Night Cycling

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jonbob78
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Night Cycling

Postby jonbob78 » Thu Nov 15, 2012 20:09 pm

Given kids etc I'm not really getting the chance to get out as much as I'd like over weekend and the turbo trainer in an evening is a little uninspiring.

So, with correct lighting how safe is cycling at night, in particular on unlit country roads in rural Cheshire?

Only got a decent flashing rear and cheapo front light at the moment but looking to buy what I need to make it safe - any recommendations without breaking the bank? Helmet lights??

Also ditched my rear reflector and got SPD pedals - if you're lit up like a disco would this be
a. Just as safe
b. Whilst against the Highway Code given the rest of the stuff enough to turn a blind eye?

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baldwin471
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Re: Night Cycling

Postby baldwin471 » Thu Nov 15, 2012 20:39 pm

90% of my riding is done at night. Get yourself a good front light, a good flashing rear light and a backup of both. Cheap backups will do but batteries dying on unlit woodland roads isn't fun.

thistle (MBNW)
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Re: Night Cycling

Postby thistle (MBNW) » Thu Nov 15, 2012 20:49 pm

I always though pedal reflectors and red rear reflectors were legal requirements, but I've never been pulled up for it. Many SPD shoes come with reflective spots or panels on the heel which work quite well.

The chinese Magicshine style lights are pretty good for the money. You can get helmet mounted ones (so you light up what you want to see rather than what's in front of the bike) but try not to dazzle other people with them.

Main hazards at night are potholes, wildlife running across the road in front of you and people out walking dogs on the wrong side of unlit country roads with nothing bright or reflective on them.

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Gizmodo
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Re: Night Cycling

Postby Gizmodo » Thu Nov 15, 2012 21:43 pm

thistle (MBNW) wrote:I always though pedal reflectors and red rear reflectors were legal requirements, but I've never been pulled up for it. Many SPD shoes come with reflective spots or panels on the heel which work quite well.

The chinese Magicshine style lights are pretty good for the money. You can get helmet mounted ones (so you light up what you want to see rather than what's in front of the bike) but try not to dazzle other people with them.

Main hazards at night are potholes, wildlife running across the road in front of you and people out walking dogs on the wrong side of unlit country roads with nothing bright or reflective on them.

+1

See this thread for recommendations http://www.bikeradar.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=40013&t=12876338


Gizmodo wrote:I bought one of these 11 months ago http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/SSC-P7-1200Lm-LED-Bicycle-bike-HeadLight-headLamp-Light-/170514393420?pt=UK_SportsLeisure_Cycling_Bike_Lights&hash=item27b373294c&_uhb=1

More than happy with it! I rode all winter at 6:30am for 30 to 40 miles through unlit county lanes and it never let me down once. I got it out last month for a night ride and it still works perfectly.

The only negative I would say is that the beam is very wide, but it does a great job. The handlebar mount works perfectly with a piece of rubber under the mount. I've even cut the elastic off the head mount and zip tied it to an old helmet and it works perfectly as a helmet mounted MTB light.

rhunt0
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Joined: Thu Nov 15, 2012 21:46 pm

Re: Night Cycling

Postby rhunt0 » Thu Nov 15, 2012 21:54 pm

Having recently started cycling to work on unlit Derbyshire roads, can honestly say I feel safer in dark than during day light.

Front Cateye EL135 & Cateye Nano
Rear Cateye LD1100 & Tesco LED

Helmet front and rear flashing twin LED's

Hope this helps

JasonBrooke
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Re: Night Cycling

Postby JasonBrooke » Fri Nov 16, 2012 00:42 am

I've got 2 sets of lights front and back, one set flashing one set solid. Also have one of Aldis hi vis jackets on. I agree with rhunt0. I felt anonymous in daylight as drivers cant see you but in the dark you become more visible and I seem to get more room and courtesy from other road users.

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Mettan
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Re: Night Cycling

Postby Mettan » Fri Nov 16, 2012 04:46 am

jonbob78 wrote:
So, with correct lighting how safe is cycling at night, in particular on unlit country roads in rural Cheshire?


I train alot in the dark (very early mornings) - the quiestest times are Monday - Thursday 1:00 am to 6:00 am (pretty much no traffic except for taxis) - in addition to night-time riding, it's worth considering some early morning riding (it's far quieter than at night) - getting out at 4:00-4:30 can make for a decent ride. For lights, consider a Lunar R2, Astrum or Moon Shield for the rear and an XM-L T6 C8 for the front.

cougie
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Re: Night Cycling

Postby cougie » Fri Nov 16, 2012 08:48 am

Get another rear light - you need two on the back.

What kit have you got ? Planet X overshoes have nice big reflectives down the back - as good as pedal reflectors. Get a decent jacket with lots of reflectives on too. If its your winter bike then put reflective tape all over it and on the mudguards.

