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  1. #1
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    My first night ride.

    I have been having a bad day today. First I spent the day taking my wife from one doctor’s appointment to another. I had signed up to join a small group from our Church and my wife had already promised a woman she would take her to a doll class so I was going to have to take the truck. Went out to the truck and I had a flat. So I decided I would just mount my lights and take my road bike. It wasn’t far and I hadn’t been out on my normal Monday ride anyway. I got to the group about 2 minutes late but it was an Ok ride. It is a gated community and I wasn’t sure the guard was going to let me through.

    After the meeting I started home and it was full on dark. Fired up the lights and set the tail lights to blink and decided to do the same for the front. First thing I noticed is it is hard to see what is on the road ahead of you. The second thing was the tingly feeling in my back when cars came up behind me and there was very little shoulder. I decided to ride on some of the main streets because of better lighting and traffic was pretty light anyway. Still all in all it was a tense ride coming home. I might get used to it but I am not sure. I am also not sure setting my front light to blink was the best move either. I might have made it easier for people to see me but it was harder to see the road.

    How many other 50+ ride at night?

  2. #2
    Randomhead
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    Saturday I was riding "the seven climbs of death." From my house it is 70 miles, 6000 feet of climbing. I got to the foot of the main climb in time to get home before dark if I abandoned. I reasoned that I had my lights, and it would tempting fate to abandon a ride known as the 7 climbs of death. So I ended up climbing the last mountain in the dark. It really wasn't that bad. I also did over an hour of my February 200k in the dark. That was a little more exciting, unknown busy roads.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    Saturday I was riding "the seven climbs of death." From my house it is 70 miles, 6000 feet of climbing. I got to the foot of the main climb in time to get home before dark if I abandoned. I reasoned that I had my lights, and it would tempting fate to abandon a ride known as the 7 climbs of death. So I ended up climbing the last mountain in the dark. It really wasn't that bad. I also did over an hour of my February 200k in the dark. That was a little more exciting, unknown busy roads.
    well I even avoided some of the roads I ride during the day because I knew there were pot holes I wouldn't be able to see. But I still believe the worst part was not knowing how the cars would react to me.

  4. #4
    Senior Member JimF22003's Avatar
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    I generally will only ride at night on the MUP (W&OD trail or loops down to the Potomac). Of course I have lights on early morning commutes as well, but it's not completely dark when I start out.

  5. #5
    Ride Daddy Ride Jet Travis's Avatar
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    I love the idea, but years ago while riding at night across a bridge, I damn near went down a culvert and into the river. I've been too chicken ever since.
    "Light it up, Popo." --Levi Leipheimer

  6. #6
    Senior Member Allegheny Jet's Avatar
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    I ride at night when that's the only time available. It didn't take long to get used to doing it. I also do some group rides with the Lake Erie Wheelers that start at 6:30 PM and continue through the year as long as the temps are above 22, the roads are dry and two guys show up. Christmas light rides are a lot fun on a group ride.

    It wont take long to get comfortable riding in the dark as long as you have good equipment. I use the NightRider Minewt 2 light, have a blinkie on my helmet and a flasher on my bag.
    oldschool areodynamic brick

  7. #7
    Senior Member BikeArkansas's Avatar
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    I ride with a group that goes out each Monday evening. During the winter lights are required for the entire ride. We mostly stick to the MUP but some road riding is thrown into the mix. I agree that good equipment is essential. My first few rides was made with a $29.00 light set. After a few near misses I made a MAJOR upgrade. Much easier to ride at night now.
    I started riding my bike to get healthy. Now I try to stay healthy so I can ride my bike.

  8. #8
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    I learned to ride at night after we lost daylight saving time in '08. It was the only way to get in some after work rides. I experimented with various headlights until I found what works for me. I have a small Cateye blinky on the handlebars and two bright LED flashlights. I have a PlanetBike Superflash on the seatpost and one on the left seat stay. So far so good.

    I've had one near hit. A cager pulled out to make a right turn in front of me. There's no way he didn't see me. I'm figuring he thought he would beat me into the lane. Anyway, he pulled out, I swerved left, he accelerated like crazy, and I pulled back into my lane and kept riding. That's about the only problem I've had with night rides.

    The two PBSFs on the back work well as do the flashlights up front.

  9. #9
    The "now retired" Old Guy Ed in GA's Avatar
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    If we had an MUP around here, I would probably consider riding at night. Otherwise, No!

    There is a fellow in my sub-division who commutes to work on his bike. For most of the year, it is dark when he makes the morning trip. I give him all of the room he needs but I see other who nearly run over him or run him off the road.

    He has plenty of lighting on the rear of his bike so it's not like he can't be seen.

    So, ride at night around here? Nope!
    "The problem with America is stupidity. I'm not saying there should be a capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?"

  10. #10
    Pedal pusher... alicestrong's Avatar
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    Almost everyone in my suburb is tucked in by about 9 PM so it's a great night ride.

  11. #11
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    During most of the Standard Time period, I ride home in the dark every work day. I just take it for granted, like driving at night.

    Paul

  12. #12
    Live to ride ride to live Carbon Unit's Avatar
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    I have been riding at night for about a year and a half. I have a Dinotte 600L and tail light and the thing lights up the road like a car. So, I can see the road in front of me very well. The down side to night riding, for me, is that it isn't nearly as fun as riding during the day. I also only ride on roads with bike lanes and very little traffic.

