Night Ride - Wise?

BigLights Posts: 464
edited November 2012 in Road general

I'm going to stay down in Kent this weekend, near Mayfield. It's about 50 miles from the City according to google maps, and I'm contemplating riding down after work on Friday and making a mission of it. This would, however, be in the dark. I do have an Exposure Maxx-D and an Exposure Joystick for lights (as well as 2x REdeyes and a Flare).

Do you think this is an insane idea, in the dark, on a Friday night? I suspect so but i'm so up for the ride.

Can I have a sanity check here?

Many thanks.


  • drlodge
    drlodge Posts: 4,826
    Keep to quieter roads, make sure you have enough battery power for the duration, and enjoy it!
    WyndyMilla Massive Attack | Rourke 953 | Condor Italia 531 Pro | Boardman CX Pro | DT Swiss RR440 Tubeless Wheels
    Find me on Strava
  • Have lights, will travel!!!

    Oh yeah and some reflective gear!
    Triban 3
  • amaferanga
    amaferanga Posts: 6,789
    Depends on the weather I guess. It's to get colder towards the end of the week. If it's icey then back roads aren't such a good idea, but then neither are A-roads. But then that's only ~3 hours so it's not exactly a night ride, just an evening ride.
    More problems but still living....
  • t.m.h.n.e.t
    t.m.h.n.e.t Posts: 2,265
    ^ That.

    I am a recent convert to night riding. Decent lights make such a difference to how you perceive the roads/terrain you are on. I'm purposely waiting for it to be dark and I could have been out for an hour already (I was home at 2pm ish :D)
  • go for it! I was in a similar situation a couple of weeks ago - I live in a little village near Lausanne and was going to stay with friends up in the mountains. My wife left early and I had no choice but to ride - 80km with a 1000m climb over 12km at the end. The moment I left my building it started raining (never got heavy though so I was lucky); it was pitch black by the time I got to Montreux, and the road up to the ski resort was unlit and very dark. A properly memorable ride.

    Have something reflective on your clothing, plenty of charge in your lights and make sure there's some chilled beers and kudos waiting for you!

    I used Lezyne macro/micro setup - perfect for the road I thought.
  • hmmm....interesting, thanks chaps. I've got the full yellow jacket effort, I think my lights should last as long as I keep them on low until i'm at the outskirts of London. Could be fun! forecast is clear weather with -1/5 degrees so I think ice shouldn't be a problem. One hopes.

    it's more a worry about countryside, Friday night, after dinner tipsy drivers zipping home.....
  • cougie
    cougie Posts: 22,512
    Night riding is great fun.

    My only reservations - the weather is getting colder by the end of the week. Ice and road-bikes don't mix very well.
    See how it goes.

    You 'think' your light should last. That doesn't sound very confident. What if you flat or take longer than you think ?
    If you have a puncture at night - you need a light on your helmet - or you can't really see what you're doing.

    If in doubt - get extra lights.
  • nferrar
    nferrar Posts: 2,511
    Whilst I'm a fan of night riding I probably wouldn't right now on roads I didn't know. Certainly on local roads here although there's not much flooding still there's lot of crap on the roads where they were flooded (or just leaf litter as it's that time of year).
  • mabbo
    mabbo Posts: 117
    Not wishing to upset your idea, I mean, I ride home from work a couple of days every week in winter, as long as it's not bucketting down, and going home is in pure black. And it's great fun provided you have the right lights and reflective gear.

    It's just the Mayfield I know is in East Sussex.......................not Kent. Might be worth a check, or you ride could end up 100 miles !!!! And then your lights might be a problem. :
    That aside, go for it. I ride home Friday nights on the country lanes of East Sussex............And the chances of meeting a car are pretty rare. I cover 19 miles and if I pass a handful it's busy !!!!
  • With a Maxx D and a backup Exposure light? No probs. Turn it to low or mid and you'll be alreet. I'd do the trip on just my Exposure Toro.

    However, I'm assuming all back roads. Wouldn't fancy a long night trip on main roads but I avoid them like the plague day or night.
  • Thanks fellas - I'm going to go for it. I'll probably take very slightly longer than 3 hours as i'm not Wiggins but I'm up for it. Looking forward to it. BTW if anybody wants to gang up for a gentle cruise then that would be nice!

    You're right is East Sussex doh!
    Nr. Tunbridge Wells
    East Sussex
    England, UK
  • I think you're generally safer from a visibility point-of-view at night as long as you have good quality lights and lots of reflective 3M type stuff on your clothing. Certainly agree with the above re ice etc though.

    Also bare in mind, battery cells generally dont like cold temps, so any running times spec'd by manufacturer may be a little shorter.
  • I'd avoid the Frant road out of Tunbridge Wells. My folks live down that way and it's not a nice road to do in the day time. I don't know how you'll be navigating but I'd head through Edenbridge, Hartfield, Withyham, Crowborough, and Rotherfield. Just make sure you're lit up like a christmas tree. Coming from Oxford I've always noticed poorer overtakes when cycling down that way, it may be the roads just have more traffic, or they're less used to cyclists, I don't know?

    There's certainly plenty of nice country lanes out that way that would be far more pleasant than A and B roads, if you can borrow some form of GPS.
  • sungod
    sungod Posts: 16,547
    aside from staying visible, a decent front light to show the road surface agead is important, especially as you'll be riding unfamiliar roads

    the endless rain has really messed up some of the roads, either subsidence causing big dips, or full-on potholes, a few nasty ones opened up just last week on my training route, now that the frost is coming it'll get worse
    my bike - faster than god's and twice as shiny
  • very useful tip there d87francis - i'll try to program that in. I don't know the roads that well round there. I'll just be using my memory (after studying the cyclestreets route), iPhone for stopping to look at, and navigating hopefully by the moon if cloud cover permits.

    I'm not too paranoid about my lights. As my alias hints at, I don't feel underlit. I've got 1000 lumens on the bars which is more powerful than most motorbikes headlights it would seem, another 280 lumens on my helmet. and 2x redeyes at the back, with 80 lumens, as well as a Flare with 80 lumens on the back. They're brighter than anything i've seen short of a Hope District on the back.

    my biggest worry is 17 year olds in Vauxhall Corsas with low profile tyres.

    Is anyone in Kent/East Sussex at the moment? Are the roads actually icy? No sign of anything in London, but then there rarely is.