Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Road Cycling
Reload this Page >

What are your thoughts on cycling at night for fun?

Notices
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

What are your thoughts on cycling at night for fun?

Old 01-15-20, 10:08 PM
  #1  
NoWhammies
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
NoWhammies's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 1,093

Bikes: Argon 18 Gallium, BH G7, Rocky Mountain Instinct C70

Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 465 Post(s)
Liked 91 Times in 61 Posts
What are your thoughts on cycling at night for fun?

With all this talk of lights and lighting on the threads, I am starting to think about purchasing some lights and going for a ride at night. Only here's the thing. Cars! Cars have a hard enough time seeing cyclist during the day, I am worried about going for a road ride a night, even with lights.

What about you folks on the forums here? Do any of you purposely, not for commuting purposes, head out for road rides at night just to mix it up? I can see the fun of riding in a new environment as a way of keeping things interesting and fresh. If so, where are you riding? On MUPs? Are you avoiding roads completely? Or am I crazy to be considering taking my bike out at night, and I should stick to daytime riding?
NoWhammies is offline  
Old 01-15-20, 10:22 PM
  #2  
HTupolev
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Seattle
Posts: 3,066
Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1366 Post(s)
Liked 184 Times in 111 Posts
Originally Posted by NoWhammies View Post
Cars have a hard enough time seeing cyclist during the day, I am worried about going for a road ride a night, even with lights.
If anything, a well-illuminated bicycle at night is more eye-catching to a car than a bicycle by day. It's much easier to provide contrast and stand out.
HTupolev is offline  
Old 01-15-20, 10:33 PM
  #3  
DrIsotope
Non omnino gravis
 
DrIsotope's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: SoCal, USA!
Posts: 7,606

Bikes: Nekobasu, Pandicorn

Mentioned: 114 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4214 Post(s)
Liked 727 Times in 438 Posts
I generally feel safer out on the roads at night than I do during the day-- significantly less cars on the road, and my lights don't have to compete with the sun. I do tend to stick to familiar routes, as I know where all the potholes and bumps are hiding.

Round these parts, much of the summer is making the choice between riding before sunup, after sundown, or in the blast furnace of the day. I prefer night, because as the ride goes on it gets cooler. You won't catch me out there now, though. As soon as the sun sets, the temp drops at least 15.
__________________
DrIsotope is offline  
Likes For DrIsotope:
Old 01-15-20, 10:40 PM
  #4  
daoswald
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Salt Lake City, UT (Formerly Los Angeles, CA)
Posts: 1,074

Bikes: 2008 Cannondale Synapse -- 2014 Cannondale Quick CX

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 195 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 45 Times in 28 Posts
On a typical riding year I put about 2/3rds of my my miles on after dark. I prefer it. It's cooler, there's less traffic, and I can take as long as I want because my kids are already in bed.

My lights:

1100 lumen Cygolite Metro Pro in front
Cygolite HotShot Pro 150 in back.
Blackburn 2'Fer light in my saddle bag as a spare.
Planet Bike Bottle Blinky side-light mounted under a water bottle cage.

The 2'Fer is a nice design; tiny and lightweight. Yet bright enough to use as a backup headlight in case your primary conks out. And it can be set to white or red, steady or flashing. So really if either front or rear light stops working the Blackburn 2'Fer, though not nearly as bright, can keep you visible so that your ride home will be safe.

The Bottle Blinky has (in my own opinion) reduced the probability of people coming at me from side streets without noticing me.

I'm lit up like a department of transportation vehicle. People see me, and I can see the road ahead just fine. I really don't think visibility is lacking. I have had people comment about how bright my rear light is. I sometimes think maybe I should use one that's not as bright so as not to make drivers mad. But they see me, that's for sure.

