Rural, A road commuters?

M005
M005 Posts: 19
edited September 2009 in Commuting chat
Are there any other commuters on here that use rural, unlit A roads?

Been commuting the daily 25 miles to my new job since the beginning of August and as autumn approaches I'm beginning to wonder what the commute will be like in the dark.

Already got a 2 front & 3 rear (2 static, 1 flashing) light set up on the bike and always wear a flourescent gillet - anything else I can do?

Unfortunately there isn't an alternative route, no quieter country lanes, bridal ways, cycle paths or pavements to use.

Comments

  • I try to avoid it but one night a week through the winter I have to use the A road as I have a late night at work. I use an Ixon IQ on the front and will probably upgrade to the Smart 1/2 Watt this winter. If they cant see you with these two they are blind or drunk. My overshoes have reflective strips as does my dry weather jacket.
    Neil
    Help I'm Being Oppressed
  • M005 wrote:
    Are there any other commuters on here that use rural, unlit A roads?

    Been commuting the daily 25 miles to my new job since the beginning of August and as autumn approaches I'm beginning to wonder what the commute will be like in the dark.

    Already got a 2 front & 3 rear (2 static, 1 flashing) light set up on the bike and always wear a flourescent gillet - anything else I can do?

    Well I admit I'm mostly on quieter unlit roads than that but it will come down to how powerful your front and rear lights are. On the back I use a Blackburn Mars 4 + a generic blinky attached to my bag. On the front I combine an Exposure Race Maxx with a Cateye Single Shot for backup.
    Back lights run flashing, Front lights solid on and carefully pitched to throw out in a pattern similar to dipped car headlights.

    If you find cars are passing you closer than they would in the daylight its time to beef up the rear lights (In my case it means the batteries need changing in the Mars). If they aren't dipping their headlights as they approach you need a beefier front light setup (I don't have this problem with either of the 2 front lights I use even if I've only got one turned on for some reason).

    Mike
  • Occasionally. the front lighting isn't a problem (but look out for people overtaking towards you thinking that you are on the horizon). Its getting nailed by overtaking cars that worries me.

    I have a Dinotte rear light, which casts a beam it is so bright, and I think Exposure have just brought out something that links to one of their front lights that is more powerful than the Smart 1/2 watt as well. The Smart light is good though.

    You already have backups, that's good.

    Something reflective associated with your feet is good.

    Over the years, I've got a bit more cautious about being out at night, on A roads in really crappy weather. sounds like an excuse, but really I see so many drivers behaving like wierwolves (however you spell that!?) at full moon to realise that windscreeen wipers and the excitement of puddles and precipitation is just too much of a distraction for many drivers.
  • moonio
    moonio Posts: 802
    Try adding some high grade reflective tape to your bike and clothing/rucksack, that way if your lights are a bit low cars can still see you.

    http://www.beseenonabike.com/shopuk/index.php?cPath=33
  • Aguila
    Aguila Posts: 622
    mudcovered wrote:
    M005 wrote:
    Are there any other commuters on here that use rural, unlit A roads?

    Been commuting the daily 25 miles to my new job since the beginning of August and as autumn approaches I'm beginning to wonder what the commute will be like in the dark.

    Already got a 2 front & 3 rear (2 static, 1 flashing) light set up on the bike and always wear a flourescent gillet - anything else I can do?

    . On the front I combine an Exposure Race Maxx with a Cateye Single Shot for backup.
    Back lights run flashing, Front lights solid on and carefully pitched to throw out in a pattern similar to dipped car headlights.

    Mike

    +1 for the exposure race maxx. it is an awesome light, £70 off at wiggle at the mo too, just won the C+ light test. At the back I go for 1 light on all time on my seat post and a flashing one on the offside seat stay, seems to keep people from getting too close.
  • Pedal reflectors: They move, which makes them eyecatching, and only bicycles have them, so a driver is less likely to assume you're a car with a broken tail-light or a motorbike or something else fast-moving.

