Night Cycling

Cycling at night can be a bit daunting, and if you don’t have the right set-up downright dangerous.

I’m always amazed how many cyclists ride at night, wearing dark clothing and with no or inadequate lighting.
I’m sure you’ve all been driving your cars at night, and suddenly come across a cyclist who just seemed to appear from nowhere, usually because of poor lighting or wearing dark clothes, or sometimes both. Do these people have a death wish?

Night-cycling Good bright lighting is essential for night riding, on both the front and back of your bike.
Luckily, these days, there are plenty of excellent lights available, which are small, lightweight and very efficient. While good lights do cost in the hundreds of dollars, you really can’t afford not to have them.

Modern front LED lights have a high level of brightness, and can be seen from great distances. Most come with several output modes, from half to full to pulse mode, but pulse mode is probably the best for visibility.

A good selection of lights available

The battery charge on these usually lasts around 2-3 hours, so depending on how far you ride you need to recharge often. Most also have an indicator on the unit when the charge is getting low. They all come with a recharging unit, which you simply plug into the mains.  Recharge time varies with each unit, but expect at least 2 hours to fully recharge.

Back lights need to be bright and flashing for maximum visibility. These are fairly inexpensive with long battery life, and normally last for years.

These are usually powered with normal AAA or similar batteries. Use rechargeable ones, and recharge when you notice the brightness diminishing. This can be deceptive, as they fade gradually, but when recharged you’ll certainly notice the difference. Though some now are recharged by a USB connection into your computer.

Aside from lights wear reflective clothing, and be super alert at all times.

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The above photo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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