One thing I've noticed is that night time on weekends seems to be when the "teens in a jeep" are out. They love hanging out their window to shout things that I can't understand as they fly past me. I think it's fun for them to see me jump. And since I'm just about the only cyclist out there, I'm a little more of a target, I think. But it's never been anything serious. Just that occasional startling shout.
daoswald is online now  
Old 01-15-20, 10:51 PM
  #5  
79pmooney
A Roadie Forever
 
79pmooney's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 7,501

Bikes: (2) ti TiCycles, 2007 w/ triple and 2011 fixed, 1979 Peter Mooney, ~1983 Trek 420 now fixed and ~1973 Raleigh Carlton Competition gravel grinder

Mentioned: 97 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1896 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 272 Times in 199 Posts
A consideration: Even with very bright lighting, you do not see everything nearly as well as during the day. I much prefer riding routes I know well so I have a very good idea of the road edges, cracks, potholes, etc. That said, the occaisional no-so-fast ride at night can be a blast! I did one of my daytime loops last summer on a full moon. Wow! I know those rides really well and still, at night it was a new experience.
79pmooney is offline  
Likes For 79pmooney:
Old 01-15-20, 11:07 PM
  #6  
CAT7RDR
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2017
Location: Hacienda Hgts
Posts: 389

Bikes: 1999 Schwinn Peloton Ultegra 10, Kestrel RT-1000 Ultegra, Trek Marlin 6 Deore 29'er

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 123 Post(s)
Liked 110 Times in 77 Posts
The best I have done so far is to ride two hours before dawn on an early Sunday morning. The drunks are off the road and most people are off on Sunday. I use a 1600 Lumen Serfas for the front and a 20 lumen rear flasher. I wear a hi-vis lime jacket and add another flasher to the back of my helmet.

I toyed with the idea of some full moon riding in the mountains but came to the conclusion I would be SOL if I needed a car rescue or did not have cell reception. It is a lot easier to plan these night rides with a group or partner.
CAT7RDR is offline  
Old 01-15-20, 11:43 PM
  #7  
Seattle Forrest
Senior Member
 
Seattle Forrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Seattle, WA
Posts: 20,040
Mentioned: 55 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 9932 Post(s)
Liked 1,295 Times in 772 Posts
I've always felt like it was safer from cars. Being lit up makes you obvious and eye catching. It's easier to spot cars, especially the ones coming from a side street.
Seattle Forrest is offline  
Likes For Seattle Forrest:
Old 01-16-20, 12:17 AM
  #8  
rseeker
Senior Member
 
rseeker's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Southeast US
Posts: 834
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 283 Post(s)
Liked 105 Times in 76 Posts
Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I've always felt like it was safer from cars. Being lit up makes you obvious and eye catching. It's easier to spot cars, especially the ones coming from a side street.
Yes, this exactly.

To the OP: I'm a hard yes on night riding, it really is my preference.

For lighting:
- one handlebar front light
- one seatpost rear light
- on top of helmet, two 500-lumen flashlights
- front reflector on fork crown, rear reflector on brake bridge
- reflective strip on wheel sidewalls (Michelin Protek Cross)
- a safety vest covering my torso (on top of shirt or jacket)
- reflective ankle straps

I have in possession the safety pins and extra safety vests (three of them, found while riding, blown out the back of work trucks I expect) to cut up and make a reflective pack cover, but I haven't done that yet.

I get a more effective and satisfying workout when I'm not thinking about traffic. The night time is the right time ...

Last edited by rseeker; 01-16-20 at 02:09 AM.
rseeker is offline  
Old 01-16-20, 01:29 AM
  #9  
TheDudeIsHere
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 467
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 183 Post(s)
Liked 262 Times in 157 Posts
I love it! I feel safer riding at night feeling more visible to traffic. 2 rear red strobe blinkies, one on seat post, the other on back of helmet. 2 headlights though one is good. Someone in another forum said cycling at night for fun and fitness is very dangerous. WHAT! Inexperienced cyclist I guess.

I ride up to the foothills where traffic is lighter. I ride up back roads at the slower rate 4%-10% grades. Then descend on a big avenue with a wide bike lane at speeds up to 30 MPH. I know the road well. Seems when I ride at night, traffic is very forgiving and courteous. Most will wave me on most situations.

I have no problem seeing at night, wearing clear glasses. Ankle bands for good side visibility.





A ride up a local mountain road known as GMR (Glendora Mtn Rd). 8 mile climb with 2300 ft gain. Had a few friends go up. Maybe 2 cars that night. Group of 20, many forum members, couldn't miss us!

This is my wife coming up around a turn, can't miss the light.



We were all descending together. The red lights don't look like much in the pics but they are strobes so there is no way a car from behind would miss the strobes.




3 riders, hard to miss with strobes.