Take spare batteries for the front and I find it's useful to have a torch on the helmet. That way it's pointing where you look - and if you flat or anything - you have light where you need it.

Wait til rush hour has died down and don't ride in the frost.

racingcondor
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Re: Night Cycling

Postby racingcondor » Fri Nov 16, 2012 13:03 pm

Agree, two rear lights is a minimum as you won't notice when one runs flat (I tend to run a blinky high up and two decent rear lights, one (Exposure flare) on the saddle rails and one on the seatpost).

If you're looking at a very bright front light (>100 lumens) then aim it down a bit and don't put it on flashing. Blinding oncoming traffic isn't all that safe. A standard £20 front light though is perfect as a forward facing flashing light but won't light up the road if it's really dark.

Phil_D
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Re: Night Cycling

Postby Phil_D » Fri Nov 16, 2012 13:11 pm

Which bit of rural Cheshire? I've heard some of the roads jump out at you.

deswahriff
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Re: Night Cycling

Postby deswahriff » Fri Nov 16, 2012 14:13 pm

...I ride every Wed night, usually with a small group of 3 to 5 ( this helps enormously)....its all country lanes in this part of Kent so hardly any traffic, and plenty of warning from their headlights anyway.
We've all got magic shines types lights and usually a back up and most have two rear lights. To be honest, if traffic can't see your lights, they aint going to see any high-viz you're wearing and most jackets/tights have refelective bits even if they are black, so we tend not to wear the fluo jackets that just make you sweat like a sweaty thing.
We stick to regular routes in an effort to avoid surprises - potholes are the usual danger, though we've had badgers and deer to avoid in the past! ..oh and we avoid scary downhills!!
..otherwise, its a blast - really invigourating, pacy rides as there's nothing to distract you - well apart from barn owls, bats and some stunning smells ranging from wood-smoke to rotten apples as you go along!!
Black and orange one,
Red one,
Black one.

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CiB
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Re: Night Cycling

Postby CiB » Fri Nov 16, 2012 15:10 pm

You want a mix of See and Be Seen. Most of my mileage is in the dark now and in unlit country lanes; fwiw I use

2 x Cateye HL-EL530 hanging from the bars - bright headlamps
1 x Cateye Cube 11 in the middle on flash to draw attention without blinding

1 x Cateye TL-LD1100 10 LED Rear light running in mixed mode - one bank solid, one flashing
1 x Cateye TL-LD600 5 LED Rear light that runs either in flash or solid depending on weather.

At this time of year also 2 x reflective ankle bands with flashing red LEDs, cost a quid or so from Pound Shops, Wilkinsons etc. Strap them either round your ankles or just below the knee and the steady up down motion shouts BIKE!!!!! to motorists.

Finally make sure your top (and helmet, gloves etc) has reflective strips on. Headlights catching these are often the first indication to a driver that something is ahead, before his eyes are drawn to the lights.

The fronts when angled properly give a good spread of light to light the road and I'm told look fantastic when seen from an approaching car. The rears are angled to shine up towards approaching traffic - IME LED lights lose far too much of their brightness if they're angled down and away from the target's eye line.

I've noticed since we slipped in to the dark evenings that with this array of clobber about my person I've had no incidents with cars at all. Touch wood it stays that way. Be seen, be safe, be sure you can see.

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markos1963
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Re: Night Cycling

Postby markos1963 » Fri Nov 16, 2012 15:58 pm

As a shift worker I often have to commute/train in the dark on unlit country roads. It's not a problem if you are well prepared. I use a magicshine/ultrafire(about £25 from ebay) front torch to see where I am going and a NightRider Ultrafire lamp(about £30) on flash so cars can see me. I would say to use a torch on flash in the countryside as its puts off deer from coming into the road, a steady lamp just makes them curious and they stroll out in front of you. As others have said two rear lamps are essential, I use some £1.99 ones from a local discount shop, good enough to be seen from a distance and not heavy on battery use if used on flash mode.

jonbob78
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Re: Night Cycling

Postby jonbob78 » Fri Nov 16, 2012 16:47 pm

Phil_D wrote:Which bit of rural Cheshire? I've heard some of the roads jump out at you.


Start out from Chelford and usually head out towards Goostrey and toward Gawsworth. In summer then on to Wincle but likely to give it a miss in winter....for now!

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unixnerd
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Re: Night Cycling

Postby unixnerd » Sat Nov 17, 2012 13:47 pm

Having recently started cycling to work on unlit Derbyshire roads, can honestly say I feel safer in dark than during day light.


Me too. With good lights you'll be fine. If you have SPD pedals ask your bike shop for the plug in with reflectors (some SPDs come with them). A head torch is very handy too. Lets you look at the speedo, fix the bike and if you look directly at drivers (so not too bright a light please) at junctions they will always see you.
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