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Old 04-17-04, 10:47 AM   #1
cyclezealot
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What is the longest ride you do at night?

I sure have enough lights and reflective gear. If for some reason I had to ride a couple hours at night, just wonder about the reliability of lights,etc.. Some say traffic sees us better at night..?
Reason, this comes up..Almost had to consider a two hour ride home(commute) because of family car problems. At this given hour traffic would not be too intense...
You all do couple hour rides at night.What is the nature of these rides..? Guess, as long as one takes a backup lighting system, why not? Plus, correct clothing for weather conditions... Any other concerns for extended night riding?
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Old 04-17-04, 11:34 AM   #2
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Use lots of reflective equipment!
Also if it is cold out batteries tend to be sucked dry faster. I did a Metric Century at night last fall; it was about 40 degrees and the batteries for a 2 hour light only ran for about an hour and a half. Have reliable backups no matter what.
Also be sure of all your equipment before you ride. A lighting or mechanical problem in the dark is a real pain.
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Old 04-17-04, 12:03 PM   #3
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Old 04-17-04, 12:08 PM   #4
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Randonneurs Link and Ultra Marathon Cyclists Link do this kind of thing on a regular basis. I've done a bit, and with experience, you begin to know which equipment you can trust and you become more comfortable with night riding in general. You also learn to bring spares and backups for all functions.

I find good reflectors are critical for being seen and they are completely reliable. Just about any time a car is going to hit you, you will be in in the beam of their headlights. If you have good reflectors you will be highly visible.

For headlights, different riders have different needs. I believe that with experience (or need), you will find that you can get by with less, but if you don't need to get by with less, you don't have to.
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Old 04-17-04, 01:13 PM   #5
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I actually prefer riding at night.. Here is So. Cal I have specific routes that I know the traffic is very light especially at night.. My rides are usually 1.5 to 3 hours long.. I have an HID headlight, good tailiight and small flashing helmet light, I use a Princeton Tec Aurora affixed with velcro straps. The flashing light is just for being seen. This helps quite a bit at night especially when you look at someone they will stop..

For clothing, always have a light jacket that can fit in a jersey pocket just in case the weather gets a little chilly and leg warmers would be a plus also.. Hope this helps
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Old 04-17-04, 01:17 PM   #6
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My base light is a Cygo Lite Night ROver...Also have a Nite Rider Digital Evolution...Reason, I would take the Cygo Lite...I have two batteries for it..Each rated for two hours on one beam...So that is four hours...Guess never hurts to take a Compact headlight, just in case.. Oh, touring bikes have lots of carrying capacity. Probably always have a change of light bulbs. THink that is well prepared.
Think I would not like riding in busy traffic conditions at night.
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Old 04-17-04, 01:25 PM   #7
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So Cal..Drippy here today in So Cal Guess, we are shut in? In April ? ..I tend to look forward to night rides when the moon is full...Getting used to perfect conditions in SO Cal... One of my beefs about night riding...I like warm dry conditions...
But then , seems morning fog does not usually, come into town until maybe 2 am or later.So clammy conditions I don't like are usually, not about- if you ride before Midnight.
Jacket or not...Clammy is clammy. What a spot is Riverside County without traffic?
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Old 04-17-04, 01:36 PM   #8
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Here is a link if you are interested in the helmet light.. This has regular and flashing modes.. I use it in flashing modes but can be used in standard mode if you need a light in a pinch.. I prefer riding at night as opposed to rush hour traffic.. I have found that riding at night with proper lighting has been so much safer than riding during rush hour when everyone is in a hurry to get home.. The link below has pictures of the helmet light.. Light and velcro available at REI, total cost about 25.00...

If you ride or commute at night, this would be a good addition..
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Old 04-17-04, 01:44 PM   #9
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My digital Evolution has a helmet mount...So I am set.. Just with the handlebar light, I will have wires running everywhere...
SoCal..Another night lite I recently bought...Those Cyclop/UFO lights...Offered by CatEye...They can mount anywhere...
Probably mounting one on the backside of a helmet would be ideal for approaching traffic.
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Old 04-17-04, 02:08 PM   #10
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Well that is thing, this has no wires, it's all self contained.. Runs on 3aaa batteries, weighs 3 ounces total weight... There is no such thing as too many lights at night..
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Old 04-17-04, 03:49 PM   #11
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Longest night ride 5 hours, wore out my first battery in about 4 and went to the back-up to get home. Reason was just to ride, when darkness falls at 5PM the only time to ride was at night so there was no purpose other than the ride. I actually enjoy riding more at night, cars seem more observant, courteous or puzzled by the lights and give me a wide berth. Traffic is less or non-existent, wildlife abounds and trails are empty. It's also cooler on those hot humid summer days.

