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Night riding in Orange County - where?

Old 11-10-10, 08:28 AM
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Night riding in Orange County - where?

Hi all,
I live in Irvine and starting to consider doing some rides at night. I'm basically considering my goals for 2011 which include riding a double century. For me, this will certainly involve riding at night which I haven't done much of before. Since our clocks rolled back, it seems much easier to do a night ride without having to wait too long for it to get dark.

For those of you living in the Irvine/Newport Beach area, what are your favorite/safest routes to ride in the dark (with lights of course). Specifically, I'm wondering if Santiago Canyon is relatively safe at night.

Thanks in advance!
-D
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Old 11-10-10, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by idoru2005
Hi all,
I live in Irvine and starting to consider doing some rides at night.
Hi idoru,

The OC Rebels have night rides from Windrow Park in Irvine on Tues. and Thur. evenings beginning at 6:00PM. No ride this Thur. since it's a holiday, but on all non-holiday Tues. and Thur. evenings, show up and ride.

Lou Ann, who rides with us, has done a couple of double centuries so she could probably help you in that regard. Also, Tom Parkes (who has ridden 100+ doubles) often (but not always) joins us.

Route wise we have several, plus we're always looking and trying new options. Yes, Santiago Canyon is relatively safe at night. We also ride Lemon Heights, Newport Coast to Vista Ridge/Ridge Park, Mission Viejo to Vista Del Lago, and lots of other options/areas.

No charge for the rides, just show up and ride!

Rick / OCRR
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Old 11-10-10, 11:21 AM
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I have lived in Irvine the past 16 years.

I wouldn't ride Santiago at night. No way. You see all the beer bottles and broken lights from accidents all over the shoulder? I ride that road every day and have never seen an incident so I would imagine all that stuff must happen at night! Also, visibility is rough out there without street lighting. I've never done it - but wouldn't try it. I error on the conservative side, however.

You know what I would do? Get to the Mountains to the Sea trail and bike from Irvine to Newport. You never have to stop, it's completely empty at night, and there is zero risk of a car hitting you. There's a small portion on Harvard that you will need to ride but it's two lanes each direction with a large bike lane. You can even sneak through a residential area with no traffic if you want to avoid Harvard.

Oustide of that it's essentially 25 miles of car-free, walker-free, biker-free bike path. I usually hit it a couple of times a week around 8-9pm. I have averaged 21mph for the roundtrip so you can really fly - especially around the Back Bay. There's something surreal about having your iPod blasting as you sail down that Back Bay hill at 30mph in the dark and end up flying along the Bay at 25mph with the cold wind hitting you around every corner. You feel alive!

I know there's not much traffic around the Spectrum since that's an industrialized area. I'm scared of the drunks leaving the Spectrum, however.

I'm very concerend with my safety even in the daytime so at night I'd rather not be around people who are more likely to be drunk or have their visibility impaired by the darkness. I'd stick to the bike path.
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Old 11-10-10, 11:52 AM
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go to irlandmarks.org - check out the schedule of activities. Lots of night rides posted.

Although I assume you mean road... thankfully Orange County is covered with bike trails and paths all safe to use during the night with proper lights. I know people ride through Santiago Canyon at night (as I see them) and other places, but just know, the roads are not all the safe especially at night. You take a risk when cars are involved.

If time is limited, try riding early morning - still dark but traffic much lighter...
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Old 11-10-10, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Rick@OCRR
Hi idoru,

The OC Rebels have night rides from Windrow Park in Irvine on Tues. and Thur. evenings beginning at 6:00PM. No ride this Thur. since it's a holiday, but on all non-holiday Tues. and Thur. evenings, show up and ride.

Lou Ann, who rides with us, has done a couple of double centuries so she could probably help you in that regard. Also, Tom Parkes (who has ridden 100+ doubles) often (but not always) joins us.

Route wise we have several, plus we're always looking and trying new options. Yes, Santiago Canyon is relatively safe at night. We also ride Lemon Heights, Newport Coast to Vista Ridge/Ridge Park, Mission Viejo to Vista Del Lago, and lots of other options/areas.

No charge for the rides, just show up and ride!

Rick / OCRR
Thanks Rick! Looks like I'll be joining the rebels on Tuesday!
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Old 11-10-10, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Accordion
I have lived in Irvine the past 16 years.

I wouldn't ride Santiago at night. No way. You see all the beer bottles and broken lights from accidents all over the shoulder? I ride that road every day and have never seen an incident so I would imagine all that stuff must happen at night! Also, visibility is rough out there without street lighting. I've never done it - but wouldn't try it. I error on the conservative side, however.

