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Fun in the dark

dmch2dmch2 Posts: 731
edited October 2010 in Road beginners
I finally got a chance to try my P7 bike light last night.

sku_25149_2.jpg

At first I was a bit disappointed because at dusk they it's pretty dim but the light doesn't seem to help much. But once it got properly dark I was perfectly happy at 20mph. At 30mph I was relying on knowing that that particular road doesn't have any nasty potholes but could easily see and avoid smaller imperfections in the road.

The main problem I had was corning at speed. I'm not sure if it was a confidence issue, damp roads (wettest I've ridden on), lack of vision or the 15 mph tail wind pushing me along so fast. I'll have to try and find the same conditions in the daytime I think...

It's also pretty disconcerting when a car comes the other way, you get dazzled and can't see anything for a moment! Especially with steamed up glasses from having to fight against the wind a few moments before.

I also found the gear cable was bang in the middle of the beam and cast a bit of a shadow. I wonder if I could mount the light upside down / under the bars to mitigate this a bit?

Anyway, when the road was empty, once my glasses had cleared, with the tail wind was pushing me on and on straightish bits I had an absolutely superb time :) Best fun I've had on a bike. Especially as I kept up about 30mph (according to endomondo) for 4 miles! Loved seeing bits of spray getting flicked up into the beam and listening to the tyre noise competing with the noise of the wind turbines round there :)

Made up for the sense of horror when I realised that my almost still afternoon had turned into a stiff breeze just as I turned into the 6 mile uphill drag directly (I could see from the turbines I was straight into it) into the now 15-20mph (according to the weather.co.uk) wind! At least the wind stayed with me for the return leg :)
2010 Trek 1.5 Road - swissstop green, conti GP4000S
2004 Marin Muirwoods Hybrid

Posts

  • Sounds like you had fun, a tip when an on coming car comes your way,avoid looking into the headlights and concentrate on the road directly in front of you at about 20-30yds to avoid most of the glare, I use the stella 300 and in most cases keeping the main beam focused on the road in front rather than 300yds ahead will help single out those pot holes when on coming traffic appears.

    It was windy last night and cornering at speed was a little unerving, still you will notice a delay on night riding compared to daytime riding when cornering, it seems you are turning into the dark spot as you tend to look first then steer and the headlight comes round to light the corner, it is only a split second but can feel strange on roads you are not used to.

    Now you have a decent front light dont forget the rear and side on, although looking like a numptey reflective ankle bands are the best visual to warn motorists from the side, last night I tried out the fibre flare rear light, great piece of kit, it was very noticable how much extra room cars gave and a couple even stayed behind me when there was no oncoming traffic, I had to wave them through.

    good luck, enjoy night riding but give it a miss when those temperatures drop.

    TS
  • hopper1hopper1 Posts: 4,708
    I see no problem why you shouldn't try to run them upside down...
    Glad to hear you liked it so much.
    I have three of them, have done for almost 18 months, and never had cause to use them yet... :roll:
    Start with a budget, finish with a mortgage!
  • dmch2dmch2 Posts: 731
    turboslave wrote:
    still you will notice a delay on night riding compared to daytime riding when cornering, it seems you are turning into the dark spot as you tend to look first then steer and the headlight comes round to light the corner, it is only a split second but can feel strange on roads you are not used to.

    That's sums it up very well. I recently went from standard tyres to the Contis and the cornering difference was a massive improvement. It felt like I had the old tyres on, only worse. A friend has two lights like mine but he mounts one on his helmet - I guess that helps as you can look where you want to go with the other light showing where the wheels are currently pointing.
    turboslave wrote:
    Now you have a decent front light dont forget the rear and side on, although looking like a numptey reflective ankle bands are the best visual to warn motorists from the side, last night I tried out the fibre flare rear light, great piece of kit, it was very noticable how much extra room cars gave and a couple even stayed behind me when there was no oncoming traffic, I had to wave them through.

    I've one of these CatEye rear light. Problem is I don't know how good it is as I've never followed myself. Is it up to the job or do I need something better? I've not been hit yet but I'd rather have a better way of knowing! Is the Fibre Flare just like a big glowy stick then?