I FEEL SAFER AT NIGHT COMPARED TO THE DAYTIME HOURS WHERE MOST COLORS BLEND INTO THE BACKGROUND!

Last edited by TheDudeIsHere; 01-16-20 at 01:36 AM.
TheDudeIsHere is offline  
Likes For TheDudeIsHere:
Old 01-16-20, 07:29 AM
  #10  
u235
Senior Member
 
u235's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 1,019
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 375 Post(s)
Liked 50 Times in 40 Posts
I typically start my routine ride at 4:30-5:30 pm and it is about 2.5 hours. For about 4 months out of the year almost all of it is in the dark. The key for me is it is a routine route with sections I've done at least 200 times. I know every bump, quirk and twist. Other than random debris it's simple. It is a mix of road, shoulder, MUP, and trail. The only gotcha I get is animals in quiet really dark sections that scury off at the last minute as you pass. I never see them or just a glimpse but hear them and it is startling. There are some areas that as I approach I'll yell or ring my bell head of time as a warning.
u235 is offline  
Likes For u235:
Old 01-16-20, 07:29 AM
  #11  
rseeker
Senior Member
 
rseeker's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2016
Location: Southeast US
Posts: 834
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 283 Post(s)
Liked 105 Times in 76 Posts
Originally Posted by TheDudeIsHere View Post



Cyclist or on-coming locomotive? It's hard to tell. I like that light.
rseeker is offline  
Likes For rseeker:
Old 01-16-20, 07:45 AM
  #12  
abshipp 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Rockford IL
Posts: 707

Bikes: 1976 Motobecane Grand Jubile, 1977 Schwinn Super Le Tour 12.2 Chrome, 1981 Trek 716, 2014 Canfield Nimble 9

Mentioned: 35 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 402 Post(s)
Liked 122 Times in 73 Posts
Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
If anything, a well-illuminated bicycle at night is more eye-catching to a car than a bicycle by day. It's much easier to provide contrast and stand out.
Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I've always felt like it was safer from cars. Being lit up makes you obvious and eye catching. It's easier to spot cars, especially the ones coming from a side street.
I've always felt that cars gave me more room at night than during the day. I also feel like they slow down more, maybe it's just because a cyclist at night is a bit of a strange sight so they tend to naturally slow down when approaching something unfamiliar.

One of my favorite night rides ever was when I rode a section of MUP flanked by trees on both sides and there were bats flying everywhere!
abshipp is offline  
Likes For abshipp:
Old 01-16-20, 07:54 AM
  #13  
WhyFi
Senior Member
 
WhyFi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Got a castle in - er, Minneapolis, that's where I dwell!
Posts: 26,592

Bikes: 2016 Diamondback Haanjo, 2018 Trek Domane SL5 Gravel

Mentioned: 323 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10315 Post(s)
Liked 650 Times in 400 Posts
As others have said, being seen is the easy part.

How fast do you need to go for it to be a fun ride? My front light is adequate for getting me home at a leisurely cruising speed after post-group ride beers. Beyond that, I feel I'd be out-racing my lights. Even with club mates with brighter lights paving the way, we're talking about moderate efforts at best.

​​​​​If a good amount of physical exertion is a necessary component of your fun ride, get a ****-all bright light or three.
WhyFi is offline  
Old 01-16-20, 08:19 AM
  #14  
illjustride
Junior Member
 
illjustride's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 14

Bikes: Trek Emoda, Surly Ogre

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8 Post(s)
Liked 5 Times in 4 Posts
Originally Posted by NoWhammies View Post
With all this talk of lights and lighting on the threads, I am starting to think about purchasing some lights and going for a ride at night. Only here's the thing. Cars! Cars have a hard enough time seeing cyclist during the day, I am worried about going for a road ride a night, even with lights.

What about you folks on the forums here? Do any of you purposely, not for commuting purposes, head out for road rides at night just to mix it up? I can see the fun of riding in a new environment as a way of keeping things interesting and fresh. If so, where are you riding? On MUPs? Are you avoiding roads completely? Or am I crazy to be considering taking my bike out at night, and I should stick to daytime riding?