You know what I would do? Get to the Mountains to the Sea trail and bike from Irvine to Newport. You never have to stop, it's completely empty at night, and there is zero risk of a car hitting you. There's a small portion on Harvard that you will need to ride but it's two lanes each direction with a large bike lane. You can even sneak through a residential area with no traffic if you want to avoid Harvard.

Oustide of that it's essentially 25 miles of car-free, walker-free, biker-free bike path. I usually hit it a couple of times a week around 8-9pm. I have averaged 21mph for the roundtrip so you can really fly - especially around the Back Bay. There's something surreal about having your iPod blasting as you sail down that Back Bay hill at 30mph in the dark and end up flying along the Bay at 25mph with the cold wind hitting you around every corner. You feel alive!

I know there's not much traffic around the Spectrum since that's an industrialized area. I'm scared of the drunks leaving the Spectrum, however.

I'm very concerend with my safety even in the daytime so at night I'd rather not be around people who are more likely to be drunk or have their visibility impaired by the darkness. I'd stick to the bike path.

Thanks for that suggestion. It's on my to-do list. I know that route well.
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Old 11-10-10, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Pamestique
go to irlandmarks.org - check out the schedule of activities. Lots of night rides posted.

Although I assume you mean road... thankfully Orange County is covered with bike trails and paths all safe to use during the night with proper lights. I know people ride through Santiago Canyon at night (as I see them) and other places, but just know, the roads are not all the safe especially at night. You take a risk when cars are involved.

If time is limited, try riding early morning - still dark but traffic much lighter...
Hi Pamestique, thanks for the input on Santiago. One path I'm curious about is the path which runs from Jeffrey/University (running parallel to 405S) to Shady Canyon. There's a gate near the 405S entrance. And I'm wondering if this gets closed at night.
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Old 11-10-10, 07:28 PM
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I'm diggin' on all of the misinformation in this thread so far.

The County Class I bikeways are all officially closed this time of year at 6PM. There is also a 10MPH speed limit for bicycles on them. Neither seem to be enforced, but both should have been mentioned by those suggesting their use after dark.

As far as those who don't recommend riding the streets at night, they apparently don't have a very good grip on math. Fewer vehicles equals fewer chances of having an incident with them. I've ridden all over the county at night and am still here to talk about it (except Ortega Hwy, which is on my short-list to hit up).

To the OP; use good lights, your imagination and Google Maps. Using secondaries and resedential thoughways at night is great. Irvine has so many Class II bikeways, connecting up secondaries and resedentials is super easy. Accessing Anaheim Hills and Yorba Linda from Irvine is easily possible with these tactics in mind.
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Old 11-10-10, 07:46 PM
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Riding at night is a joy compared to the daytime hours.. The traffic here in the IE is down about 90-95% at night.. I have done 30 mile rides where fewer than 10 cars have passed me in total..

Have adequate lighting, a good tailight and realize you can ride as fast as the quality of the lighting you use..

Most lights sold are lights used for being seen by cars as opposed to seeing the road in front of you..
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Old 11-10-10, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by CritEastwood
I'm diggin' on all of the misinformation in this thread so far.

The County Class I bikeways are all officially closed this time of year at 6PM. There is also a 10MPH speed limit for bicycles on them. Neither seem to be enforced, but both should have been mentioned by those suggesting their use after dark.

As far as those who don't recommend riding the streets at night, they apparently don't have a very good grip on math. Fewer vehicles equals fewer chances of having an incident with them. I've ridden all over the county at night and am still here to talk about it (except Ortega Hwy, which is on my short-list to hit up).

To the OP; use good lights, your imagination and Google Maps. Using secondaries and resedential thoughways at night is great. Irvine has so many Class II bikeways, connecting up secondaries and resedentials is super easy. Accessing Anaheim Hills and Yorba Linda from Irvine is easily possible with these tactics in mind.
Ok then. Please post an example of how to get to Anaheim hills from Irvine (say University Park). This is the kind of distance I'm talking about. Much appreciated.
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Old 11-10-10, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by socalrider
Riding at night is a joy compared to the daytime hours.. The traffic here in the IE is down about 90-95% at night.. I have done 30 mile rides where fewer than 10 cars have passed me in total..

Have adequate lighting, a good tailight and realize you can ride as fast as the quality of the lighting you use..

Most lights sold are lights used for being seen by cars as opposed to seeing the road in front of you..
What is a common setup for socal night riding? I currently have a PB superflash and another generic rear blinkie. I have a 3 LED front light, but I don't have a "to see the road" light yet.
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Old 11-10-10, 09:25 PM
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Originally Posted by CritEastwood
I'm diggin' on all of the misinformation in this thread so far.