    Cheers,
    W.
  • M005
    M005 Posts: 19
    Thanks for the replies, my pannier bags already have a big reflective strip on and I've added a lot more to the rear mud guard.

    Will sort something out for my feet / ankles and see how it goes.
  • I always have one light flashing, one light on whenever I do the final A road / rural stretch.

    Somewhere there is a thread about what people do to be seen and the conclusion was I can be as far away as the moon :wink:

    I actually find that people give me MORE room in the Winter when it's dark than in the Summer.

    Something to note which IS ignored - keep your top layer CLEAN. Mudguards really are essential as a mud-covered back is simply removing a huge bright area shining in the car headlights.

    I've retro-fitted pedal reflectors to my double sided SPD pedals now, and my overshoes have a reflective stripe, so again: the pedalling motion makes it very clear I am a cyclist.

    If you have bespoke batteries charge them every night, and carry spares for the generic batteries - I told too many people on the first dark commutes last years that their lights were too dim.
    Chunky Cyclists need your love too! :-)
    2009 Specialized Tricross Sport
    2011 Trek Madone 4.5
    2012 Felt F65X
    Proud CX Pervert and quiet roadie. 12 mile commuter
  • Feltup
    Feltup Posts: 1,340
    I have one of those emergency key ring type lights on my helmet all the time. Apparently it can be seen a long way ahead on country roads because it appears over hedge height where the other lights are hidden.

    It was also useful when I had to go through a couple of tunnels in the Dolomites and the one in the Manifold valley in derbyshire as they were all unlit.
    Short hairy legged roadie FCN 4 or 5 in my baggies.

    Felt F55 - 2007
    Specialized Singlecross - 2008
    Marin Rift Zone - 1998
    Peugeot Tourmalet - 1983 - taken more hits than Mohammed Ali
  • vorsprung
    vorsprung Posts: 1,953
    I use the A38 coming home from Taunton

    Light coloured coat
    Cateye 1100 rear light
    reflective ankle bands
    generator hub powered b&m 40 lux LED headlamp
    reflector on the mudguard
    backup led clipped to saddlebag (in case of battery fail)
    reflective stickers on my helmet shaped like hedgehogs

    going to add spoke reflectors, YACF are making a bulk purchase
    I need a new secondary/ backup front light, last years tesco cree led torch fell off
  • Get down to Aldi on Thu and snap up some of their reflective strips…
    Worn around the ankles the up and down movement will ensure any cars coming from behind know you’re a cyclist…
    I cycle down some very narrow country lanes so I’m going to make sure there is plenty of reflective tape on the front and rear of my bike and I have two sets of lights… One flashing and one normal…
    Why are you laughing..? I'm not laughing...

    14 year old Rocky Mountain Hammer S, still going strong, now on slicks...
  • Rich158
    Rich158 Posts: 2,348
    I use two rear lights, one on the bike static, and one on my rucksack flashing. As a front light I use a super bright Niterider Minewt x2, solid in the lanes and flashing in towns. I've never used any extra reflective clothing or tape, and never had any problems, in fact I felt safer and more visible at night, even in very dark country lanes.

    Bear in mind that the only time I've been nailed by a car was in broad daylight where I could be seen coming for quite some time. Ime experience country roads are safer at night as you're more visible, and any lights are more prone to make vehicles slow down as they don't know what you are.
    pain is temporary, the glory of beating your mates to the top of the hill lasts forever.....................

    Revised FCN - 2
  • +1 for the helmet light

    I also use a fenix front light pointing down slightly, which is the brightest i've used without going into proper off road lights. they also strobe which i sometimes use at dusk, might be a bit much for motorists in the dark and is probably illegal anyway. runs on rechargeable AA batteries

    http://www.fenixtorch.co.uk/led_torches/fenix_LD20.html
    FCN 8

    Scott Speedster S30 FB hybrid
  • M005
    M005 Posts: 19
    Hadn't thought to put reflective strips on my helmet, will do so now.

    We have Lidl locally unfortunately, but there is a Halfrauds up the road who might have the reflective ankle straps.

    Also have an ultra bright headtorch which may be put into use as well.