I used to and still do often commute after work home when its dark. I use a Cateye 300 lumen head light and a blinker in the rear. As for training rides I loop my local Park a ton at night. Its awesome. Just gotta watch out for raccoons.
illjustride is offline  
Old 01-16-20, 08:40 AM
  #15  
wipekitty
vespertine member
 
wipekitty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: from sea to shining sea!
Posts: 2,338

Bikes: Yes

Mentioned: 22 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 641 Post(s)
Liked 155 Times in 115 Posts
Night rides? Sure!

In more rural parts, I stick to roads/highways with shoulders. I use a Cygolite Expilion 850 front (usually medium-high to high beam for low-traffic areas, to increase sight lines), a steady beam Hotshot 100 mounted to the bike, and usually some kind of rear blinky somewhere. I personally don't trust my skills enough for high speed descents in the dark, so end up braking in places where I'd let it flow during the day. YMMV.

In city/suburban areas, a combination of slow downtown-ish streets, residential side streets, and suburban stroads with bike lanes, wide lanes, or shoulders can make for a nice workout. There's more stopping, which is annoying. I usually add a front blinky as well. The biggest driver-related issue I find is the left hook.

The biggest issue I have, honestly, is not cars but animals. Foxes, cats, and possums usually move out of the way, but deer and bunnies are pretty dumb.

I commute in the dark as well, though my commuter route is honestly not what I'd choose for a recreational ride.
wipekitty is offline  
Likes For wipekitty:
Old 01-16-20, 09:18 AM
  #16  
burnthesheep
Newbie racer
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
Location: Raleigh, NC
Posts: 1,475

Bikes: Propel, red is faster

Mentioned: 30 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 669 Post(s)
Liked 345 Times in 232 Posts
If your lights are really good and you don't choose crap weather that makes visibility worse, it can be better. Fewer cars and your lights really grab attention.

I would just say to do a few things though:
-ensure your stuff is always well charged, don't want to be out and have lights fail. Or carry a backup.
-still do wear proper colors for darkness
-Still try to choose a route that makes sense for night riding. You need to know the pot holes and hazards since even with a light your reaction time and visibility to them is shorter than daylight.
-Avoid drunk driver peak hours. I now some people are late night owls or insomniacs, but that's going to be a risk. Particularly on Fri/Sat nights or holidays.
-Avoid peak rush hour. Duh, even if it's summer hour daylight.
-Take some friends. The only thing even more visible than bright lights at night are several!
-I tend to avoid country roads at night and do the in-town neighborhoods and low volume roads and streets. At night, people simply fly at 2x the speed limit on country roads and I'd fear any crest or corner they'd be smashing over.

I find the late dinner hour to be pretty good. Like, start ride around 6:30 to 7:00. Folks are off commute and sitting for dinner or just after dinner still with families. It's not really late enough for drunks, but road volume is less. And places like a cafe' or brewery or food truck stop will still be open for you if you decide to make that a part of your ride.
burnthesheep is offline  
Old 01-16-20, 09:27 AM
  #17  
bampilot06
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: hampton roads
Posts: 511

Bikes: cannondale caad 4

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 409 Post(s)
Liked 125 Times in 67 Posts
I like nighttime riding for same reasons as stated before, but lately I try to ride during the day if I can, because hazards are harder to see at night, and I really dont want my bike to break.
bampilot06 is offline  
Old 01-16-20, 10:37 AM
  #18  
Andrey
Senior Guest
 
Andrey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: NY, USA
Posts: 305

Bikes: Many

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 50 Post(s)
Liked 16 Times in 12 Posts
I like riding at night for fun. I think I am more visible at night than during day time . I have a dynohub that I use, so I usually do not worry about batteries. I use several lights in the rear steady and blinking and lots of reflective materials. The only thing that limits my riding it the cold weather . I gets very cold fast when the sun goes down in upstate NY.
Andrey is offline  
Old 01-16-20, 10:37 AM
  #19  
rumrunn6
Senior Member
 
rumrunn6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: 25 miles northwest of Boston
Posts: 24,079

Bikes: Bottecchia Sprint, GT Timberline 29r

Mentioned: 99 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3430 Post(s)
Liked 445 Times in 327 Posts
Originally Posted by NoWhammies View Post
Do any of you purposely, not for commuting purposes, head out for road rides at night just to mix it up?
yes, but after rush hour. I think we're more visible at night & we get a wider berth cuz they are more freaked that they are passing us. but more than a cpl times I was surprised by road debris or a pothole. I was lucky, but even w/ lights you can't take hills as fast at night as you do during the day. be careful! lately my night rides have been on paved paths or desolate dirt trails & roads
rumrunn6 is offline  
Old 01-16-20, 12:54 PM
  #20  
MKahrl
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Posts: 1,098

Bikes: Rivendell A.Homer Hilsen, Paramount P13, (4) Falcon bicycles, Mondia Special, Rodriguez Tandem

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 38 Post(s)
Liked 6 Times in 4 Posts
Bike paths are pretty safe for nighttime riding and you'll discover that a wide variety of animals use the paths after most humans go to bed.