The County Class I bikeways are all officially closed this time of year at 6PM. There is also a 10MPH speed limit for bicycles on them. Neither seem to be enforced, but both should have been mentioned by those suggesting their use after dark.

As far as those who don't recommend riding the streets at night, they apparently don't have a very good grip on math. Fewer vehicles equals fewer chances of having an incident with them. I've ridden all over the county at night and am still here to talk about it (except Ortega Hwy, which is on my short-list to hit up).

To the OP; use good lights, your imagination and Google Maps. Using secondaries and resedential thoughways at night is great. Irvine has so many Class II bikeways, connecting up secondaries and resedentials is super easy. Accessing Anaheim Hills and Yorba Linda from Irvine is easily possible with these tactics in mind.
To each his own. I have TWO Dinotte 200L headlights and a Superflash in the rear and wouldn't thing of riding Santiago at night. There are also FAR fewer people out at night but your won't find me in certain parks in the dark. It's just more dangerous in my mind.
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Old 11-10-10, 10:29 PM
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If you don't think riding at night is more dangerous, you aren't being realistic. That said, I enjoy riding at night. I prefer to stay on streets with slower speed limits, although the bike lanes on Santiago Canyon would make me feel safe.
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Old 11-10-10, 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by rooftest
If you don't think riding at night is more dangerous, you aren't being realistic. That said, I enjoy riding at night. I prefer to stay on streets with slower speed limits, although the bike lanes on Santiago Canyon would make me feel safe.
Not now they wouldn't. They're doing a ton of work on the road and right now it has new asphalt but no reflective markings whatsoever. The bike lane / shoulder lane isn't even painted for 2/3 of Santiago. Definitely wait a week or two before trying it.
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Old 11-10-10, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by CritEastwood
As far as those who don't recommend riding the streets at night, they apparently don't have a very good grip on math. Fewer vehicles equals fewer chances of having an incident with them.
I'm pretty sure the main concern with riding at night is the worry of running into a drunk driver. From the IIHS from 2009:

Time of Day - Deaths - %
Midnight-3am - 4,378 - 13
3am-6am - 2,824 - 8
6am-9am - 3,041 - 9
9am-noon - 3,236 - 10
Noon-3pm - 4,404 - 13
3pm-6pm - 5,468 - 16
6pm-9pm - 5,420 - 16
9pm-midnight - 4,767 - 14

Vehicle fatalities, true. If anyone has a similar breakdown for cyclists, I'd love to see it.

So, 3-6PM has the highest total number of deaths, followed very closely by 6-9PM And, in third place, we get 9PM-Midnight.
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Old 11-11-10, 12:56 AM
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Originally Posted by idoru2005
Ok then. Please post an example of how to get to Anaheim hills from Irvine (say University Park). This is the kind of distance I'm talking about. Much appreciated.
You missed a spot:
Originally Posted by CritEastwood
To the OP; use good lights, your imagination and Google Maps.
I'm not going to spoon-feed anyone routes on this forum anymore.
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Old 11-11-10, 12:59 AM
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Originally Posted by rooftest
If you don't think riding at night is more dangerous, you aren't being realistic. That said, I enjoy riding at night. I prefer to stay on streets with slower speed limits, although the bike lanes on Santiago Canyon would make me feel safe.
I've been called much worse than unrealistic. It's all about where one chooses to ride at night, IMO. My aforementioned brand of routing would be much more dangerous to me during the daytime.
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Old 11-11-10, 01:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Accordion
To each his own. I have TWO Dinotte 200L headlights and a Superflash in the rear and wouldn't thing of riding Santiago at night. There are also FAR fewer people out at night but your won't find me in certain parks in the dark. It's just more dangerous in my mind.
I've ridden Santiago at night, Watts at night, South LA at night, Boyle Heights at night, Home Gardens at night and a grip of other places most whitebread people would shudder to think about and the boogeyman hasn't eaten me alive yet. I do have to admit to ninja status at times through some of the more sketchy 'hoods and they ('hood rats) never even know what just flashed by in the dark.
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Old 11-11-10, 01:07 AM
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Originally Posted by rallison
I'm pretty sure the main concern with riding at night is the worry of running into a drunk driver. From the IIHS from 2009:

Time of Day - Deaths - %
Midnight-3am - 4,378 - 13
3am-6am - 2,824 - 8
6am-9am - 3,041 - 9
9am-noon - 3,236 - 10
Noon-3pm - 4,404 - 13
3pm-6pm - 5,468 - 16
6pm-9pm - 5,420 - 16
9pm-midnight - 4,767 - 14

Vehicle fatalities, true. If anyone has a similar breakdown for cyclists, I'd love to see it.