Like you said though, back up lights are the key, I carry two good headlights, and a EL300 as a last resort, along with spare blinkies should the need arise, had one of those vista-light rectangle shapes the inevitably pops apart, ususally I hear the parts hit the ground, but if I miss the sound, I have spares in case.
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Old 04-17-04, 03:56 PM   #12
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It really depends on the night. There are nights under a 1/2 to full moon that are wonderful for riding sans lighting, just hope the other guy sees me, or I see him before I run him over.
I commute from work after midnight most nights, and have a rechargeable light unit that works to about 2 hours. After two hours it starts fading on me. I have carried back ups, and have reflective vest if it is needed for riding in traffic. Like social rider, I stick to less traveled routes, and paved bike paths. Then I'm in the city where street lights and head lamps reflect me.
As far as reflective stuff, I don't think there's ever too much. There is a test I've done on my bike. You put it at the end of the block and walk back to to the other end. If you feel comfortable with the amount of reflection when hit with headlights/falshlights, then you're good to go.
I did run into an interesting thing last weekend. It was a group ride or something, like 6 guys on road bikes in the dark with one headlamp, full bore, SMART, real smart.
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Old 04-17-04, 05:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by socalrider
Well that is thing, this has no wires, it's all self contained.. Runs on 3aaa batteries, weighs 3 ounces total weight... There is no such thing as too many lights at night..
SoCal..I printed out your suggestion about the PT Aurora...The light emitted would certainly be stronger than the UFO strobe, if you have seen them.. Looks like a must for safety..
My Digital evolution headlamp...I only mean't for up front to see the road. With a headlamp on the handlebars and another on the helmet; many motorists might even find that combination intimidating.
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Old 04-17-04, 06:22 PM   #14
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I do lots of lengthy rides in and around Montréal at night, but mostly in lit areas.

For headlight, I use a generator headlight (Schmidt from http://www.peterwhitecycles.com), as it gives me peace of mind: never any dead battery. With rechargeables, there always was the question of whether or not I had enough residual power, especially in Winter (we have serious Winters here, BTW).
The Lumotec headlight is powerful enough to light a dark road and fairly visible to other traffic, but the beam is a bit too tight for offroad riding.

I supplement my headlight with a tiny Planet Bike white LED flasher. In steady mode, I think it is powerful enough to be used as a headlight in an emergency, or, pointed down, to lighten the potholes. In blinking mode, it's a real attention-getter.
I have also bought for my daughter a Planet Bike 1 W LED headlight, which I find a very good investment. A bit heavy, but a very good be-seen light or a good supplement to the generator for some off-road. With it, you'd have a true backup.

For taillight, I use 2 or 3 Vistalite Super Nebula taillights (the 5-LED ones). Great visibility -- with fresh batteries. I keep one in steady mode and 1 or 2 in blinking mode. Installing them close to eachother makes a "huge" taillight which is visible from further away. Besides, it has happened more than once that 1 set of batteries died during an outing... especially in Winter. LEDs attached to the rear of the bike are always pointed in the right direction.

I also have 2 SAE (automotive) amber reflectors attached to the bike. SAE reflectors aren't good if you zigzag in the street because they have a smaller angle of efficiency; however, when you cycle along the road in a straight line, they are much more effective than the wide-angled bike reflectors.

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Old 04-17-04, 06:52 PM   #15
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I've had people on the road flag me down and ask what combo I had.. With any of the new HID lights, you can see the road extremely well even at speed.. The flashing helmet light is just for being seen.. When you look right at a car on the road, you are definitely seen, which is the point.. I think it strobes 110 times a minute at fast strobe speed and about 50 at slow strobe speed.. I always run at fast strobe speed for the helmet light.. At the low weight it really does not feel like your helmet is being pushed forward which is what I felt when I used a Niterider helmet light..
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Old 04-17-04, 06:54 PM   #16
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96km last night was probably my longest night ride, although during some of it there was still light from the sunset. Having said that, in the dense rainforest behind Bilambil, there is no light at all. A full moon will be no assistance down there. I have two Nightpro Bullets.

As far as riding in traffic at night goes, it's really no different from riding in the same traffic during the day, providing you've made yourself visible. Well, actually it is a little different in one respect. The temperatures are cooler, so the drivers tend not to be quite so short-tempered.
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