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AM commute INTO the (blinding) SUN...

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AM commute INTO the (blinding) SUN...

Old 01-20-07, 01:48 AM
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Speedub.Nate
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AM commute INTO the (blinding) SUN...

Any words of wisdom here?

Of late, the bulk of my 12 mile commute home from work is into the blinding morning sunlight. Temporary only due to the time of the year, but I am concerned about being lost in the windshield glare of morning drivers.

I'm concerned because a couple miles are relatively long stretches on moderately busy roads.

I've got an 8" reflective triangle hanging off my pack, a Cateye LD1000 burning, and I'm trying to locate a Superflash to add to the mix... but honestly, none of that can compete with the bright morning sunlight.

Do any other cyclists factor this in to their commute equation?
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Old 01-20-07, 08:53 PM
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My commute is in the dark, so not a problem. You might consider leaving earlier .
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Old 01-20-07, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by idcruiserman
My commute is in the dark, so not a problem. You might consider leaving earlier .
+1 I try to adjust the timing of my rides to/from work to avoid the worst sun glare periods.
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Old 01-20-07, 10:53 PM
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I leave earlier just to avoid riding into the sun. I get to work two hours earlier than I need to, but it gives me time to change my clothes and browse the internet. I usually start working an hour earlier than I have to, but we are so shorthanded right now that there is plenty for me to do.
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Old 01-21-07, 02:27 AM
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Ahhh... if only I could.

I'm getting off the graveyard shift right about then, so I can't leave early, and would prefer not to delay my departure. This should only be a problem for a few more weeks, so maybe I'll find a way to kill an hour before setting out.
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Old 01-21-07, 08:50 AM
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The solution is obvious: The sun must be destroyed.
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Old 01-21-07, 09:47 AM
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You might be able to change your route as well to minimize your exposure to traffic when the sun is effectively making you invisible. There may be some streets where trees, buildings or landmarks hide the rising sun, have less traffic volume, etc.
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Old 01-21-07, 09:53 AM
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Yup... Run at right angles to the sun, using alternate routes.

You've got to go east some time, but you can pick what roads you do... and for how long.
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Old 01-21-07, 10:41 AM
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I also leave early to avoid riding into the sun.
Taking alternate routes isn't always an option. I live in the country, and there's only one reasonable route. It's 10 miles. The next nearest alternate route is about 16 miles.

Sounds like the OP is stuck waiting for the sun to come up a bit.

I ride with a rear strobe, but I don't think even with that it'd be safe when riding straight into the sun. I've certainly been in situations where I've been driving a car lately and thinking "if there was a bike there right now, I couldn't see it."
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Old 01-21-07, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by ItsJustMe
I also leave early to avoid riding into the sun.
Taking alternate routes isn't always an option. I live in the country, and there's only one reasonable route. It's 10 miles. The next nearest alternate route is about 16 miles.

Sounds like the OP is stuck waiting for the sun to come up a bit.

I ride with a rear strobe, but I don't think even with that it'd be safe when riding straight into the sun. I've certainly been in situations where I've been driving a car lately and thinking "if there was a bike there right now, I couldn't see it."
Yep, that's pretty much me... well, except for the open country part. But on the streets in question, there is nearly an absolute lack of decent alternatives (i.e. shady, low-traffic tree lined side streets) from what I've been able to determine, and the bulk of the commute direction is headed due east right into the rising sun.

With time...
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Old 01-21-07, 04:17 PM
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Lights and reflectors are useless in this situation. Use a mirror to watch traffic coming up behind you and be prepared to do an emergency exit onto the sidewalk or ditch. Try stopping off for a cup of coffee until the sun gets a little higher.
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Old 01-21-07, 07:57 PM
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I live in a long, narrow place so you either get lucky and go away from the sun or you don't get lucky and you go into the sun. Things I've learned:

1) If you are commuting into the sun, so is almost everybody else at that hour. They are used to it.
2) They can see the white line in the road. The might not be able to see anything else. Being to the right of the white line can be the safest spot to be. I know that on the days I drove I hoped and prayed that if there were bikes over there that they stayed there.
3) If you have a mirror, you can see what people are doing behind you very easily because looking in the mirror isn't looking into the sun. Get a mirror.
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Old 01-22-07, 07:57 AM
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Find a job on the other side of your house.
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Old 01-22-07, 08:14 AM
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Good call for noticing! A different route or a different time seem like the only safe choice. I definately wouldn't trust cars to stay within the lane, and if there's regular traffic you'd be watching a mirror the whole time and not have any time for watching where you're riding. Even then, a sudden swerve could easily take you out.

Makes me realize how lucky I am to have a north/south commute on country roads.
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Old 01-22-07, 11:30 AM
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Change shifts.
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Old 01-22-07, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by jfz
Change shifts.
What, and voluntarily give up overnights? Are you MAD?

It's 5:15 in the morning. An airline ground handler is crouched beneath a 737, shivering in the cold rain as he struggles with a lavatory hookup and sweet smelling, icy "blue juice" dribbles down his sleeve into his arm pit. The only thing keeping him warm is the overpowering scent of JetA, wafting from his under-insulated polyester coat. His buddy walks up and tells him, "Today's my last day... I'm going to work for Starbucks!"

"WHAT? And get out of aviation?"
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Old 01-22-07, 06:45 PM
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Mr. Miskatonic The solution is obvious: The sun must be destroyed.

Nice!!!
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Old 01-22-07, 09:08 PM
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The obvious thought is that a blinky is useless in such situations. However, I have followed quite a few cyclists with 2 or 3-year-old blinkies like the Vistalite or Cateye TL-500 (the round one with built-in CPSC relectors), and even these low-power ones, when used in flashing mode, are an effective way to warn motorists. With one such taillight, the cyclist is not as visible as if the sun were not a problem, but he still is noticeable.

With that in mind, the Cateye TL-LD1000 would be much more effective than the TL-500. And for the ultimate beam, consider the BLT Rear Super Doppler (very powerful beam, like a headlight, with steady and flashing modes – also available under the Serfas name) or the Planet Bike Super Doppler (slightly less bright, but with a weird flashing mode). Yet, even with that, keep an eye in your rearview mirror.

Finally, as others have said, on a given stretch of road, the most critial period typically lasts only 10-15 minutes. Although I prefer riding in the sun than riding during the 10 minutes prior to the shift change of a major industry, when everybody tries to beat the clock.
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Old 01-23-07, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Michel Gagnon
With that in mind, the Cateye TL-LD1000 would be much more effective than the TL-500. And for the ultimate beam, ...or the Planet Bike Super Doppler (slightly less bright, but with a weird flashing mode). Yet, even with that, keep an eye in your rearview mirror.

Finally, as others have said, on a given stretch of road, the most critial period typically lasts only 10-15 minutes.
This time of year, that "critical period" seems to be lasting a whole lot longer, probably due to the low angle of the winter sun.

As I mentioned in my original post, I've got an LD1000, and a Planet Bike SuperFlash on order, but also I've got a Cateye 500 reflector/LED on my chainstay, so to that end I'm in pretty good shape. I'll be interested to see how bright this Superflash is in daylight hours.

I'll be sure to look at the BLT/Serfas.
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