With the heat here in the NE, I've been waiting till dusk to start pedalling. My last 2 rides had me returning well after dark. I enjoy the night riding - nothing quite like it...
So, here are some observations - (you other LD gurus chime in, please) -
Even before Brevet riding I struggled with lighting, primarily while commuting. I've gone through my share of battery powered Cateye's, eventually investing in a modestly expensive Night Rider system. The NR worked well for about a month - but had range (bat charge limitations), and was sent back to the factory twice for repair (their customer service is phenomenal, BTW)... the straw that broke its back was it failing on a rainy 18 mile commute, well after 10PM, out in the boonies. It's been sitting in my "almost worked" collection of bike stuff.
Currently I ride a Schmidt Dyno Hub with dual Schmidt E6 headlights. I wish I'd have spent the $$ a few years ago on this rather than all the batteries and headaches. I love this setup. With dual lights it is very bright - and it runs as long as I can turn the pedals.
I've added a DanoLite LED to my helmet for navigation (cue sheets, street signs, etc.) This light is super light - only 18g on your head - and the burn time on the batteries is stated as 2.6 hours. By using the light selectively I've gotten far longer than 2 hours out of it... The first 2 DanLites I used failed at the bond between the aluminum clip and the LED. Peter White has replaced both of these - and I emailed the manufacturer who assured me that the 2 were a fluke - (I HOPE!) - a problem in his early manufacturing process. I'm on my 3rd light now and it seems fine. I want this light to work problem free - as it is so light on your head! and BRIGHT!
On the handlebars I've got a micro white LED. This can be set to blink or steady - and is my "be seen" light if I'm at a stop and the E6's aren't on. It comes in handy when changing batteries in my headlamp - and I even used it to read my cue on my 600k when my headlamp failed.
I've got a standard LED rear blinky, along with a micro red LED on the left chainstay, and bar end blinkies.
I wear ankle bands, as well as a Amphipod.
I'm happy with the set-up - but am researching alternatives to the Schmidt E6 lights. I may be trying a LED or Lumotech and see how they compare.
I run a single E6 from the time the sun starts dropping. This helps with visibility down the road.
Dusk and Dawn are the most challenging times to see the road - headlights of oncoming cars seem to overpower the E6's, and my eyes seem to be adjusting to the fading light. The road right in front of me often disappears. I'll often leave the headlamp on - as it's bright enough to light the road in front of me.
After dark I have both E6's running, and I'll selectively use the headlamp for navigating.
Glasses - clear or yellow "shooting" lenses - keeps the bugs out of your eyes! (I learned this painfully) - bugs like your lights - and like a car, my bike is splattered with em!
Eating and drinking - I tend to eat and drink a bit more at night - trying to keep my energy up - it can get a bit demoralizing and isolating to be riding along in a bubble of light for long periods of time.
Descending - I do this fast on roads that I know - its fun "flying" after dark... but where I'm not sure, I take it a bit slower. I'm weary of the NE's roads, and when it starts to get choppy, I put on the brakes.
Climbing - is interesting in the dark. If you don't know the terrain you don't really know how hard to work - and getting in tune with my breathing and cadence seems easier - I'm certainly more in tune with this at night - just me and my bike - and the sound of my breathing and the tires on the road.
Stopping to take it all in - last night I rode out on some very quiet roads. I stopped to watch thousands of fireflies light up a field. UNREAL. Equally unreal was turning off all my lighting equipment and looking up - a thousand times more stars than there were fireflies. Made all that climbing worth it.
Traffic - you know cars are coming a long ways out - as you are typically lit up well in advance when the pass from behind. When coming from the front I try to flash my headlamp in the cars direction (often times the brights will go off then!), and then I focus on the edge of the road - trying not to get blinded. I've had on occasion to come to a near stop until I was passed by a driver who didn't turn off his brights - I couldn't see the road right in front of me!
Any other tips? Thoughts? Tricks?