If I were a hunter I would abandon camouflage and disguise myself in a lycra bike outfit as the deer around here are completely fearless of cyclists.
MKahrl is offline  
Likes For MKahrl:
Old 01-16-20, 01:05 PM
  #21  
datlas 
Beyond Bogus
 
datlas's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Malvern, PA (20 miles West of Philly)
Posts: 30,390

Bikes: 1986 Alpine (steel road bike), 2009 Ti Habenero, 2013 Specialized Roubaix

Mentioned: 427 Post(s)
Tagged: 2 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10251 Post(s)
Liked 498 Times in 316 Posts
Are you MAD??

__________________
Originally Posted by rjones28 View Post
Addiction is all about class.
datlas is offline  
Likes For datlas:
Old 01-16-20, 01:12 PM
  #22  
Nachoman
well hello there
 
Nachoman's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Point Loma, CA
Posts: 15,052

Bikes: Bill Holland (Road-Ti), Fuji Roubaix Pro (back-up), Bike Friday (folder), Co-Motion (tandem) & Trek 750 (hybrid)

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 381 Post(s)
Liked 67 Times in 47 Posts
Originally Posted by CAT7RDR View Post
The best I have done so far is to ride two hours before dawn on an early Sunday morning. The drunks are off the road and most people are off on Sunday. I use a 1600 Lumen Serfas for the front and a 20 lumen rear flasher. I wear a hi-vis lime jacket and add another flasher to the back of my helmet.

I toyed with the idea of some full moon riding in the mountains but came to the conclusion I would be SOL if I needed a car rescue or did not have cell reception. It is a lot easier to plan these night rides with a group or partner.
You need to up your game on your rear lighting.
__________________
.
.

Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.
Nachoman is offline  
Old 01-16-20, 01:17 PM
  #23  
rumrunn6
Senior Member
 
rumrunn6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: 25 miles northwest of Boston
Posts: 24,079

Bikes: Bottecchia Sprint, GT Timberline 29r

Mentioned: 99 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3430 Post(s)
Liked 445 Times in 327 Posts
at one time I toyed with the idea of an all night century around Martha's Vineyard, taking the last ferry to the island, biking all night, then stopping at a beach at sunrise to sleep it off. but that never happened
rumrunn6 is offline  
Old 01-16-20, 02:36 PM
  #24  
TheDudeIsHere
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 467
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 183 Post(s)
Liked 262 Times in 157 Posts
Originally Posted by rseeker View Post
Cyclist or on-coming locomotive? It's hard to tell. I like that light.

I posted above the pic that it is my wife coming up around a turn. It was on a mountain road about 2,000 ft elevation level on the climb. Above the city lights.

The light is a Cygo light. Paid about $60 for the front and rear combo. My buddy has lights with the big water bottle battery ($200) and he was impressed with the light.

I like it, no battery to carry around, just a USB rechargeable light. Also shown in my pics above
TheDudeIsHere is offline  
Old 01-16-20, 03:02 PM
  #25  
WalksOn2Wheels
Vain, But Lacking Talent
 
WalksOn2Wheels's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Denton, TX
Posts: 5,440

Bikes: Trek Domane 5.9 DA 9000, Trek Crockett Pink Frosting w/105 5700

Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1467 Post(s)
Liked 52 Times in 28 Posts
Night riding is a blast, as is really fun if you live in a hot climate and head out at sundown. Getting away from the city and into the countryside with more trees is even better. Huge drop in temps, little traffic, humidity of the day has burned off, etc. Just invest in good lights and get after it. I would suggest to stick to routes you know because just like driving, everything looks different at night. Then again, some of my best night ride memories were with friends who I trusted (mistakenly as it turned out) to know where they were going.
WalksOn2Wheels is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.