    I was thinking of reflective stuff as well. I saw a few dog-walkers in high-vis and reflective jackets and they're visible from miles away. Do the ankle bands get uncomfortable or chafe at all? It was pretty warm last night (13°C I think) so I was in shorts.

    turboslave wrote:
    good luck, enjoy night riding but give it a miss when those temperatures drop.

    Definitely - I don't fancy meeting ice in the day time let alone in the dark!

    Once it gets proper cold I'll switch to the rowing machine for a few months and wait for spring...
    2010 Trek 1.5 Road - swissstop green, conti GP4000S
    2004 Marin Muirwoods Hybrid
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    To avoid being dazzled - wear a cap under your helmet and use the peak to block out the headlights. Or use a helmet with a peak on - fit reflectives on that and drivers should dip their lights.

    As to rear lights - always have at least 2 lights on - its obvious when your front light goes out - but you'll never know if your rear goes out. And if you are riding a lot at night - reflectives will help your visibility - you can fit tape to your pedals and cranks - you won't notice its there but it will show up well from behind.
  • Father JackFather Jack Posts: 3,508
    Throw your bike in the skip and buy campag. It's the only solution ;-)
    Say... That's a nice bike..
    Trax T700 with Lew Racing Pro VT-1 ;-)
  • vorsprungvorsprung Posts: 1,953
    turboslave wrote:
    Sounds like you had fun, a tip when an on coming car comes your way,avoid looking into the headlights
    Or wear a helmet with a peak. Or a cap.
    still you will notice a delay on night riding compared to daytime riding when cornering, it seems you are turning into the dark spot as you tend to look first then steer and the headlight comes round to light the corner, it is only a split second but can feel strange on roads you are not used to.
    I don't even notice this anymore. Some people wear a head torch to see the blind spot
    Now you have a decent front light dont forget the rear and side on, although looking like a numptey reflective ankle bands are the best visual to warn motorists from the side

    These are quite good too
    3M spoke reflectors Sekuclip

    4292894330_c1c1d525ed.jpg
    imgp0219 by vorsprung2009, on Flickr
  • Those spoke reflectors look the biz, a little too much bling for me, they must look like a spinning catherine wheel to a car driver, wow.

    The reflective ankle bands I use are the older velcro type, I dont even notice they are there, halfords have similar ones, deffo worth wearing as much as possible to be visable from differnt angles and the benifit of these over arm bands of reflective clothing is due to your leg movement increasing the visual warning to traffic, its a balance of wearing enough without hindering movement or ride prep time.

    The fibre flare is like a large glow stick, this is where the advantage of this light comes in, its bright glow gives the appearance of added width to the bike and yourself and therefore car drivers are more cautious when passing.

    Helmet lights would solve the cornering in the dark problem, but as a roadie I prefer the handlebar approach, agree with carrying a spare light juct incase the main one packs in, cateye have brought out a new small front led which fits nicely into a back pocket and come with a quick release band, no good as a main light but an excellent backup to get you home or when you are on a daytime ride but are loosing the light just clip it on and switch to flashing mode to be safe.


    Clocks go back this weekend so loads of night rides ahead, enjoy.

    TS
  • Father JackFather Jack Posts: 3,508
    Yeah mate said he seen a cyclist with those yellow reflective bands on their legs, and really stands out. Aldi usually have a set £4 for 4.
    Say... That's a nice bike..
    Trax T700 with Lew Racing Pro VT-1 ;-)
  • dmch2dmch2 Posts: 731
    All good advice on here but I'm bit confused by the horror people express for the reflectors that often come as standard on wheels..?

    I've got a small cateye front light that I leave flashing (and can go to a steady beam) as a back up.

    Will practice more for the funny cornering blindspot thing. A second rear light and some sort of sideways on visibility are still to be sorted though! :)
    2010 Trek 1.5 Road - swissstop green, conti GP4000S
    2004 Marin Muirwoods Hybrid
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