  13. #13
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    I once rode in a dark tunnel. I would guess it was no more than a quarter mile in length, but it was pitch black and all I could see was the little opening ahead. No lights. I couldn't see my bike at all. That was freaky.

  14. #14
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Only one way to ride at night and that is with a searchlight on the front and two powerful rear lamps.

    Don't do as much as I used to but We trained in the evenings of one winter on the Tandem offroad. We still hit trees and fell off though.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  15. #15
    Laid back bent rider unixpro's Avatar
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    I'm a commuter, so I regularly ride in the dark. Right now, because of the time change, I'm spending at least half my ride in under darkness. The ride home is all light now, at least.

    The blinking headlight wasn't the best choice. I'll only do that if I've got two headlights, and even then only if I'm in an area where I expect to be facing a lot of head-on traffic. Strobing the pavement and trying to make sense of it is too much like going to a 70s disco.

    The only things I can recommend for night riding are practice and lights. Lots of lights. I've got one handlebar-mounted (well, actually it's in front of the fairing on my recumbent) DiNotte 200L and another on my helmet. I also run two SuperBlinkies on my tail and another horizontal blinker on the back of my helmet. Further, I've got a Down Low Glow double-tube purple light giving off side light and making me more noticable (the unusual is noticed more). Finally, I have firefly lights on the valve stems of my tires. Have lights that make you visible from all directions, not just front and rear.

    Don't forget the reflectors either. Clothing, bag, helmet, tires, whatever. Glow like you're radioactive.

  16. #16
    www.ocrebels.com Rick@OCRR's Avatar
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    When I ride double centuries I usually start in the dark and end in the dark. On the Cameno Real Double in Feb. we had an hour and a half in the morning (5:30 AM start), and two and a half in the evening (7:30PM finish), i.e. before the change to daylight savings time.

    I enjoy riding in the dark as long as I know the course and don't have to stop and look at a lot of street signs along the way. I use a NiteRider Blowtorch for a front light, and have two Planet Bike Blinkies for the rear (one on my bike, one on my Camelback).

    So far, no issues with cars, and the NiteRider lights up the potholes quite well, so no issues there either. Night riding is fun and esp. so on otherwise empty country roads.

    Rick / OCRR

  17. #17
    Third World Layabout crtreedude's Avatar
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    I have ridden at night around here. It is wonderful, especially when there is a full moon. Thanks for reminding me. I need to recharge the ole headlight.

    My first ride was with my brother, doing single track of all things. Tends to keep you focused I can tell you.

  18. #18
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    I commute, so I leave for work and come home in the dark in the winter. Right now, with the time switch, I leave for work before dawn but return home while it's still light. About 5 miles of my commute is on a winding semi-rural road with *no* streetlights, so when it's dark, it's dark.

    Occasionally I'll do training / recreational rides in the dark as well.

    It's very handy to have the equipment/skills/comfort of riding in the dark because it allows you to "linger longer" on a winter afternoon when you're out riding and you don't want to worry about getting home while it's still light.

    I invested $$$ in really good lights (Dinotte; there are others).

    I wouldn't enjoy riding without quality lights.

  19. #19
    Recovering mentalist Randochap's Avatar
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    I ride extensively after/before dark. Good lighting is the key.

    Blinkies on front don't make sense, as you discovered. Just as irritating to oncoming cyclists, especially on narrow MUPs.
    VeloWeb | VeloWebLog

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  20. #20
    Randomhead
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    I'm hesitant to ride on a mup after dark because of ninja pedestrians. I have found that a helmet light is a great thing to have in traffic. It seems to keep people from pulling out in front of you and generally you can get people to dim if they are using their brights (a Pennsylvania specialty). I'm hoping to up my firepower considerably with new lights for my hub dyno.

  21. #21
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    I am thinking about running two lights in the front and I don't plan on using the flashing feature next time. I just didn't realize how dark a moonless night can be on a road without street lights. The helmet light idea sounds good as well. This was just the first time I had been out on a dark night and I kept feeling like someone was going to side swipe me even though no one came close. It does make you ride slower however. I discoverd that because at one point I was motoring along at a pretty good clip on a wider portion of the road and I came upon what I thought was a lighter patch of pavement only to discover it was dirt. Hard smooth dirt thank goodness and I got back to the pavement but I can see my MTB would make a better night bike in some cases than my road bike.

  22. #22
    Senior Member JimF22003's Avatar
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    The biggest danger on the MUPs around here are from the deer as much as from the pedestrians, although both can get that "caught in the headlights" look...

  23. #23
    Senior Member one_beatnik's Avatar
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    I find that on my commute (keep in mind I live in a rural area) the cars give me more space at night than I get during the day. I rode in the dark both directions yesterday. I think the blinking rear light draws enough attention that cagers are moving over out of not knowing what's ahead.

    Do you have a mirror? That helps for me. It may just be psychological, but that's OK.
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  24. #24
    Senior Member Timtruro's Avatar
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    Haven't ridden at night since I had a generator which operated the light on my 3 speed, I was probably about eleven years old.
    "If there are no cigars in heaven, I shall not go." -Mark Twain

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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by one_beatnik View Post
    I find that on my commute (keep in mind I live in a rural area) the cars give me more space at night than I get during the day. I rode in the dark both directions yesterday. I think the blinking rear light draws enough attention that cagers are moving over out of not knowing what's ahead.

    Do you have a mirror? That helps for me. It may just be psychological, but that's OK.
    Yes I have the typical helmet mirror. It works great during the day but when it is dark you can only see if there is a car back there lighting the road.

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