind him in a pace line. We have asked him to put a piece of tape over the white part of the light.
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Old 09-10-08, 09:16 AM   #25
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[QUOTE=DnvrFox;7401579]Riding in the Dark is Fun for 50+'rs

Got up early this am and went bicycling at 5:30. Temp was 42F, still dark.

Good for you, and I'm glad it was fun - and the rest of the morning sounds great too, swimming and singing. Don't share those joys, although I wish I could. I swim like a lead pipe, and bullfrogs object to my singing.

I was about to say "So did I" to the cycling part of the post - 'cept for me it was 5.00, still dark, temp was 35....C. Oh, and 85% humidity. Steamed up glasses in the dark!

I really can't do with feeling cold any more

I'm away back to London for a week tonight, looking forward to everything but the temperature!
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