So, 3-6PM has the highest total number of deaths, followed very closely by 6-9PM And, in third place, we get 9PM-Midnight.
Unless you're posting up bicycle fatalities, that doesn't mean diddly-squat.

I follow the RAGister closely enough to know that in OC the daytime bicycle fatalities severely outnumber the night fatalities.
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Old 11-11-10, 01:32 AM
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i enjoy riding at night. spares me from those nasty sunglasses/helmet straps tans i get from morning rides.

i use a planet bike superflash for the rear and a magicshine for the front. the magicshine is overkill for riding in the city (and well-lit streets in general) but is absolutely necessary for bike paths, river trails, or otherwise "desolate" mountain/canyon roads.

as confident as i am with night riding, i will admit that i did find myself lost the other night in hollywood hills. a lot of narrow, snaking roads, few cars/people, and it was cold, dark and windy. these factors started bothering me psychologically but i eventually found my way up to the hollywood sign. the last stretch was an interesting experience, as i was riding in near-darkness and i felt like i had the whole mountain to myself. but overall, i never felt unsafe or bothered by cars.

as for getting from irvine to anaheim hills, the most straightforward route is irvine center to sand canyon to portola to jamboree/santiago cyn to cannon. or you could take irvine ctr to jeffrey to walnut and get to anaheim hills via tustin.
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Old 11-11-10, 01:54 AM
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Originally Posted by CritEastwood
Unless you're posting up bicycle fatalities, that doesn't mean diddly-squat.
It isn't perfect, but it means more than diddly-squat. Considering that 62% of fatal crashes from 9PM-6AM involve legally drunk drivers (vs 20% for the rest of the day), and that many cyclists are killed/injured by drunk drivers, I'd argue that the data, at the very least, shows that it isn't simply a matter of "less drivers = less risk."

Originally Posted by CritEastwood
I follow the RAGister closely enough to know that in OC the daytime bicycle fatalities severely outnumber the night fatalities.
This really doesn't bolster your point since the number of daytime cyclists vastly outnumbers the number of nighttime cyclists.
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Old 11-11-10, 01:55 AM
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Also, with that said, I do enjoy nighttime cycling (there is a certain calm to it) and agree that the route chosen makes a big difference.
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Old 11-11-10, 03:05 AM
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Originally Posted by idoru2005
What is a common setup for socal night riding? I currently have a PB superflash and another generic rear blinkie. I have a 3 LED front light, but I don't have a "to see the road" light yet.
Depends on your route, if you have lots of lighting on the road, you can get away with a 200 lumen light. Personally I have 2 lights with 500 lumens each.. I use just one for a majority of my ride but I have a few roads that are very dark and I switch the 2nd light on in those sections and having a backup light is a big plus, just in case your battery goes out on your primary light..

Like discussed above, the Magicshine light is the best bang for the buck.. 500 lumens out the front for under 100.00..
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Old 11-11-10, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by rallison
I'm pretty sure the main concern with riding at night is the worry of running into a drunk driver. From the IIHS from 2009:

Time of Day - Deaths - %
Midnight-3am - 4,378 - 13
3am-6am - 2,824 - 8
6am-9am - 3,041 - 9
9am-noon - 3,236 - 10
Noon-3pm - 4,404 - 13
3pm-6pm - 5,468 - 16
6pm-9pm - 5,420 - 16
9pm-midnight - 4,767 - 14

Vehicle fatalities, true. If anyone has a similar breakdown for cyclists, I'd love to see it.

So, 3-6PM has the highest total number of deaths, followed very closely by 6-9PM And, in third place, we get 9PM-Midnight.
While it's true that I'm concerned about drunk drivers, in Irvine I'm more concerned about random bike-lane drifters.

Someone posted above that early morning is a great time to ride, but personally my feeling is that most fatal bike accidents occur in the early morning when commuters are rushing to get to work and take advantage of empty roads to drive like maniacs, email while driving, shaving, etc. I'd rather take me chances at night with the drunks.
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Old 11-11-10, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by CritEastwood
You missed a spot:

I'm not going to spoon-feed anyone routes on this forum anymore.
I've got plenty of imagination thank you very much. What happened last time you "spoon-fed" someone your favorite route, Jerome? Google maps and imagination only go so far. I'd like to hear about people's personal experiences, otherwise I wouldn't have posted here asking for opinions/advice.
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