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Night Cycling

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Night Cycling

Old 01-03-17, 09:35 AM
doctor j
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Prior to my retirement, I rode quite a bit at night during standard (non-daylight-saving) time. My rides were recreational.

I had a MagicShine on the bar and a CygoLite 250 lumen on my helmet. On the back, I had a HotShot, two PlanetBike Superflash, and a wide Foxfire light. Hotshot was mounted on seat post just below wedge bag. Foxfire was mounted just above brake bridge, and the two SuperFlash were mounted one on each seat stay. All rear lights were set to blink or flash mode.

I wore a hi-viz yellow construction worker's vest with reflective silver bars and reflective bands on my ankles.

My perception is that I had a lot less trouble with vehicles at night than I did during the day.

On one occasion, a cop passed me at night. I followed him to the station and asked him about my visibility. He said that he saw all of my rear lights, the subject of my question, but according to him, the reflective vest is what really caught his eye.

Two funny stories from night rides. For me, night riding was usually very quiet. Once while riding along a familiar country rode, a dog started barking at me. He was very close, but I never saw him or heard him prior to the barking. Scared the wits out of me. On another occasion, I was within a couple of blocks of my abode. I was coming up a small hill and more or less looking down at the road. I raised my head slightly and saw nothing but brown feathers covering my entire filed of vision well within an arm's reach. There was no sound at all. I concluded that it must have been an owl that was attracted to something illuminated by my lights. The bird was gone as quickly as he appeared. We never made contact.

I got quite a few recreational miles in at night and had few if any issues.
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Old 01-04-17, 01:10 AM
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Originally Posted by MinnMan View Post
In the winter I tend to ride in darkness because sunset is so early, but I ride almost exclusively on trails or on very low traffic roads.

Statistically speaking, cycling at night is probably more dangerous, but choosing your route carefully and investing in good lights can make it much safer.

Source: Fatality Facts
Distribution of bicyclist deaths by time of day, 2015
Time of day Deaths %
12 a.m - 3 a.m. 46 6
3 a.m. - 6 a.m. 50 6
6 a.m. - 9 a.m. 87 11
9 a.m. - noon 70 9
Noon - 3 p.m. 76 9
3 p.m. - 6 p.m. 158 19
6 p.m. - 9 p.m. 192 24
9 p.m. -12 a.m 135 17
Total* 817 100
These statistics are significant. Though a deeper study of conditions and gearing should give a better picture.

For example:

Me: Babe, you see that cyclist over there?
Wife: Where?
Me: Exactly.

Couldn't tell you how many times I have this convo with my wife while driving at night... how many cyclists are out there with minimal to no lighting, sometimes not even reflectors, and sometimes with dark clothes, no helmet, and riding on the wrong side of the road, or the sidewalk, or any other sketchy behavior. I even see other roadies with rear blinks that you couldn't see until about 20 meters out.

I'd say the numbers are about 2 out of every 10 cyclists are well lit at night. The remaining 8 most likely run a higher chance of ending up one of the statistics at night.
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Old 01-04-17, 02:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Garfield Cat View Post
Do you mean two lights front and back? On the front, do you mean one mount to be used and not two mounts? That is, if one front light stops working, or starts to fade, then switch out?

The two rear lights, I think, can be on in tandem.
I have two headlights mounted and one tail light. My back light has only failed me once in three years. The head lights are mounted on the handlebars. On dark mornings when riding in the country I use both lights, when I arrive in town I turn one light off. Street lights offset the need for both bike lights on at the same time.

I try to ride twenty miles and finish before 6 am. The older of the two lights doesn't make the entire 20 miles if that is the one I begin the ride using.
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Old 01-05-17, 09:12 AM
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Since I commute in the Winter as well and get out of work around 5:30pm I consistently ride at night. For the light setup i use an Edelux II on front and a BM Toplight Line plus for the rear. So I have plenty of light for the pitch dark bicycle path I ride every day on.

For the MTB night tours in the Alps I use a Lupine Piko RX Duo on the helmet (burns so bright it sets fire to the forest),a Light&Motion Stella 300 on the handlebars (closeup light for farther ahead ground) and a B&M Ixon IQ Speed for riding on public streets when the trail ends.

With the right lighting setup, night riding is a lot of fun. Especially bombing down the mountains at 40+mph with the path lit up to its fullest.
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Old 01-07-17, 09:04 PM
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I used to ride home from work in the dark. No problems whatsoever, as long as you have bright lights
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Old 01-08-17, 04:20 PM
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Here is my take but keep in mind, I live in a pretty low-traffic are and have 50 miles of MUPs that are safe. I would do it with lights and I have bright lights. Except for a strip of road that is maybe 1/4 mile long, I can stay off the roads. If this were not the case or if I lived in crowded areas and/or where fast traffic exists, I would not. I do night right now, but mountain biking or fat biking on trails. I will likely do a few late rides this year but mostly avoiding roads and doing my 25-mile loop on MUPs. Car drivers tend to get some tunnel vision at night and I simply don't trust them. I give bikes a wide berth at all times. It seems that 50% of drivers do not. I don't want to chance it at night. Me being gone would make it really really difficult for my parents and one of my sisters.
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